Rachel Bilson Says Self Care Is Hard for Single Moms: 'If I Shower a Few Times a Week, That's a Success'

The actress recently got real about what life as a single mom looks like during a pandemic and how she plans to celebrate the holidays this year.

rachel bilson
Photo: Courtesy Amazon

No matter how many kids you have or whether you're single or partnered, 2020 has been a wild ride for parents. As the year comes to a close, Rachel Bilson of Hart of Dixie and The O.C. fame, whose daughter Briar Rose is 6, has learned a thing or two about herself as a mom along the way.

We caught up with Bilson, who has partnered with Amazon, about how she and her daughter have adapted over the course of the year, the simple ways she's squeezing in self-care, and her secret to getting through 2020.

What Rachel's Learned About Her Daughter—and Herself—This Year

One of the most challenging aspects of parenting for the 39-year-old? "The fine line between honest and talking to your children about what's going on, but not to the point where it's as scary as it can come across," says Bilson. "I've just stayed really positive, not wanting her to feel how abnormal things are."

But Bilson notes that her daughter, who started kindergarten online this year, has adjusted well to any changes—and therein lies a lesson for parents. "Kids are super adaptable, and I think as parents, we forget that, and we're affected so much more, but kids are OK," observes the actress. "She's done pretty well, and that's been my goal: to make sure she is OK."

In fact, because Briar's been doing so well, it has made Bilson feel more centered, she says. "I'm so grateful I have my daughter's support. She is just so awesome, and I feel so lucky that she's mine. And it's been so nice to spend time together, especially at her age when kids are still so young and need their moms."

What Being a Virgo Mom Looks Like for Rachel

The former star of The O.C., born on August 25, describes how being born under mutable (read: adaptable) earth sign Virgo is reflected in her parenting style: "I try to relinquish a lot of control and let her be and let her do her own thing. You really have to let go as a parent, and that's been my biggest thing. I work at it. I think I've done OK. If you saw my house, you'd be like, 'Oh, you let her do a lot on her own.' She has a lot of freedom."

How She's Finding Joy and Self-Care This Season

Bilson's mom's side of the family is Italian, and her dad's side is Jewish, so baking and cooking is "huge" this time of year, she says. "We do all the same Christmas cookies every year, so Briar is going to get to do that this year, and then Christmas Eve is a big Italian feast, so she's going to be very heavily involved in that, and I'm really looking forward to that."

But beyond family time, the actress pulls no punches when it comes to how tough it can be to squeeze in self-care. "If I get to shower a few times a week, I feel like that's a success," she says. "I'm not complaining, though! Living in pajamas and sweatsuits—definitely not complaining about that. I am a huge fan."

As difficult as it might be, Bilson says she makes a concerted effort to take time for herself for the sake of her mental health and encourages other single parents to do the same. "I think that is key, especially this year," she notes.

The Tech and Relationships She Says Have Carried Her Through 2020

Bilson sings the praises of devices that help her master single parenthood with recipes and grocery lists while keeping her daughter entertained with bedtime stories, joking that Amazon's Alexa has been there for her "in ways that partners never were." But the pandemic has also led to Bilson cherishing certain longtime relationships more than ever.

Bilson thanks her lucky stars for her friends and her family, who she credits with helping her get through this unprecedented time. "My girlfriends have been my best friends for the past 20+ years, so we really have a family unit, and I don't know what I'd do without that support—and my family," she notes. "I would not have been able to get through any of this without them."

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