An Ode to Mothers and Others

Moms take many forms. The woman who gave birth to you, the grandma who raised you, the sixth grade teacher who took you under her wing, the hairdresser whose chair you cry in, or even that one friend who has seen you through more trials and tribulations than you’d like to count. The dictionary defines the verb ‘to mother’ as “to bring up with care and affection.” A mother is not solely relegated to someone who gives up her entire life and person to raise children. Mothers are all around us. People who consider themselves to be mothers can be, even if they don’t meet the typical social definition. In other words, having a child you’ve either birthed or adopted that people can see you caring for is not what makes you a mother.


Perhaps an area mothers, teachers, front line workers, heads of households, oldest siblings raising a family can all connect on is the habit of self-neglect. So often these loving figures, these people who dedicate themselves to others, find themselves with barely enough time to breathe, much less breathe deeply. Yet, the old adage has never been more true: you can’t effectively take care of others if you are neglecting yourself. There’s a reason why flight attendants make you put your oxygen mask on first! Mental well-being and emotional resilience are fundamental to being able to continue filling the world and others around us with care, love, and affection.


Showering some of the most deserving among us with love is a cause we can wholeheartedly get behind. Luckily, Mother’s Day is coming up, and it’s coming up fast! I wanted to express my gratitude to all those who “mother”, to my mom, and also to all of the other humans in my life who have cared for me. To all those who have historically put themselves last, but perhaps are open to a change, this is for you. 

 

Dear my fellow Mothers and Others,


Taking care of other people is a thankless and grueling job. One that often feels like the day will never end. Whether you’re up with a newborn at 2:00 am, helping kids learn subtraction while trying to get them a snack, consoling a friend after a tough break, or on the front lines giving out the vaccine, it’s tiring to say the least. Days roll into nights without a shower, or a work out, or a moment of calm self-reflection. Forget date night! Is it guilt? Why do we just continue these patterns, staying inside, putting ourselves last, letting our well-being fall to the wayside. Maybe it’s that I struggle with the constant question, “Am I doing the right thing for my kids?” Endlessly worrying about the well-being of my little ones, driving myself crazy wondering if I’ve made all of the right decisions for them. I feel like each decision I make is so pressure filled, with the fate of their futures in the balance. Maybe that is not how this all works, but hey, it’s how my brain works. And as they get older, it seems to just increase in difficulty. Why didn’t anyone tell me that? Motherhood can be a twisted joke at times. Most of the time I feel tired and exhausted and grumpy.   

 

A global pandemic sure just puts the icing on the cake. I realize how fortunate my family and I are to be healthy and to have made it through this time externally unscathed, but the emotional whirlwind and added pressure and responsibility definitely made it more difficult. You all might be familiar with the continuous struggle of trying to do your own work, not miss your own meetings and at the same time wearing your teacher hat, ensuring the kids login to their zoom class on time and stay in their seats. 

 

Here is my routine, sound familiar? 6:00 am and the alarm hits my ears. I snooze until inevitably pulling myself out of bed at around 6:30, starting the morning routine and making breakfast for everyone. Note: I am in a continuous cycle of trying to get my coffee, but am perpetually interrupted by my daughter needing syrup heated up for her waffles, 25 seconds in the microwave to be exact. While I’m toasting frozen waffles for her, I start the separate journey of making home-made pancakes for my son (which of course he doesn’t like because he says the golden texture means they’re burned.) Time check: it’s only 7:30! I still want my coffee, but my husband just stole the last pod and now I’m stressing about getting the kids set up for online schooling. How is my brain even working at such a negative caffeine intake? My eyes jump to the pile of laundry, excuse me, piles of laundry. I consider the additional minutes it will take to steep black tea long enough to get my caffeine - oh, and I still need to take my thyroid medication. But here I am, bailing on taking care of myself because I’m doing everything for everyone else but me. Sometimes I just feel like I wish somebody would boil the water for me.


Doing everything for everyone but myself takes a toll on our energy, our well-being and our overall mood. But what you might not have considered is the significant toll it is also taking on your skin.


Here are just a few of the ways putting everyone else first has taken a toll on my skin:

  • Driving all of the time causing the left side of my face to develop hyperpigmentation
  • Neglecting my own self-care, going days without properly washing my face
  • Busy daily schedules leading to exhaustion causing my skin to look slack and worn
  • Forgetting to properly hydrate or feed myself, making my skin look dry and dull 
  • Running after the kids, doing the endless list of errands while not wearing my hat or my physical sunscreen

So whoever you are, from one ‘mother’ (read: human trying to look after other humans with care and affection) to another, I see you. You are the glue that keeps it all together for our families and for our world. From breakfast to bed-time, the frontline to online, hybrid or in-person. We at RaVina Labs see you and we salute you. We put together a little timely guide that speaks to the time-crunched, over extenders. 


For this Mother’s Day, we hope you stop for a second and acknowledge how wonderful, powerful, and impactful you are. We want you to know how important you are to yourself and to the people around you. We honor you today and always. But most of all, we want you to take as good of care of yourself as you do everyone around you. It’s time for you. You need it, you deserve, and it's okay to set some time aside and take time for yourself.  Don't feel guilty. 


When RaVina Labs was created, we wanted to offer two main things: effective and affordable curated facials for you to do in the comfort of your own home and the facilitation of some kind of self-care practice at home. Our bi-monthly facial kits were designed to be a gateway for your self-care journey. When you get your monthly facial, we encourage you to take some time out for you: to rest and relax while you are doing your treatment. We’ve even taken it a bit further, encouraging you to look around your home and find a peaceful spot where you can retreat to while you practice your self care. We call this your SPA SPACE. Your spa space can be set up however and wherever you like. Perhaps you’ve set up a warm and inviting space in your bedroom in which you can dim the lights and play music that you like while you rest and relax with your mask. Or maybe you want to sit outside in your backyard, under your favorite  tree while reading a new book and enjoying your mask at work in the background. The whole idea here is that you’re taking time out for yourself and making yourself a priority. That's what spa space is all about: you acknowledging yourself in a warm and inviting space, created for you and by you. This is your gift to yourself. The first step into wellness is to accept and acknowledge yourself. That’s all it is: it starts with you. 


Here are three of the most asked skincare questions I get asked by mothers and others:


Skincare issues brought on by self-neglect 

 

Q: I’ve got this hyperpigmentation happening on the left side of my face! Why is this happening? And what can I do about it?

A: This question comes from a lot of my mom friends and I have a good answer: often, we as moms or primary caretakers live in our cars. We are driving all the time and we don't realize that there are UV rays coming through our driver’s side window. This can often cause uneven coloring, or hyperpigmentation on the left side of our face. In particular, I will see it on the left cheekbone directly under the eye. Solution? Use the sun shield, wear your physical sunscreen + your hat, and use our bi-monthly Combat Treatment


Q: I would like to attempt to have a social life; go out with my significant other or maybe even do a friend zoom, but I don't have a lot of time to get ready and un-dull my tired and lackluster  skin. I also feel guilty that I want to take time away from kids or work duties to do it.

A: First off, this is a safe space and a guilt free zone. Please try and let go of any guilt of needing a break. As caregivers, we need to take time for ourselves. Just the fact that you’re acknowledging you need a break, means that you need to listen to yourself. And listening to yourself is actually an act of self-care. It’s okay to become ourselves again and to shed the skin of our caretaker role. Take that time for yourself: no guilt, just enjoy. And to kick off a fun guilt-free night, get ready for your fun with RaVina Labs Glow and Boost Treatment.  I love Glow and Boost for this particular situation because this facial will strengthen and hydrate your skin while creating a vibrant glow. It’s all those peptides and ceramides that we stuffed in there that supports your natural skin barrier and gives your skin support and structural integrity.

 

Q: As a caretaker, I look out for everybody but myself. I feed them, I bathe them, I put them to sleep...the list goes on. At the end of the day I look in the mirror and I look like a zombie. My face, my skin, my body and my mind each want to feel better. 

A: Dearest Friend, boy have I been here. Continuously looking after everyone but yourself is exhausting. I’ve got something for you and it’s called our Nourish Treatment . This facial will not only nourish your skin with natural moisturizing factors, but will also nourish your body and mind. We set this facial kit up so you can intentionally find a relaxing place (your spa space) in your home in which you will rest and relax during your facial and begin your practice of self-care. As your aesthetic RN, I recommend that you set aside at least 2 facial sessions a month in your spa space.


If you’re reading this and thinking, man, I need all of those. Or I know of someone who could really use a little structure to take care of themselves, visit our FAQ page to learn about monthly subscriptions. 


On this Mother’s Day and all the days in between, I want you to be good and kind  to yourself.  Acknowledge all that you are and all that you do. Without you, it doesn’t get done. 


Thank you for taking care of yourself,

Jennifer and the RaVina Labs family 


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1 comment
  • Love this post! You are right, we should take time to take care of ourselves, on Mother’s day and all the days in between! Well said.

    kathleen van haren on

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