Mother's Day IssueMelissa Magsaysay, Writer & Editorial Director of 11 Honoré
Every year we try and get together with my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law to have brunch and spend time together, either here in Los Angeles or a little north toward where my parents live. Some years, we’ve met in Ojai or Santa Barbara for a long weekend.
This year, since we cannot all be together, I think my husband, son and I will go for a drive or walk in the neighborhood and have an early dinner in the backyard. The “uneventful” events during this time have been some of my favorite celebrations. My birthday, Mother’s Day and my husband’s birthday were or will be simple and just spent hanging out and giving each other homemade cards and ordering or making food (and a cocktail or two) we really enjoy. The pared-back nature of this type of celebrating suits me fine. I tend to overthink what “to do” to celebrate or where to go. Focusing on what’s right in front of me and the messages of love that come in from friends and family are really the most appreciated.
Last year, my husband had a photograph of me and my son redone as a digital illustration and framed it beautifully. It sits on our mantle and I absolutely love it.
These days? Hilarious and absurd and fun and always unpredictable. My son Miles is 7 and loves making us laugh, either with jokes, dancing or reciting movie lines in character. He is really curious about pop culture and history and it’s fun trying to explain or introduce him to new things in those categories. It’s also a lot of coaxing (read: bribing) to stick to a “normal” schedule with school work, bedtime, toothbrushing and meals, because his usual routine is out the window. Let’s face it—it’s a struggle even with no pandemic.
Every Friday night is Movie Night and we start talking about what movie we’re going to watch around Wednesday. We make popcorn, sometimes we build a fort. It makes the end of the week, even during quarantine, something to look forward to.
“Having a child, career, personal ambitions, side hustles and social time means I need to structure and use my time efficiently.”
My husband wakes up really early and I sleep in, sort of (until 7 AM), and he brings me coffee in bed. That might be the only way I get up and motivate, so I’m thankful for that morning ritual on many levels. Miles likes to snuggle in bed, so we have a 30-minute snuggle session and then get going. Breakfast is usually just coffee for me, since getting Miles fed and dressed takes some time and nudging. On less packed days my favorite thing for breakfast is scrambled eggs topped with a heaping mound of salsa. I try and go for a walk in the hills for about 45 minutes, come back, shower and a few times a week do a mask like Joanna Vargas Exfoliating mask, Odacité Synergie Immediate Skin Perfecting Beauty Masque or the Babyfacial from Drunk Elephant. Before heading to work (or my laptop) I gulp down a glass of The Super Elixir by WelleCo mixed with water. Also, I spray my face with rose water all morning long: right out of the shower, after coffee, before sitting down at my computer and then again and again throughout the day, but mostly in the morning. I think the smell helps me wake up and is overall very uplifting. I keep a couple of bottles in the fridge for a refreshing spritz and one in my bedroom. I love this bottle I buy at Moon Juice that I believe is made by someone locally, Chantecaille Rose de Mai and Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin.
Well, I am not a great person to give advice on this, because I tend to go hard in every area, which is not something I would necessarily recommend. That said, it’s something I constantly have to work on. I know this about myself, so I have to remind myself to stay in check for my and my family’s sanity and well-being. I adhere to a daily list of tasks, calls, deadlines and appointments. Every morning I write this list on a yellow legal pad. If I don’t have my yellow pad, I feel a bit lost. I have stacks and stacks of these pads in a cabinet at home, because I love having a record of my notes, thoughts and days. It’s yellow legal pad central over here. Also, a friend once told me to “eat my frog” each morning—meaning, do the hardest thing of your day first and get it over with. So, I try and “eat my frog” first thing and then continue to do one thing at a time. If I am especially busy or just feeling a bit overwhelmed, I schedule tasks by time and give myself an exact time frame in which to finish, because procrastination is real. I realize how rigid this sounds and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it works for me. Having a child, career, personal ambitions, side hustles and social time means I need to structure and use my time efficiently. There are plenty of days where I am not functioning at this level and I try and listen to my mind and body and bury my yellow legal pad under a pillow and turn on a movie and watch it with Miles or go have a glass of wine outside. I enjoy my work immensely and also love trying new things that test my creativity, but when work or projects begin to overwhelm me to a point of being unhealthy, I back down for my own sanity. I think like a lot of people, I can be my own worst enemy, so it’s up to me to realize when that is happening and take a breath. I am usually the only one putting the pressure on myself and at the end of the day, Miles is happiest when my laptop is closed, I’m stress/anxiety free and we’re hanging out together.
To remind myself that I don’t have to get it all done all the time. Of course, I mentioned my dependency on the yellow legal pads and sticking to a pretty regimented and efficient schedule, but I also have to be realistic about how much I’ve stacked my day and what my expectations are versus what I actually have to do. As a writer, I am used to working and functioning on a deadline. I tend to be good at getting it done, because there is always a date or time frame to be working against or in. But if I don’t get it all done, that’s OK too.
You don’t need “all the things.” There are a lot of contraptions, classes, philosophies, soundtracks, experts etc. It can be easy to listen to or buy all of these things, but at the end of the day, motherhood is or should be simple. The accessories, classes and experts are great if that works for you. Do or get what’s helpful, but try not to listen to too many people or do too much as it can teeter toward being stressful. Also, you don’t know what your kid’s disposition, sleeping habits, etc. will be like, or how the experience (from birth to early childhood) will be, so being flexible and letting it all unfold naturally and gracefully, is key.
The joy of watching Miles become a person with interests, passion, humor, likes/dislikes, wit, values and compassion. It’s ever-changing and just so fascinating to witness, support and be a part of.
Whining. I could really do without the whining.
I don’t know that I’ve learned it yet. Or at least, I can say that every age so far has presented its own lessons. If there is one overarching lesson thus far, I guess it would be: Do your best to be flexible and learn as much as possible about yourself, as a parent and as a person, from every situation.
Mom's Best Advice
Let me preface this by saying that my mom is incredibly stylish and loves putting her outfits together, accessorizing and shopping. That said, she has always done so on a budget. She told me from a young age that money can’t buy taste. That, of course, applies to areas outside of fashion, but she meant it as it pertains to style.
Lipstick always finishes the look.
Do something you love and the money will follow. And that there is no perfect situation, but you have to keep pushing forward and see it as an opportunity to get to something greater.
Go easy on yourself. There will be days when you feel mediocre at your job and also as a mom and like you’re barely managing either. As a new mom, I had pretty bad postpartum depression and would be incredibly hard on myself. My thoughts would sort of spiral into feeling inadequate at anything or everything I was doing. Those years with a baby are indeed so short and fleeting that it is key to go easy on yourself and give yourself credit.
You cannot drink from an empty cup (you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others—my mom was an OG wellness guru, ha). This, of course, is very relevant to being a mom.