Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs

Wayback machine time! This was one of my very first posts here at The Happiest Mom, dating back to June 2009 (which is right around when the above photo was taken). It’s still one of the most read, so I thought it could stand to see the light of day again.

If you’ve ever taken a psychology class, you’ve probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Created by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s, the pyramid illustrates human needs in order of importance: first the basic human needs required for survival, followed by those necessary for self-actualization, happiness and fulfillment.

Ideally, a person’s needs are filled from the bottom up, with “peak experiences” resting comfortably atop a strong foundation of health, safety, and a sense of belonging. After all, creativity and achievement are great, but they’ll be hard to enjoy if you don’t get enough sleep or you’re constantly in danger of losing your home.

Moms are no different than other humans. We need to eat, sleep and breathe; we crave security, we desire support and companionship, and we have richer lives when we are able to follow creative pursuits or use our skills and talents.

But mothers face specific circumstances and challenges, so here’s my interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy especially for moms: the Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs.


I think Maslow was right on, don’t you? It’s hard to enjoy your kids if you aren’t eating well or getting enough sleep. It’s hard to be confident in your parenting if you aren’t getting enough support from friends and/or family. It’s difficult to find the time or resources to follow a hobby if you aren’t financially stable.

Sure, from time to time some of these needs aren’t going to be met and you can still be happy, but spending an extended period of time without sleep, or stressed about money, or lonely and isolated? That makes it pretty hard to be satisfied with your life.

In looking over Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs, do any levels jump out as areas you need to strengthen to create a strong foundation for happiness?

**Like the Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs? Feel free to cut/paste the graphic and put it on your own site–I just ask that you give credit and embed a link back to The Happiest Mom. Thanks!**

About The Author


  1. Momartfully
  2. Chris
  3. happiestmom
  4. H.E.Eigler
  5. Annie @ PhD in Parenting
  6. Mara
  7. cindyfey
  8. cindyfey
  9. ParentopiaDevra
  10. Thomasin
  11. Margie
  12. Rachel Horsley
  13. Randi
  14. Jennifer Fink
  15. Magen
  16. Shannon
  17. Carrie
    • Shannon
      • Meagan Francis
        • Shannon
  18. SleeplessinSummerville
  19. Born27
  20. Heidi19
  21. masticating juicer pulp recipes