You might think that someone as devoted to helping others as Karamo Brown might have trouble taking time for self-care. That, he assures SheKnows, is not the case. Even as he juggles being a reality-TV star, writer, skin-care line creator, podcaster and a father, he makes sure to stop everything and get some me-time. He makes doing so sound so simple, we’re really going to have to try his method.
“It’s always been like, ‘Hey, take time for me,'” Brown told us of his self-care routine, which he outlines for others as a two-step process.
“Set alarms on your phone all day long to remind you to take time for yourself,” he said. “It’s the same way if you’re at school, the bell rings, [and you think], ‘Oh, I have some time for me.’ The same thing needs to happen in our daily lives as adults. Set reminders that phone to go off at 11, 12, 2, whenever to say, ‘Oh, this is time for me to take a moment for myself.’ It’s super, super important.”
Wait, you mean those calendar alerts can be for something other than inducing more anxiety? This is sounding good.
“And then second, if you’ve got a door in your house, a room in your house that has a lock on it, go in there and escape,” he said. “Bathrooms are the easy ones — bedrooms, a garage to go in there and find a moment for you. And no matter how much your kids knock on the door or do whatever, as long as they’re safe on the other side of that door, don’t feel guilty about not answering it. And that’s when I usually go and I do my skincare routine with my Mantl products.”
“The more we can take time for ourselves and the better we can connect with who we are, the more we’ll be able to be better parents for our children.”
Oh, but some of us parents already feeling guilty for just thinking about taking care of ourselves before the kids are asleep! Is this allowed? It is. Especially if you consider that taking time for yourself may actually make you more patient and easygoing with your children.
“The more we can take time for ourselves and the better we can connect with who we are, the more we’ll be able to be better parents for our children,” Brown said.
This is something he’s trying to teach his sons too, though it hasn’t been easy.
“They’re in their 20s now, so I don’t think they’re getting it,” he admitted. “I didn’t get in my 20s. … I think there’s still some moments where they feel like, ‘I’ve got to go, go, go. I’ve got to go to work. I’ve got to go to school. I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing.’ That’s unfortunate. As parents, you teach so much, but then once you get into the world… We have to change the way that the mindset of the world is, the consciousness of the world. Corporate America, school, all these things should be changing along with us as we’re talking about mental health to make sure that those institutions understand the importance of mental health as well.”
This is the kind of wisdom we think Brown will be spreading to other fathers as well, in a top-secret project he’s working on involving men who, like himself, found out they had children years after they were born. The key to dealing with this kind of surprise, he said, is the same skill all parents need to cultivate: empathy for our kids.
“As I was going through my own life confusion and rage and anger and all these other things, I was thinking about [the fact that] there’s a kid out there,” Brown said of finding out about his son, Jason, when the boy was 10. “I then immediately had to say, ‘Well, what is this kid experiencing?’ And I think sometimes parents, especially when you’re divorced or you’re in a relationship that has fallen apart. We forget the priority has to be the kid and focus on what the kid could be potentially feeling. We sometimes give ourselves excuses and say, ‘Oh, they’re fine,’ but they’re not.”
But remember, being able to take the time to address our children and ask them if they’re not OK is something parents can easily do if their well has run dry. Caring for ourselves makes caring for them possible.
Before you go, check out some of our favorite apps to help you look after your mental health: