If you know me or have been in this space with me long enough, you probably know that I hate the phrase “no excuses”.
I hate it so much that I have banned it from my Facebook groups. It’s literally rule #6. And as a coach, I am CONSTANTLY working to un-do the damage that this societal attitude has caused the women I work with.
If you are someone who finds the phrase “No excuses” inspiring, I don’t blame you – I understand what it can mean to some people, and I apologize for jolting you with my distaste for the phrase. Let me explain:
“No excuses” implies that I’m making excuses to someone else for my behavior – that I owe the world an explanation for the state of MY body. It invokes shame and guilt. It is condescending in nature: I found a way to be fit, and therefore you have no excuses not to be as good as me. It erases all autonomy and individuality, assuming that all of our lives and bodies are exactly the same and that just because someone appears similar to me on the outside that we’re living the same circumstances.
Whether or not that is the speaker’s actual intention is irrelevant: this is how it feels.
But there is no time that this attitude is more damaging than during pregnancy and in the first two years postpartum (really…all of motherhood). Most of us are overwhelmed with guilt, responsibilities, and leveled by the changes to our body and our lives.
We actually have tons of f-ing excuses. You really have plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t be pushing your body into the ground.
The first is sleep – or lack thereof. Exercise is actually a two part process: pushing and resting. The rest part is just as important as the pushing part. Without it, you’re just tearing your body down with no chance to recover. If you aren’t sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time at night, then intense exercise might be doing more harm than good.
The second is that you don’t owe the world a reason why your body hasn’t bounced back. Your body is yours and you are the only one who lives in it. You know what you can mentally and physically handle. Things are going to get easier as your baby grows, and you’ll be able to tackle more and more – IF YOU WANT TO. But no one is watching and judging you, and if they are, that is THEIR issue not yours.
This is the time to practice radical self-care. I liked to ask myself the questions, will this workout make me feel better or worse? If the answer was worse, I went for a walk or took a nap instead.
You don’t need the drill sergeant mentality right now, you need self-compassion and self-care. You need to learn to listen to your body and your intuition, and make decisions from a place of love. You need the same loving decision-making that you provide your children.
If this self-care mindset is unfamiliar to you, or you need help with your self-care game in general, then it’s not too late to join us in the #SummerSelfCare Challenge!