Mandy Moore Talks Self-Care, Motherhood, and the End of 'This Is Us'

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Mandy Moore Talks Self-Care, Motherhood, and the End of 'This Is Us'
© Provided by Health Ben Watts

There’s something sweetly poetic about this time in Mandy Moore’s life. The 37-year-old star is wrapping the final season of NBC’s hit show This Is Us. The drama is centered around the Pearson family, with Mandy playing the matriarch. More than 5 million people tune in each week, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s a generational story that tracks a family across many decades and through joy, triumph, and heartbreak.

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As she says goodbye to her TV family, Mandy is busy growing her real-life family. In early 2021, she and her husband (musician Taylor Goldsmith) welcomed their son, August—Gus for short. And though she’s just a year into it, Mandy says parenthood has already taught her a great deal. One lesson that is top of mind: having more grace for herself—something she says can be tough as a perfectionist.

The busyness of work and motherhood has meant that her self-care routine has taken a hit. For now, she squeezes it in when she can. “Putting on a podcast or a jazz record, lighting a candle, getting into a bath by myself once the baby is down— that is the easiest way to decompress,” Mandy says. Here, she shares more of what her life is like right now.

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Mandy Moore Talks Self-Care, Motherhood, and the End of 'This Is Us'
© Provided by Health Ben Watts

How are you feeling about This Is Us coming to an end?

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Lots of mixed emotions. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by, and yet I have been as present as possible, throughout this entire journey. I recognized early on that this is such a special project to be a part of. I’ve never felt this way about a job and the people that are a part of it before. So, I’ve really appreciated it and been super-grateful along this whole journey of the last five, six years. I’m going to be a ball of emotions as we get a little bit closer to the end.

The show jumps around in time. Does the aging makeup take forever to put on?

It started at four hours, and now we have it down to three hours. I’ve always loved it because it gives me time to sink down into this character and where she is in her life, and especially during this season of her life—this final chapter.

Is it weird to see yourself looking older?

I think I have a somewhat healthy relationship with aging and my body. I have my good and bad days, but I think there’s something so beautiful about the opportunity to get a sneak peek of what the future may have in store for you in terms of the physical. If I am so lucky to age as well as my character has, I will be in hog heaven. I embrace all that’s coming because it’s just a sign of a happy, joyful life.

The last two years have been tough for many people. Was there anything that you were able to do in this time that you hadn’t been able to do previously?

Get pregnant. Truly. We had been trying to get pregnant for a while, and I think it took being together at the same place at the same time. My husband is a musician and he’s always on the road. Maybe whatever stresses we had put on ourselves in terms of trying to have a baby, or just the external stresses of life in general—once that was out of the equation, it allowed for things to take the natural course. In that sense, I am so grateful.

Mandy Moore Talks Self-Care, Motherhood, and the End of 'This Is Us'
© Provided by Health Ben Watts

How was your pregnancy?

I was able to have a relatively quiet, easy pregnancy at home with my partner. During this very special time, [my husband and I] were able to be together and spend this concentrated time together. I was aware that this will never happen again. We were home, cooking, in each other’s faces, but also giving each other some space. It was the biggest silver lining for us.

Your son, Gus, is a year old. What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood?

Every day is different. It is overwhelming on a level that I never expected. All of the clichés are true. The love is so immediate. In the very beginning it was like, “Oh, you’re nursing. The baby’s sleeping.” You figure out your routine. Then maybe three months in felt like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have the skill set for this. Maybe I’m not a good mother.” I questioned everything. I looked at my husband, who seemed so at ease—it was so natural for him. I felt bad about myself and what I brought to the table as a mom. And it made me question everything. And I was like, “Is this feeling going to last forever? Am I just going to feel unworthy, unprepared? Is this just the foreseeable future?” And a week later, I found my equilibrium again. I remember people telling me that everything is a phase and not to get too set in your ways about anything—and it’s true.

Has your idea of wellness changed since becoming a mom?

Right now, it’s about having grace—being easy on myself when being able to practice self-care doesn’t feel as available and accessible to me. It was so much easier when I was pregnant, to find the time to take care of myself. I was at the chiropractor. I was at acupuncture weekly. I had prenatal massages. And then as soon as baby arrives, all of that pretty much goes out the window. And it’s such a bummer because I feel like I wish I could find the time to sort of incorporate some of those practices again, because they felt so good. But it’s not feasible and so, again, I try not to get down on myself about it. If I do have free time and I’m not working, I’d much rather go on a walk with Gus than rush off to go get a facial. However, that’s not to diminish how important that stuff is, too. I feel like I’m just constantly walking that tightrope of what is going to suit me best today.

Mandy Moore Talks Self-Care, Motherhood, and the End of 'This Is Us'
© Provided by Health Ben Watts

Do you enjoy working out?

I don’t really enjoy it per se. I like moving my body. I feel very lucky to be able to move my body. So I try to appreciate it on that level. I do feel better when I get the blood flowing to some degree. I love being outside. And I love living in Southern California with pretty much incredible weather all the time—and I love to hike.

You’ve even climbed Kilimanjaro and Everest!

That is just slowly walking uphill. Yes, you have to be cardiovascularly fit for the elevation. I just love the adventure, more than the athleticism. With that type of goal, I obviously want to be physically capable of getting to the top of a mountain, but I look at it more as a time to reflect and have some quiet time. A lot of it has also been fun because I get to do it with friends. Getting to live this adventure in different corners of the world with people that I love and making those memories is incredible.

How do you take care of your mental health?

I am usually pretty good with therapy. I especially was [early in] the pandemic. Maybe less so in the last year or so, being a new parent. That has kind of fallen off the priority list. Although I know it will make its way back on because I’ve always found that with therapy—I’ve ebbed and flowed with it over the last 15 years of my life. I’ve also ebbed and flowed with meditation. I find that to be incredibly helpful, and I always feel at my best when I find 10 or 15 minutes to do it on a daily basis.

Last question! Will you be returning to music?

I have a new record coming out very soon! It was a way of finding some sort of catharsis during the pandemic. My last record was the first bit of music I had put out in 11 years. It came out right before the pandemic started. We were four days away from going on tour, which was the first time I’d gone on tour since 2007. To make sense of how I felt, and with an eye toward not letting as much time go by in between records, I started working on a new one. My husband and my buddy Mike, both of whom I did the last record with, we pretty immediately started working on more music during the pandemic and wrote a whole record. Hopefully, we’ll be able to finally make up that tour that never happened—and we’ll now be able to bring Gus with us.

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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