Balancing Motherhood and a Full-Time Job: The Importance of Self-Care

June 3, 2024

Balancing the whirlwind of motherhood with a full-time job felt like threading a needle in a hurricane. With three kids and a husband who worked long restaurant hours, my days were a blur of responsibilities, leaving little room for self-care. By the time evening rolled around, I was completely exhausted and couldn’t fully engage with my family.

I soon realized that prioritizing my mental and physical health wasn't just a nice idea – it was essential. So, I started making time for exercise, even if it meant waking up a bit earlier or fitting in a quick workout during lunch. I chose purposeful exercises that energized me, like yoga for relaxation and strength training for stamina. I also began focusing on healthier eating, prepping simple, nutritious meals instead of grabbing fast food. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helped me feel more energized and ready to tackle the day. Having accountability in these efforts has been key as well, so honest conversations with my husband, kids and friends about the changes I needed to make were very humbling, but beneficial.

Connecting with friends was another crucial step. Whether it was a quick phone call during a break or a virtual chat after the kids were asleep, these moments of support made a huge difference. By taking care of myself through exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining friendships, I found that I had more energy and patience to be the mom and partner my family needed. It's a work in progress, but I'm learning that self-care helps me show up better for everyone I love personally and professionally.

The article, "How parents can prioritize their own mental health" by Meredith Bailey from Mary Bridge Children's hospital was a great read and reminder of why prioritizing mental health is vital and beneficial as we raise children in a busy, exciting and sometimes challenging world.

What is the importance of mental health for parents?

Maintaining good mental health as a parent/caregiver is essential for providing stability, guidance and support to children while navigating the challenges of parenthood. In the midst of the demands of parenthood/caregiving and the uncertainties of the world, prioritizing self-care is crucial for parental/caregiver mental health. By making time for self-care activities and daily reflection, parents can cultivate resilience, reduce stress, and provide a nurturing environment for themselves and their children.

What did the researchers do?

The research referred to in the article looked at the stress levels of working parents/caregivers as well as the trickle down effect between a parent/caregivers mental health and the physical and mental health of their children.


  1. A recent study by Ohio State researchers found that 66% of working parents/caregivers report feeling very burnt out.
  2. A study cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that children with parents/caregivers experiencing mental health issues were more prone to experiencing overall poor health, exposure to household violence, and various mental, emotional, or developmental challenges.
  3. According to Phintso Bhutia, MD, MPH, FAPA, medical director of the adolescent behavioral health unit at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. “Children look to their parents for guidance, security and self-esteem as they develop. Parents who are neglecting their own mental health are likely to have difficulty being the source of support their children need to flourish.”

What does this mean?

Prioritizing self-care is essential for parental/caregiver mental health and overall family well-being. By incorporating self-care activities and daily reflection into their routine, parents can cultivate resilience, reduce stress, and create a nurturing environment for themselves and their children. The article mentions some key strategies for nurturing parent/caregiver mental health:

Key Strategies for Mental Wellness

  • Take Time for Yourself: Prioritize daily self-care, even if it's just a brief walk or moment of quiet reflection.
  • Reflect Daily: Allocate time to check in with yourself, acknowledging both strengths and areas needing attention.
  • Seek Help When Needed: Recognize the signs of burnout and don't hesitate to seek support from professionals or loved ones.
  • Manage Commitments: Learn to set boundaries and say no when necessary to avoid overwhelming yourself.
  • Quality Family Time: Dedicate meaningful moments to connect with your family, fostering strong bonds and open communication.
  • Understand Teen Behavior: Recognize that teenage behaviors are often part of their developmental journey; maintain empathy and patience.
  • Communicate with Partner of Support System: Regularly engage in discussions with your partner  or support system to share burdens and strengthen your resilience.

TREC Takeaways:

  • Provide Consistent Support: Prioritizing self-care enables parents to offer stable support to their children, fostering a sense of security and comfort during challenging times.
  • Model Healthy Coping Strategies: Practicing self-care allows parents to model healthy coping strategies for their children, emphasizing the importance of mental wellness and self-care throughout life.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Creating a safe space for children to express their thoughts and feelings fosters resilience and helps them develop healthy coping mechanisms in times of stress or trauma.

Staci Roth

Dedicated Educator, Early Childhood Education Expert, Trauma Resilient Professional, and Director of TREC

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