5 Big Health Mistakes Moms Make Every Day

5 Big Health Mistakes Moms Make Every Day

Moms make big health mistakes when putting their kids first and their own wellbeing last.


By: Laurie Sue Brockway

When Melissa Blackmon was caring for her sick baby daughter and trying to manage care of her two young sons, she didn’t think twice about her own health. Her baby needed not one, but two liver transplants. Between doctors, hospitals, and trying to save her daughter’s life, Blackmon barely ate, slept, or had a moment to breathe. Now that her little one is out of the woods, she’s realizes she needs some serious self-care.

“I have been to the doctor several times over the past few months,” she says. “I had sinus infections, an eye allergy, and tendonitis in my shoulder from carrying my daughter everywhere. My doctor said stress makes you sicker -- ailments lasted longer, are harder to heal, and caused my exhaustion.”

While Blackmon endured extraordinary circumstances, it’s no secret that every mom puts kids and family first, sometimes to the detriment of their own health.

“Moms neglect themselves in so many ways,” says psychologist Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D., M.S., P.T., author of the forthcoming book, Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “Our society tells women ‘you should be able to do it all- and on your own.’ This is a completely unrealistic expectation, which sets moms up for stress, disappointment, guilt, and shame.”

Experts and mothers agree that these are some of the most common everyday health mistakes for moms:

Not eating right. If your dinner last night was your kid’s leftovers, you are not alone. Many moms subsist on what kids don’t finish. Other moms forget to eat at all. “One of my big mistakes is preparing well-balanced meals with whole foods for my child and then grabbing a pop tart before bed for my dinner,” admits mom of one, Meghann Wojczak.

Poor sleeping habits. Sleep deprivation is classic, but lack of shut-eye is not the only issue. Sleeping with kids on, or around you, can cause physical problems. New mom Carrie Pitzulo says her infant has gotten used to a comfy mommy mattress. “She wants to sleep on me all night and it’s killing my back to keep her sleeping and comfortable.”

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Way too much caffeine. Turbo charging your morning with caffeine -- and sipping it all day to keep going-- is common but can make you jumpy and interfere with sleep.

Ignoring medical and personal needs. When children have needs, mom’s doctor appointments and medical tests often get put off. Even haircuts are low priority and what mother hasn’t had to forego a shower in favor of bathing and feeding her kids?

Letting stress pile on. Clearly, being a mom means it is super hard to get a moment for you, but everyone needs a chance to relax and get a break from stress. Guilt is one of the strongest emotions in mothering,” says Ramani Durvasula, PhD, Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. “So we do more, more, more. We believe that if we don't do it all, we are letting our kids down, so we let ourselves down instead.”

Blackmon still has Max 9, Jack 7, and Sofie, 2, to care for, but she has been working on nurturing herself, too. “I took up a weekly yoga class, started a new hobby, and now do some things for me. I always want to be a perfect mom. I am trying to drop the guilt and just enjoy the moment.”

Moms have to practice self-care, if even for the sake of their kids, says Lombardi. “In order to be the best mom, you need to be the best you. Not getting the sleep, nutrition, exercise, fun, or needed quiet time will make you more irritable, less energetic, more stressed, and less healthy -- all of which can have a negative impact on your children.”

What are your everyday health mistakes?



Laurie Sue Brockway is a journalist and author who has written extensively on love, marriage, parenting, wellbeing, and emotional health. Her work has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications, including Everyday Health and The Huffington Post.

Image ©iStock.com/markos86

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