Top 5 Excuses Moms Say about Why They Don't Practice Self-Care


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Confession time, mommas. Sometimes self-care is really hard to be consistent with. Even for a therapist and mom like me.


I think we all struggle with this one--at least from time to time, if not all the time.


And when we fall off the wagon with it or have struggled to implement new self-care habits in the first place, the hardest part is starting.


It’s kind of like--well, I don’t know about you, but this is definitely true for me: Getting to the gym is the hardest part of exercising. If I can just get myself there, then I’m fine. I’ll find something healthy to do for myself. But leaving the house? Oh, so hard.


For one thing, I have to make sure that the kids are taken care of. And then I also have to make sure I’m not feeling guilty for letting the laundry pile up. And I have to make sure that nothing else falls by the wayside...meaning, will I still have time to prep dinner? Am I compromising sleep to get to the gym? That sort of thing.


But even when I have all my thousands of ducks in a row, then come the excuses.


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Like, but this couch is really comfy right now.  Maybe I could just go tomorrow. Maybe I should stay and spend more time with the kids instead. And on and on.


So the trick is getting there. Making space for it. Giving myself permission. But how do we do that? That’s the real challenge.


This probably feels familiar to you. I know because my clients tell me all the time. Self-care is just so darn hard for all of us moms to permit ourselves, to prioritize, to insist on.


(Sometimes dads too, but it seems to come up most often for moms. So, dads, I’m not trying to exclude you here, but I do feel very strongly that moms especially need to hear this.)


And so, I did a video on the top 5 excuses I hear from moms about why they don’t do self-care.


Now, first a little disclaimer: I’m not trying to insult or offend by using the word “excuses”, but I am trying to get your attention a bit here. Because it’s more urgent than you think. And please know that we ALL make excuses when it comes to self-care--myself included. Whether it’s because we’re natural givers or because we just feel pulled in too many directions, the guilt we feel when it comes to putting ourselves first and showing ourselves a little TLC every now and then is very real.


I’m in your corner here. I want to make sure you’re taken care of. So, let’s see if we can move what’s in your way and ease your mind by rebuking all those excuses!


Let’s get down to it. Check out the video and transcript below.

And if you feel like you could use some more support with this, reach out to me personally.



This video previously aired as a Facebook Live. You can follow Happy With Baby on Facebook to catch all their live videos here.




Hey guys. I've been talking all month about the importance of self-care and why we need to make sure we take time for ourselves. And honestly, I know you why we need to make sure we take time know all this, right. You know all how important it is to take care of ourselves. So today, I'm going to be talking about the five excuses--the top five excuses I hear from parents, especially moms, and basically why we need to stop doing that.


So I'm Catherine O'Brien at and if you don't know me, maybe you're just someone who crossed my page, I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist here in Sacramento, California, and wife and a mom of two school-aged kids as of this Thursday. So today it's Tuesday and my baby will be starting kindergarten on Thursday, which probably makes me need to make sure that I take some extra time for self-care, but anyways, yeah. So I've been working with new and expecting parents for the last eight years. And definitely it's no coincidence that my oldest is nine because I really realized then how challenging having a baby can be on not only our relationships, but definitely ourselves. So that's kind of how I started really focusing in this area.


Now let's get to the excuses. Let's get to the good stuff, okay.


So these are the top five excuses that I hear: The number one is "I don't have time." Now, believe me, I'm gonna go over here in a minute about all the reasons why these aren't good excuses anymore, okay.


#1 is "I don't have time."


#2 is "I don't have money."


#3 is "The baby is always around."


#4 is just "I'm so tired."


#5 is "I have a hard time saying yes when all these people around me need me."


Now maybe people don't tell me that word-for-word, but that's basically get the gist of it. Okay.


So now I'm going to rebut or reboot? Rebuttal? These are my rebuttals. I don't know how you say that. Is it rebut or repute? Anyways, okay, and this is not--maybe some can give me an English lesson, but anyway, so these are my rebuttals to your excuses. And believe me I've heard these all so many times before and probably even in my own head several, several, several times.


So number one, in regards to not having enough time, you guys, we typically prioritize the--rebuke. Thank You, Jackie. Thank you for that. Okay. I knew it was it right, but I wasn't sure.


Okay so in regards to not having enough time, we typically prioritize the things that are important to us. And so typically most people have like five or six categories of priorities for themselves, whether it's career, relationship, health and fitness, social friendships, you know, passions and hobbies, and stuff like that. But then after having a baby, we typically only have room for about three. And so for myself personally, my three have always been my family, relationships, and career.


And you know I've definitely dabbled in some of the other ones, like health and fitness I've gone through periods in the last nine years of when you know, I'll join a new gym or do certain things that I'll go all gung-ho and then that kind of falls out. Or like I know if I am eating right and working out then usually I'm spending less time in my business, like you know, something falls off if I'm adding another one in. And that's just kind of been the way it has--that's the way it's been for the last nine years.


Now definitely as my children are getting older and probably within this last year, I've definitely had more time for some of these other categories and so that you know definitely feels better. I feel a little bit more balanced out and it's nice to have a little bit more time for myself, but I think it's--I think now in retrospect, if I had, you know, listened to the the tips that I gave last week about why we need self-care, I think it's--we need to that realize and this is how I need to realize is the things that we've done before are not gonna look the same now.


Like if you are that person that you, you know, train for a marathon or something you spent, you know, miles and miles running and so, you know, that takes a lot of time during the week and now you have a baby and you're like can't even get out of the house, like maybe you do a shorter workout. maybe you do like a HIIT workout or you do a yoga flow class on YouTube or you fit in some you know burpees and, which are my least favorite, if you've ever done those. Squats, push-ups, whatever, you know, while the baby's taking a nap.


Like you can fit the shorter things in because it doesn't have to be, like, yeah, those long workouts that great, but it can be the shorter, smaller ones. And maybe you do ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the afternoon, ten minutes later. Like those thirty minutes add up throughout the day. They're just not all at once and you can kind of spread it out, so it doesn't have to be long. It just has to be--you have to get that in. You have to do the little things for yourself.


Yeah, and and the other point I want to make about that is like giving yourself grace and forgiveness for not being able to do it the way you use to. Those times are gonna come again. Like you'll get more and more time. I definitely have way more time than I used to.


My son--I would incorporate him in all my workouts in the early years and now it's--now I go to the gym and and it's been summer, so I'll drop them at the child care area where they seem to really like because they have a lot of activities, and I go do my workout and then I'll fit in like thirty minutes and answer emails or phone calls or whatever.


And now it's like--it's so different, right. So we'll all come back again. It's just knowing, like okay, it's a little bit different now and it will--the things that you did before will be, will come back again. And maybe it will even be different than before too.


Okay, so in regards to not having enough money, so my number two excuse is one I hear a lot. And it's true, right? You have a baby and there's so many more things you have to pay for, so what are your--how do you balance that out? Because it doesn't, like I said last last week, it doesn't have to be about the big, fancy things that you pay for, like the big spa days and stuff like that.


Like if you can't afford a gym membership right now, go out for a walk go out in nature, like that's so important. Go for a hike or something. Nature is really good for your mood too. Just an FYI there, in case you didn't know. So the movement and nature is really good, guys, so do that.


You know, instead of pinning all the little circuit trainings on Pinterest, maybe you start doing some of those or you do, like I mentioned before, like a yoga flow class off of YouTube and if you're saying, "Oh, but I don't workout good without friends or without people around", then call up your girlfriends, or call up some friends, or put a post on Facebook. Or if you're in some, you know, Facebook group and say like, "Hey, I'm gonna be doing this, if anyone wants to join me, meet up, guys." I'm sure there's a mom or two that's like, "Oh yeah, that'd be great, like I want to get out of the house and it'd be nice to meet up with somebody." So we all need that extra support ,so that's just kind of like a win-win there.


And then number three is in regards to not having someone to watch the baby, but like the baby is, you know, around crawling on you. Incorporate them into the stuff you do. Incorporate them into your workout. It feels like I'm talking a lot about working out today. Maybe that's on my mind, that's on my list of priorities right now. But like incorporate them into the stuff that you're doing, like if you're doing a yoga class or you're working out like and they're crawling on you, well just consider that extra toning.


I know there's even workout classes where they they do incorporate baby like baby yoga or baby--like Groovaroo classes and things like that, so incorporate them into the stuff that you're doing. Because again, they're watching you and they're modeling after you too - and they realize like oh mom--because typically these, I'm talking to you, mom--you know, this is self-care. This is how mom has to make sure she gets in this stuff to take care of herself, right.


Or like I mentioned last week, like if you're washing your face, like do it while the baby is taking a bath. Or you're brushing their teeth, and then you brush your teeth. And they watch you do those things. All those self-care tasks are really important for you, but also for your baby to see that you are doing those things to take care of yourself.


And a friend of mine recently sent me an Instagram post, she shared it with me, and in the post, the woman was talking about how like it doesn't have to be this big thing. Like I think often times we're like oh we need to work out and this is this big thing. I'm gonna start working on Monday. I'm gonna start eating right on Monday. I'm gonna start, you know, getting more sleep. And we think we have to do all these things and then we end up staying up too late on Sunday with our partner watching a movie, and then we don't get up in time to work out, and then we're too tired, so we just drink the coffee and we don't eat something so then by lunch we're starving and then it's all goes downhill. And then we're like, okay well we'll start again next week.


It doesn't have to be a big thing. It's like one thing at a time, like eat breakfast, you know. Do something for yourself that you would do maybe for someone else, like your child. Like if you're making them breakfast, make yourself breakfast. Don't drink the cold coffee out of the microwave.


Like eat the fresh berries that you're feeding them. I know, I know, moms, that we tend to do this, like we get all the fresh fruits and vegetables that we plan to puree for them and then we don't eat them ourselves. Like you can have some. I know there's plenty in there for you to eat some yourself. So before you puree them, set aside some for you too. You can have the good stuff too, guys.


All right and then number four being too tired. Guys, sleep. Rest. Whatever you have to do, surrender to it. Sleep is always a priority.


Even if you're like, I can't sleep, lay down and rest because the dishes and the laundry and all the other chores are gonna wait for you. Believe me, those things there when you wake up.


Unless you can get that support system in place to help you do the chores as well and get some of that stuff done to take it off your plate, so that you can get the extra rest you need because right now you need it, especially when your baby is like under a year, under 18 months or whatever and they are not sleeping good through the night or they're having those sleep regressions or whatever.


Get the sleep that you need. Get the rest that you need. Everything else will be there waiting for you. The time will come where you can do more working out. The time will come where you can make the fancier meals or whatever.


Get the support you need, so that you can get the extra rest you need because it's always, always important, guys. Sleep. Rest, if you need to. Don't feel guilty about it. And if you're--if you start to feel guilty, you just listen to this again and I will tell you "do not feel guilty."  Rest and get the sleep that you need. So important.


And then number five and saying yes to yourself because you're busy taking care of everybody else. And you guys, this is such a doozy of a one because I know I struggle with this still. Like this is probably one of the things that really holds me back from doing the things that I want to do or need to do.


And I think it's really about learning how to cut back in different ways in your life and seeing what's important. And I think this goes back to the video I did the other week about like you know, we can't give if we are so depleted. And it's about the quality of time that we spend, not the quantity. So if you're so depleted and you're exhausted and you're not rested and--you can't keep giving. So reprioritize. See what you need to--see what you can do for yourselves.


And like I was a saying too about like if you're making breakfast for your kids and make breakfast for yourself. If, you know--do the things that you need to do to take care of yourself, so that you can continue to take care of your kids and be there for your partner and stuff like that. So if you need extra help from them, like ask for it.


So those are my five excuses that I hear a lot that I give myself a lot too.


And one of the things I just kind of wanted to add here at the end that I'll hear from from moms typically--occasionally I'll have a dad that shares something similar--is they'll get up in the morning and they're getting the kids ready or you know feeding the baby or whatever and their husband or their partner is up, and he's shaved, and he's washed his face, and he's worked out and he's done all those things.


And they're like, "How did he get to do all those things and I can't even like get out the door and, you know, brush my teeth before I leave?" or whatever. You guys, because you're doing those things. Right. Like he doesn't have to ask you because you just kind of start doing that. So this is where having good conversations and both of you talking about what you need and how to get these things done.


So I think sometimes they kind of assume like well it's taken care of and you're not saying like, "No, it's not taken care of, like I need self-care time. I need to, you know, I want to work out. Like I would love it if we could alternate days on who works out or who gets up with the babies, so one of us can sleep in and doing those things. So having those conversations and putting it on your calendar.


I know I talked a few weeks back too about how to use your Google Calendar to get make sure you're getting self-care, making sure you're getting time for you're--making sure you're getting time for each other, and then plus all the other tasks that we have to do. So get those down, write those down.


Talk about it and if you're struggling to talk about it, like get some help. And you know, these are issues that I talk about all the time in my workshops because they're typical things that people struggle with.


So have those conversations. Get the support that you need. And if you're still struggling with excuses, I would love to hear what they are and so maybe we can rebuke--because I learned that's how you say it--rebuke what those excuses are.


So yeah, so tell me what excuse that you've been telling yourself and how you can stop doing that and I would love to hear it. So thanks, you guys. I hope you have a great day and I will see you next time. Bye.



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