Building Self-Esteem as a Primary Parent

Jay Palter offers some tips on how to build self-esteem as a primary parenting dad. 

Originally appeared at Homemade Dad

The foundation on which successful parenting and homemaking is based is your self-esteem as a parent. If you feel good about yourself and and your place in the world, you will be better able to support your family in their growth.

Yet, primary parenting—the role we used to (and still largely do) equate with being a mother—has never had the respect in society of being a lawyer, doctor, investment counsel, business owner, professor or any number of other career choices. In general, care-giving and homemaking is under-valued work, whether we are talking about nannies, daycare workers, or elementary teachers. These roles are generally filled by women, they are paid poorly and receive little respect.

So, how can we as men feel good about ourselves as caregivers and homemakers in the face of all this social disrespect?

I’m not going to lie—it’s not always easy. Some days, I feel great about having the best job in the world. (Great gig if you can get it, I say.) Other days, I feel like this is the only gig I could get.

When I get to feeling this low about it, I return to my first principles of parenting for my inspiration and sense of self-worth. Hopefully this helps you as it has helped me:

  1. Pay it forward – The care and love and attention you pay to your kids today will one day be reflected in their ability to love and nurture their own offspring and will contribute to making them healthy, productive people when they grow up.
  2. Be the best you can be – No matter what you do, be good at it. Learn to prepare the family’s favourite meals well, clean a bathroom thoroughly, and iron a shirt properly. Know your kids’ favourite playgrounds and playmates. Be the most patient and attentive parent you can be.
  3. Change the world for the better – Even at the level of our family and home life, what we do affects others and the greater world around us. By being the best primary parents we can and striving for respect in this role, we can change how our kids, their friends, their friends’ parents and our community sees our role.


Photo of ironing tool courtesy of Shutterstock

About Jay Palter

Jay Palter is a social media consultant and strategist specializing in developing personal brands online. An avid blogger and web content curator, he maintains several blogs (including, homemadedad.caand Newish in Edmonton). As an active father and "primary parent" to 3 kids, Jay is committed to expanding the domestic roles and responsibilities of dads—starting with his own role in his own family. You can find him on Twitter at @jaypalter, Google+ and Pinterest.


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