Daphne Oz — mom of four and new host of MasterChef Junior, premiering this fall on Fox — talks to PEOPLE about self-care and parenting during the pandemic
Sweat It Out
Exercising is such a welcome moment to clear my head these days. It makes me better at taking care of everyone else around me to have had that moment to focus on doing something great for myself. I love keeping it interesting and experimenting to find the methods that really click with my brain and body.
I discovered P.volve* a couple months ago and loved their focus on targeted, precise movements in sync with the way your body naturally moves to create long, lean strength and tone. There's a big focus on bringing your internal corset (a.k.a. waist!) back too, so it’s been an amazing tool for postpartum recovery.
I have streamed my P.volve everywhere from my living room to my hallway to my bathroom, and that functionality in a crowded house with lots of kids underfoot is crucial to my being able to follow through! If you give it a try, my favorite equipment they sell is the Ultimate P.volve Bundle.
*Disclaimer: Oz is a P.volve partner.
Connect with Fellow Mamas
I feel very lucky to have gotten to connect with so many other mothers and parenting experts through [my podcast with Hilaria Baldwin], Mom Brain, and we have had some fascinating conversations in the last few weeks on resilience, how kids learn best and creating a practice of mothering ourselves. Sharing these ideas feels especially helpful and uplifting now.
The thing we keep hearing over and over is that it's most important to be the source of unconditional love, stability and fun our kids need their mommies to be right now (and always). The good news is that this fundamental role is something we actually have control over in this surreal time.
Make New Traditions
I was driving myself crazy the first couple weeks, so I shifted my focus to be on filling this time at home with as many happy traditions and memories as possible.
Yes, we have a million Zoom meetings and the house feels extra chaotic at times. But we bake a cake every Friday. We build forts and don't clean them up right away. My kids have me crafting (I am not a crafter). We do elaborate treasure hunts around the house. We do lots of movie nights and read extra books before bed. My hope is that these are the moments we are all going to remember.
Put on Jeans Once a Week
This started as a rebellion against the fact that I had not worn 95 percent of my closet in a month, and became one of my favorite ways to check in on myself and my progress. Clothes don't lie. The jeans are good because they're positive reinforcement not to get too used to pants with no waistbands.
We've started doing a dress-up day too, because my kids think it's fun (so do I) and what's the point of being home all the time if you can't live it up a little? Put on your jewelry and your favorite gown and suddenly cereal feels very special.
Cooking Is Therapy
Put on your favorite playlist and don't overthink it. Most of us are cooking more at home now, and it's great to have a few pantry staples that make it simple to pull together nutrient-dense, delicious meals. I have never made more beans in my entire life, haha. They're in soups and tacos and breakfast scrambles.
I always have a few bags of Alexia Frozen Organic Sweet Potato Fries in my freezer to round out lunch or dinner. These are one of my favorite easy ways to make a meal feel a bit more indulgent while keeping reasonably healthy. I'll tuck these in the oven while I roast chicken or salmon and toss together a big, leafy green salad. The kids are obsessed with them. The trick is to coat them in a little oil and salt and spread in a thin, even layer before baking at 350°F until crisp and golden brown.
I cut a sturdy cardboard box in half to create privacy screens/space dividers for my kids at the dining table where they were doing their distance learning sessions just to try to keep them from getting distracted by each other and it was a GAME-CHANGER!
The Elmer's Trifold Corrugate Project Display Board is the real deal if you can find it at Target, but the box trick worked wonders. They decorated the inside day by day with stickers, drawings, maps, words they want to learn, etc.