Murphy’s Love: Make Self-Care a Habit, Mom

Dear Stacy:
I am exhausted. I feel this way all the time. It’s not a medical condition, I’ve been checked out. It’s because I do too much, too often, all the time. My calendar is out of control. A couple times a year I will splurge on a spa weekend. A few times a month I get a night away from the kids. But the good feelings never seem to last and I always wind up feeling exhausted very soon after. I just don’t know how other moms do it, and I find myself thinking about how they do it a lot, which is also exhausting. I know this makes my marriage harder than it needs to be, but I also don’t feel like he’s very supportive when I need time off.
– Mother of the Year

Dear Mother:
I hear you trying very hard to take care of yourself. You’re just doing it wrong.

You know you need time for yourself. In fact, a few times a year, you get an uninterrupted break for yourself. But you wonder why the results don’t last.

Let’s take that same view and apply it to something else: a diet. Imagine a person who wants to lose weight choosing one or two weekends a year to eat healthy, then expecting to feel energized every other day. That doesn’t work for dieting – oh, but if it did! – and it doesn’t work for self-care.

You have to make self-care into a habit, a lifestyle change. It has to be part of every single day: two minutes of meditation, morning stretching, emailing a friend, taking a walk at lunch, listening to a podcast about the Real Housewives – the list of personal self-care options is limitless.

I understand that you may not feel supported by Husband, but imagine it from his point of view. You are harried and exhausted much of the year, and then leave him with the kids so you can get relief, only to return to him and snap back into tired mode. I wouldn’t support that, either.

Once again, this needs to be something the whole family both supports and enjoys. A mom who builds healthy self-care into her weekly routine models healthy self-care for her family. You have to put yourself on that calendar, too.

Stacy Notaras Murphy ( is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *