When I gave birth to my son four years ago, my mother-in-law sent us a package of essentials from Target. In that box, there was also one beautiful jewel-toned paisley scarf for me (I love scarves). In the card, she wrote that she knew we needed diapers, pacifiers, and onesies, but that new mom essentials include things for moms themselves, things that are not just for the baby or are baby-related. I will never forget this. The fact that she included in an essentials box something that she knew I would love simply because it was pretty meant the world to me. So when I was recently asked to contribute to a friend’s “New Mom Survival Kit,” I immediately knew what I wanted to include.
I chose a Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller, two sheet masks, and a can of dry shampoo. No matter how much I hunt for the perfect eye cream, one that de-puffs and brightens, I always return to my Garnier eye rollers. They are amazing–they depuff my eyes in minutes, moisturize and brightern with Vitamin C, and sink in quickly so I can apply concealer without worrying that it’s going to slip away. I’ve always used the clear version in the green tube, but I’ve recently discovered this version, which acts as a de-puffer and brightener but also provides some coverage. For a new mom, this is perfect. I can wear this without any makeup and it doesn’t look like I put on concealer only, a problem I often have when I apply a full coverage product on bare skin. My eyes look brighter and more awake, and I can apply it under foundation and skip concealer, or put more concealer on top if I want more coverage. It is versatile, easy, and it works.
Next, I chose two sheet masks: the Yes to Coconuts Ultra Hydrating Mask, and the Yes to Cucumbers Calming Mask. When you’re exhausted, it shows in your skin–it looks dull, flat, dry. You need all the hydration you can get. Also, sheet masks are a quick and easy way to pamper yourself when you have a baby who won’t sleep–if you have 20 minutes, you can put one on and rest, letting the cooling sensation melt away the stress and worry, at least for that moment. I’ve never tried the calming mask, but the coconut hydrating mask is one of my favorites. One thing about sheet masks: they can be a little scary to people who have never tried them before, since they’re a Korean beauty staple but are relatively new to many Americans. It’s important to find one that’s really user-friendly. Some of my favorites are the Tony Moly masks, but they offer very few instructions in English. I prefer to give the Yes to Coconuts or Miss Spa brands to people who are new to sheet masks, because they clearly and simply explain how to use it.
Finally, I chose dry shampoo, for obvious reasons. The new mom who can’t remember the last time she took a shower is so common it is practically a cliche. But it’s so true. You’re so focused on the baby that you can’t remember anything else: if you ate breakfast, what day it is, your own name … dry shampoo is a life saver when you have to run to the store and don’t want to look as tired as you feel. I chose the Batiste Dry Shampoo in Bare, because Batiste is one of the best and least expensive, and I wanted to make sure not to overwhelm my friend with a strong scent she might not like.
When you’re a new mom, you’re exhausted. Like, exhausted like you never believed was possible. You feel like you’ll never get enough sleep, never stop worrying, never know enough to raise a small human–you’re disoriented and barely know which way is up. The scarf my mother-in-law sent me was a reminder of who I was, who I am, and who I would be again (after the first few months when I could finally settle into something of a routine, albeit one with less sleep than before). So I wanted to give them same gift to my friend. While the box certainly included diapers, nursing pads, and nipple cream, I added three items that I knew would help her feel a little more human when she’d been up all night, and a bit pampered during the weeks when her life was totally given over to another. I wanted to offer a reminder that she’d be able to come up for air soon, and in the midst of all the love, fear, and newness of having a baby, she was still a wonderful, beautiful, and important individual.