Taking Time for Yourself. Because Baby, You’re Worth It!
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
written by The Kids & Me Contributor Kari Amore
Undoubtedly, all American women are familiar with the L’Oréal Paris advertising tagline “because you’re worth it.” This famous tagline was first inspired by Joanne Dusseau in 1971 and has been uttered across the fabulous lips of everyone from Cybil Shepard, Diane Keaton, and Jennifer Lopez to Beyoncé and Camilla Cabello. (Shatzman, 2021). Since its debut, it has been translated into 40 languages and continues to resonate with women across the world.
We all know this famous tagline and can see the various beauties reminding us how worth it we are in our heads. But, somehow, we all forget the true message here. Baby, you really ARE worth it!
Sometimes our lives don’t look anything like the life of the one delivering the line. My life is more reminiscent of a mom with no makeup and no bra, clumsily emerging from a bedroom in a messy bun, yoga pants, and a tee shirt screaming at the kids to put their shoes on, or we’ll all be late. Does this sound more familiar to anyone else?
The truth is…this girl needs it more than others. The miracles performed everyday in taking care of children, home, and everything in between all by yourself truly makes YOU worth it.
Finding the time can seem impossible. Look, I get it. I was a single mom of three kids for a long time. I worked a full-time job, had to manage all the childcare, meals, repairs, bills, and laundry. All I wanted to do at the end of the day is crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep. Single momma, here’s my advice to you.
“The time for YOU isn’t gonna come looking for you. YOU have to go looking for it.”
Putting yourself last is what you do. As an amazing, loving mother, your kids are always first. But, before you put this article down, consider this notion. The more mentally healthy you are, the better it is for your kids. Think about that. Allowing yourself to get so drained down to the point that you are easily agitated or so tired you can’t function is actually hurting those babies you are working so hard for. Loving them better means loving you better. But, hey…don’t take my word for it. How about Matthew Glowiak’s word. He’s part of the clinical faculty at Southern New Hampshire University and published an article on this very thing. He states…
“Burning the candle at both ends, so-to-speak, comes with significant consequences, which may include but are not limited to burnout, depression, anxiety, resentment and a whole host of other negative implications. Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more. From a physical health perspective, self-care has been clinically proven to reduce heart disease, stroke and cancer. Spiritually, it may help keep us in tune with our higher power as well as realize our meaning in life.” (Glowiak, 2020).
If you’re not partial to Mr. Glowiak’s sort of wisdom, how about some good ole’ Maya Angelou wisdom? She said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” (Edberg, 2022). Did you catch that…two hands aren’t for them, it’s one for you and one for them.
Finding the Me Time
We’ve covered that we all need the me time. Now, let’s discuss how to make the “me time”. For this advice, let’s go to another amazing woman we all know and love.
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Dolly Parton (Edberg, 2022).
“Adjusting that sails” is on us to figure out. We’ve got to make the time, no matter how short it is to just do you. This is called creating balance. The US Department of Health and Human Services states that “balance means making sure we have time to do the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled. This includes working (paid or unpaid), having fun, spending time with family and friends, participating in the community, being physically active. …because we each have individual needs, preferences, and capabilities, what we consider “balance” will also look different.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016).
Let’s simplify this a bit. Taking me time, the way I want to take it, includes an awfully expensive (money I don’t have), day-long (time I don’t have), destination trip to a spa for pampering. But the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that extensive. Sometimes, taking a mini break for yourself can happen in a single minute.
For example…true story, and I fully encourage you to use your imagination and picture this in your mind. It may be just the “me time” break you needed today.
I’m standing over the stove cooking dinner. I have my 14-year-old working his suave on his mom to get permission to go to a friend’s house this weekend in which I will be committed to provide transportation. At the same time, the 8-year-old is asking me to watch her latest dance move which is exactly like the last 13 moves she has shown me. She is not to be outdone by the 10-year-old who is telling me about the boy she likes at school and how another girl likes him too, but he likes her and not her. And for some reason, it’s collectively important to each that they get their mothers full attention right then and there. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Before I lose it, I turn the knob on the stove to off. I get the attention of all three children and say “Mommy will be back in 5 minutes. You are not to move, you are not to touch anything, and you are to just chill for 5 minutes. No, you can’t come with me and it’s none of your business where I’m going.” Because I know my kids are old enough and trustworthy enough to not kill themselves for 5 minutes of absence, I grab my phone and head straight for the back door. As I’m heading down the grassy hill that runs behind my house, I’m fidgeting with my phone in an effort to find just the right song to get me through. Music is my thing. Nothing can change my mood like a good song. So, once I’ve found the right song, which happens to be a 90’s hip hop iconic song Poison by Bell Biv Devoe, I put it on to play as loud as I can. I stand out in the backyard singing at the top of my voice along to the music and begin to dance. Do I look like a crazy person, yes. Do my neighbors worry about my mental fitness, probably. Are there weird looks coming my way, for sure. Did taking 5 minutes for myself to listen to one song and dance out my anxiety help? Absolutely! Did I learn to never “trust a big butt and a smile” (lyrics to this song, in case you didn’t know)? Sure Did!
Rather than losing it and yelling at my kids for doing nothing more than being kids, I was able to hit MY reset button. In just 5 minutes, I channeled my frustration into an outlet that works for me. Once the song was over, I headed right back into the house. To my utter amazement, everyone was just fine. I was able to walk back over to the stove, turn it on, and begin my ritual of telling the 8-year-old to show me that last dance move again and say “nuh-uh” in affirmation of my 10-year-olds position on the boys at school. And by then, my 14-year-old had made his way over to the couch with enough energy to call out, “what’s for dinner?” You know what? I didn’t lose it. I had released some of the internal frustration enough to reset me and allow me to respond better to the needs of my babies.
The moral of the story here is that mini breaks can be taken. Walking outside for 5 minutes isn’t just for moms with older kids. Cribs, gates, and safety solutions are all ways to keep your kids safe while you decompress for 5 minutes. You’re not a horrible mom for taking 5 minutes to yourself. Your kids will not be damaged or get to a point of thinking you abandoned them by taking 5 minutes for you.
You don’t have to like music or dancing. You might just like silence. Whatever it is for you, find it! What is the thing that belongs to you? That thing that has a way of calming you or switching your mood? Whether it be screaming into a pillow or dunking your head under the faucet or dancing in the yard…find it! It’s so worth it. So, tell me…What’s your mini break?
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Edberg, H. (2022, January 20). 71 self care quotes to help you to take care of yourself. The Positivity Blog. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://www.positivityblog.com/self-care-quotes/
Glowiak, Clinical Faculty in the Counseling Program April 14, M. (2020, April 14). What is self-care and why is it important for you? Southern New Hampshire University. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care
Shatzman, C. (2021, March 5). L'Oréal Paris celebrates 50 years of their iconic 'because you're worth it' slogan. Forbes. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/celiashatzman/2021/03/05/loral-paris-celebrates-50-years-of-their-iconic-because-youre-worth-it-slogan/?sh=1f0a9c595a24
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Creating a Healthier Life: A step-by-step guide to wellness 1–22 (2016). Washington, DC; SAMHSA.Gov.