Busy Parent? 6 Ways to Maintain Healthy Self-Esteem

Mighty Mommy shares 6 ways you can stay motivated and maintain a healthy self-esteem even during your busiest years of being a parent.


Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #454

illustration of mother with good self esteem

When we become parents we automatically change gears from focusing on our own desires and needs and instead immerse ourselves in the task of concentrating on whatever it takes to care for our family.

As our children grow and reach new milestones, it’s so easy to tie our identity and our value to their successes and failures. Our parental pride wells to magnificent proportions when they achieve a new skill such as learning to tie their own shoes or reach a lofty goal such as graduating cum laude from college. And yet, when challenges such as learning difficulties or not being accepted by  peers arise, we hunker down in the emotional trenches of parenting and feel every bit of their pain.

In doing this, our self-esteem can take a toll, because our focus is no longer on ourselves but on our family and household first. And while that’s certainly normal and admirable that's really not good for us or for our children because one of the best gifts we can give to our kids is to be role models of a healthy individual who exudes confidence and has a strong and positive self-image.

Today I’m sharing six ways you can stay motivated and maintain a healthy self-esteem even during your busiest years of being a parent.

How to Maintain Self-Esteem as a Busy Parent

  1. Tip #1: Stay Groomed
  2. Tip #2: Nix the Negative Self-Talk
  3. Tip #3: Smile!
  4. Tip #4: Don’t Compete With Others
  5. Tip #5: Identify Your Gifts
  6. Tip #6: Stay Organized

We’ll take a closer look at each.

Tip #1. Stay Groomed

We adopted our first child as a newborn so while I was excitedly facing all kinds of amazing new emotions becoming a first-time mom after such a long struggle with infertility, my body didn’t physically experience the journey of a nine-month pregnancy. That said, though I was tired from those 2 AM feedings, I still had lots more energy than most new moms because my body wasn’t recovering from childbirth.

This allowed me to keep up with most of my regular beauty routines: blow drying my hair every morning, putting on make-up, dressing in my favorite outfits, staying on top of my mani/pedis...I even ironed most mornings! Even though I had a beautiful newborn, I presented like I was heading off to my job as the office manager of a dental practice when in fact, I was staying at home with our baby. 12 months later, I delivered a healthy baby boy and now had two kids under the age of 15 months. The blow dryer and I didn’t see one another for months and my go-to outfit was a pair of my husband’s sweatpants and any stained, over-sized t-shirt I could find. This didn’t bode well for my self-esteem one bit, so I began to force myself to do my hair and make-up (lipstick counts!) every morning and wore clothes that were mine, not my husbands. I immediately felt so much better about myself. An instant boost in your self-esteem is staying groomed, and it’s definitely something you can control on most days.

Tip #2: Nix the Negative Self-Talk

Did you ever stop and take notice of the inner dialogue you have with yourself? As a writer and a woman who tends to overcommit herself, I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with myself on a daily basis. These talks vary from what recipe I’m going to try for dinner to how I’m feeling about the new guy in the deli who slices my meat just the right way.

Of course, there’s also conversations about what the heck was I thinking about getting my hair cut with bangs when I have such a round face or why would I steal candy from my son’s Halloween haul. (C’mon, you know you can relate!) This dialogue is better known as negative self-talk and is never in your best interest.

Much of our thinking is so automatic and happening so rapidly that we barely notice it before we move on to the next thought, but when that little voice in our minds starts cranking out damaging and destructive self-criticism we have to get a handle on it and nip it in the bud.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.