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Episode 11: Hierarchy of Needs for Mothers

Updated: 4 days ago

Autumn Looking at sun
Hierarchy of Needs

Welcome to the Wellness in Every Season of Motherhood podcast where we explore what it means to achieve total wellness. I am your host, Autumn Carter. This podcast is geared more towards mothers, but we try to be inclusive of all here as we learn together to get us out of survival mode and into thriving during life transitions.

This is Episode 11. Welcome Wellness Wanders! In this episode, we will explore how Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the 8 Dimensions of Wellness can help mothers better take care of themselves and their families throughout their motherhood journey.

As moms, we often put others before ourselves, but it is crucial to understand the foundation of well-being and personal development, not just for ourselves but for our families too, because we are the ultimate example. We'll start by explaining what hierarchy is and then dive into Maslow's groundbreaking theory, which highlights the progressive nature of our needs. By addressing

and fulfilling these foundational needs, we create a solid groundwork for higher levels of well-being and growth.

But what does this mean for moms? How can we ensure that we are all nurturing, all aspects of our lives, while also taking care of our families? That's where the eight dimensions of wellness we talked about in the last nine episodes come in. We'll explore how each dimension from physical and emotional wellness to social connections, intellectual stimulation, and spiritual fulfillment play a role in our journey towards self-actualization and living a truly fulfilling life as mothers. This is important. We are taking so much care of everybody else around us that sometimes it's really hard to take care of ourselves. This is what this is about, is taking the time to slow down and really connect with ourselves. And we will have a mindfulness minute later to help us with that.

We will also end with some questions to help you discover where you are currently at on your journey towards total wellness as a mom. So sit back, relax, and join us as we unravel the complexities of human motivation, well-being, and personal growth. Together, we'll explore practical applications of these theories in various domains, empowering you to thrive in all dimensions of wellness and embark on a transformative wellness journey like never before. This is my gift to you this Mother's Day.

So we are going to start with hierarchy. Imagine you have a list of things that are important to you. Let's say you can arrange those things in a special order from the most basic and important to the least important. This is an arrangement is called a hierarchy. Picture a pyramid or rungs on a ladder here.

Hierarchy of Needs
Rungs on a ladder

Pyramid of Needs

For example, think about the things you need to survive and be healthy. At the very bottom of the hierarchy, you have things like food and water in a safe place to live. These are the most important because without them, it would be hard for you to be healthy and happy and live, survive. Once you have those basic needs met, you move up on the hierarchy to the next level.

This might include things like feeling safe and having people who care about you, like your friends and family. It's important to feel safe and have love and support from others to help you thrive.

As you grow higher in the hierarchy, you reach levels that focus on personal growth and happiness. This could include things like having good self-esteem, feeling confident, less overwhelmed in day-to-day motherhood, and pursuing your dreams and goals.

So a hierarchy is like a ladder that shows the different levels of importance of things in your life. It helps us understand that certain things are more fundamental and need to be fulfilled before we can focus on other things on the rungs above us. It's like building a strong foundation before adding on other parts of a building. This is why it is important not to compare ourselves to others or even our past selves. This is our journey and where we are at today.

Building with Foundation

What is Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in the field of human motivation and well-being. It suggests that individuals have a series of hierarchical needs, so think of that ladder in that pyramid, that must be met in a

certain order with each level building upon the previous one. The hierarchy is often depicted as a pyramid, like I said, consisting of five main levels.

There's the philosophical needs. This is, this is the base of the pyramid and represents the most fundamental needs for human survival such as food, water, shelter, sleep, and other bodily necessities. Sleep. I want to focus on that one because we're moms and we need more sleep. I know I do. And I'm going to be focusing on that a lot more this week.

Okay, then we have safety needs. Once Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in the field of human motivation and well-being. It suggests that individuals have a series of hierarchical needs that must be met in a specific order, with each level building upon the previous one.

The hierarchy is often depicted as a pyramid, like I said before, consisting of five main levels. The psychological needs. This is the base of the pyramid and represents the most fundamental needs for human survival such as food, water, shelter, sleep. I want to emphasize that one because we're moms.

Once psychological needs are met, individuals seek safety and security in their lives. This includes physical safety, financial security, a stable environment, protection from harm, and the absence of fear.

Love and belonging, with psychological and safety needs fulfilled, individuals have a need for love, affection, and a sense of belonging. This level involves forming meaningful friendships, relationships, intimacy, and being part of a community or a social group.

And for some reason, when I was reading this, what really stood out to me is the teenage years. Do you remember how much we, as we were getting into middle school, we really needed to feel a sense of belonging? And I thought about this again as I had my first baby and was suddenly a stay-at-home mom and I needed to find other moms like me so that I didn't feel so alone in this new stage of life. New very scary stage of life.

Then we have esteem needs. That's having a sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and the desire for recognition and respect from others are at the focus of this level. And it makes me want to laugh because as moms the desire for recognition that often is not seen. It includes the need for advancement, mastery, reputation, and the feeling of being valued. This is so important and so needed and so lacking when we have little kids. Probably with teenagers too. I'll let you know when I get there.

Then there's self-actualization. Is the pinnacle of the hierarchy representing the highest level of personal growth and fulfillment. This is our goal here. Self-actualization involves reaching one's full potential, pursuing personal goals, finding purpose and meaning in life and experiencing personal fulfillment. And this is where I'm trying to get everyone to as the life coach. Here's where you want to go. Let me find you your own personal roadmap. This is this is it.

Meeting Goals
Runner Crossing Finish Line

According to Maslow, individuals typically progress through these levels in a sequential order. The lower level needs must be relatively satisfied before higher level needs become salient. However, it is important to note that this theory is not rigid and individuals may move back and forth between different levels depending on their circumstances and life experiences.

Maslow later expanded his theory and included a sixth level called "self-transcendence" which goes beyond self-actualization involves transcending one's own self-interest to serve others and connect with something greater than oneself. This is an area we as moms usually develop as we raise little ones, build our village and reach out to help others.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has a significant impact on various fields including psychology, education, business, and personal development. I'm here for the personal development. This is what this is about. It provides a framework for understanding human motivation.


Welcome to our mindful moment segment. Today, we will explore a guided breathing and mindfulness practice that relates to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs—a theory that describes the different levels of human needs and our journey towards self-actualization. As we embark on this practice, we will focus on nurturing our most fundamental needs and cultivating a sense of inner balance and well-being. Find a comfortable position, gently close your eyes, and let's begin.

1. Grounding and Centering:

Start by taking a few deep breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose, and exhaling fully through your mouth. With each breath, allow yourself to arrive fully in this present moment, letting go of any distractions or thoughts that may be occupying your mind. Feel the support of the surface beneath you and the stability it provides. Recognize that you are safe and secure in this space.

2. Breath Awareness:

Bring your attention to your breath. Notice the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen or the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils. Take a moment to appreciate the simple act of breathing—the lifeline that nourishes your body and mind. As you inhale, imagine that you are inhaling vital energy, filling yourself with a sense of vitality and strength. And as you exhale, release any tension or worries, letting go of anything that no longer serves you.

This is why I love Yoga.

3. Foundation of Physiological Needs:

Reflect on the first level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which encompasses our physiological needs—such as air, water, food, and rest. As you continue to breathe deeply, bring awareness to your body and its remarkable ability to sustain you. Express gratitude for your body and its ability to fulfill these essential needs, allowing you to thrive and flourish.

4. Cultivating Safety and Security:

Shift your attention to the second level of the hierarchy—our need for safety and security. With each breath, visualize a warm, comforting light surrounding you, creating a protective space that offers you a sense of safety and stability. Recognize that in this present moment, you have the power to create a sanctuary within yourself—a place of calm and serenity that you can return to whenever you need.

5. Nurturing Relationships and Belonging:

Now, let's explore the third level of the hierarchy—our need for love, connection, and belonging. As you continue to breathe mindfully, bring to mind the relationships and connections that bring you joy and a sense of belonging. Picture the faces of loved ones, friends, or a supportive community. Feel the warmth and love that emanates from these connections, knowing that you are an integral part of a larger tapestry of human connections.

It's really hard to feel lonely with that.

6. Enhancing Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization:

Finally, focus on the upper levels of the hierarchy—our need for self-esteem and self-actualization. With each breath, affirm your worthiness, acknowledging your unique strengths, talents, and aspirations. Recognize that you have the potential to grow, evolve, and reach your highest potential. Allow your breath to be a reminder that you have the power to shape your own path and create a life that aligns with your true purpose.

7. Closing and Integration:

As we conclude this practice, take a moment to express gratitude for the breath, the foundation of life and mindfulness. Take a deep breath in, embracing a renewed sense of energy and vitality, and exhale with a sense of peace and contentment. When you are ready, gently open your eyes, bringing the practice to a close.

Remember that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a framework that highlights our fundamental needs as humans. By nurturing these needs through mindful practices, we can cultivate a solid foundation for our well-being and personal growth


Now we are going to go into who is Maslow.

Abraham Maslow wanted to understand what makes people happy and successful. He was born in 1908, so, you know, yesterday, and he grew up in Brooklyn, New York. As a little boy, he loved reading and learning new things.

Hey, he was me, right?

When he got older, Maslow became a psychologist. (Okay, he wasn't me. And he's a guy.) Which means he studied how our minds work and why we do the things we do. He was really interested in what makes people feel good and how they can reach their full potential. My type of guy.

Maslow spent a lot of time talking to and studying different people. He realized that everyone has certain needs or things they have in order to be happy and successful. He called those needs the hierarchy of needs. Sounds something like what we've been talking about, right?

The hierarchy of needs is like a ladder with different steps. At the bottom, we have the basic needs that all people need to survive, like food, water and shelter. And it's the one that we always think of first, right? because we need to survive with them and this is something that is always mentioned.

Once we have those basic needs met, we can start thinking about feeling safe and secure. We want to know that we're in a safe place and that nothing bad will happen to us.

Maslow came up with this theory because he wanted to understand what makes people happy and successful. He believed that by understanding these needs and working on them, we can live a happier and more fulfilling life. Yes, please. So just like we climb a ladder one step at a time, we can climb the hierarchy of needs to reach our full potential and be the best we can be.

And his needs have been widely influential in psychology in other fields including education, management, and marketing. It has been used to explain human behavior, motivation, and personal growth and has been applied to the design of educational and workplace environments.


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What made him come up with the idea of the five basic needs and the order of the needs?

Abraham Maslow came up with the idea of the hierarchy of needs by studying people on their behaviors. He wanted to understand what motivates individuals to be their best selves and reach their full potential. Maslow looked at many different things to come up with his theory. He read books and studies by other psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Alder. He also did his own research and studied people from different cultures and time periods.

He noticed that people have different needs like the need for food, water, and sleep. We notice these needs when kiddos are sick and we are ignoring our needs while taking care of theirs or when we have newborns and our needs go on the back burner, sometimes longer than we'd like to admit.

These are our basic needs and they are the most important. When we have these needs met, we can focus on other things like being safe and having a place to live. And for me, It makes me focus on the love for my family and not feeling homicidal when I get enough sleep.

After our basic needs are met, we have the need to feel loved and like we belong. This means having family, friends, and people who care about us. We also want to feel good about ourselves and be respected by others. This is called our need for esteem.

Finally, Maslow talked about something called self-actualization. This is when we become the best version of ourselves and reach our goals and dreams. It's like when you work really hard to become a great soccer player, well, or watch your kid do that, or a fantastic artist, or when you work really hard to learn how to cook as a mom when you start out married and you have no idea how to cook, or how to prepare a shopping list.

Maslow believed that these needs have a specific order. We have to take care of our basic needs first, like eating and sleeping. Once these needs are met, we can focus on safety, love, and belonging, and esteem, and finally, self-actualization.

But not everyone agrees with Maslow's theory. Some people think that the order of the needs might be different for different people or cultures. It's important to remember that everyone is unique and has different needs and motivations. And if you need further proof, look at your children. They're all different. Even though they come from the same parents. Even though there are different opinions about Maslow's theory, it still helps us understand why people do the things they do and what makes them happy. It's like a map that helps us understand ourselves and others better, even if the map needs some updating.


Now it's time for another new segment called Ask Me Anything. And this is a question that I had on Instagram and it's what made me want to be a coach?

I naturally enjoy watching others succeed, it gives me a happiness that I like to spread to others. We live in a world where we have the choice to enjoy watching others fall; or we can cheer, encourage and lead others by example to a path of growth. I grew up around people who enjoy pointing out the flaws in others and it always felt dirty to me. Becoming a life coach is me being the truest version of myself.

When I see others heal, I feel myself heal from past trauma. When I told others I decided to become a life coach, instead of shock or disbelief, I was met with that fits you. I guess I landed on something others saw me growing into long before I did. I took a class called the helping relationship as part of my applied health degree two years ago and I could not get enough of it. I found related books, reached out to a life coach friend, and discussed how I was feeling with a classmate from the same class. They helped me navigate what I was feeling, and gave me a soft place to land. We treasure people like that forever, and that is what I want to be for others. The soft place. Coaching allows me to perfect my natural talent of seeing needs in others, and help fill them out in the wild as I am given inspiration to reach out. As we all know from personal experience, not everyone is ready for help when we want to give it. And not everyone is ready for the type of help we have available in our toolbox.

Making this my career allows me to expand the tools in my toolbox, so I can reach more people. I am not sure if you follow other coaches, but we give out a lot of free content, because we care so much.I know I am saying this while also tailoring my whole practice to moms, that is because we are one of the most neglected population. We serve, serve, serve, serve and often do not leave time and space for us. Then when we are alone with ourselves, we don’t recognize who we are. We only do when we are needed. We are a whole dynamic person who has needs, desires, and talents that need exploration just as our spouse and kids do.

Coaching is my way of bettering the world and being an example to my family, friends and as many people as I can reach. We don't have to go this road alone. In fact, I am working on a free class to help moms who are feeling overwhelmed and will be piloting that program in a few short weeks. The title of the program is: How to create space, balance, and total wellness in your life when kids are demanding all your attention. It is a month-long program with a private Facebook group and a workbook. I am excited to use the program to get myself back on track and to help my community of mommas feel satisfaction in their lives.


Alright, going back to talking about Maslow, I want to start to relate this to the eight dimensions of wellness. So here's the question, how do the eight dimensions of wellness relate to the hierarchy of needs?

Right? You might be wondering that, how did I go through last nine episodes talking about the eight dimensions? Now what? This doesn't quite make sense together, right?

Okay, well the eight dimensions of wellness and Maslow's hierarchy of needs are both ways to understand how to be healthy and happy. They look at different aspects of our lives and how they contribute to our well-being. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs focuses on the order in which we need certain things to be happy. It starts with our basic needs, like food, water, and sleep. We're going to know this at the end of this, right? It's food, water, and sleep.

Once we have those needs met, we can focus on feeling safe, loved, and respected. Finally, we can work towards reaching our full potential and becoming the best versions of ourselves and then reaching out to other people. The Eight Dimensions of wellness look at different areas of our lives that contribute to our overall well-being. They include physical wellness, emotional wellness, social wellness, intellectual wellness, occupational wellness, environmental wellness, spiritual wellness, and financial wellness.

For example, physical wellness means taking care of our bodies by eating healthy, food, exercising, and getting enough rest. This relates to the basic needs in Maslow's Hierarchy because our bodies need to be healthy and strong before we can focus on other things.

Emotional wellness is about understanding and managing our emotions and having positive relationships. This connects to Maslow's need for love and belonging because we need to feel loved and connected to others to be happy.

Social wellness is about building and maintaining healthy relationships and feeling like we belong to a group. This also relates to the need for love and belonging in Maslow's hierarchy.

Intellectual wellness is about learning new things and challenging ourselves. It can also be seen as a way to reach our full potential just like self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy.

Occupational wellness is about finding fulfillment satisfaction in our work. It aligns with Maslow's need to first esteem and self-actualization because having a job we enjoy and feel proud can make us feel good about ourselves and help us reach our goals. That is why I did the Dream Job Mom program.

Environmental wellness is about taking care of our surroundings and creating a safe and harmonious living space. Doesn't that just sound peaceful? This connects the need for safety in Maslow's theory because we need to feel safe and comfortable in our environment.

Spiritual wellness is about finding meaning and purpose in life. It can be seen as a way to reach self-actualization just like in Maslow's hierarchy.

Financial Wellness is about managing our money wisely and feeling secure. This also relates to the need for safety in Maslow's theory because of having financial

stability helps keep us safe and secure. And it is one of the #1 reasons why couples fight. No wonder why, right?

So the 8 Dimensions of Wellness and Maslow's hierarchy of needs both help us understand what we need to be healthy and happy. They look at different areas of our lives and how they contribute to our overall well-being. By taking care of all these dimensions, we can create a solid foundation for reaching our full potential and living a fulfilling life. Doesn't that sound amazing?


I have another new segment. It's called Life Hacks.

About two years ago, I had an amazing idea after overhearing two moms sharing scheduling hacks with each other. Their conversations sparked my interest and I was inspired to implement their strategies in my own life as soon as I came home. And I made sure to text them as I was writing this part of the podcast because just thank you to them, right?

After spending an hour setting everything up, I eagerly explained our new system to my spouse. I emphasized how important it was to me and expressed my desire for us to be on board together while giving him a threatening look.

He loves me, I promise, and I have to remind him that he loves me too. You love me. I'm a pain in the butt, but you love me.

While I occasionally need to make adjustments because tech does not automatically do it the way I want, or remind him to fix his events, the effort is definitely worth it in our family. One of the moms mentioned the power of assigning a color to each family member in her online calendar.

This simple trick has been a game changer for our family of six, especially with our numerous extracurricular activities. We use seven different colors, reserving the seventh one for activities that involve all of us. When multiple family members are attending an event, we choose the color of the parent that's taking the kids or the oldest child.

To take it a step further, I write the names of the person or people attending, followed by a dash and what the event is. I also include the address, even if it is a destination I go frequently in case I'm not the one taking the child, or I need to quickly plan the drive from a different location. It makes a huge difference.

Or if traffic is backed up, yes, East Coast, lots of traffic.

Only one of our kids can read, we make it a point to go over the schedule with them several times a week. I also found it useful to enter the school spirit days in the calendar starting from the time they wake up in the morning.

This way as soon as they come to say good morning, I can inform them of the fun and silly things they need to wear or do with their hair for the day.

What life hack has been a game changer in your life? I would love to hear about it so that I can share it on a future episode. Remember to take what works for you, leave what doesn't, communicate any desire changes to your family,

because trust me you want to. And always stay curious. This will keep you from beating yourself up.


And now we are to the coaching questions. These questions can help you reflect on your current standing in Maslow's hierarchy of needs and identify areas for growth and development. And I encourage you to have open and honest exploration and give yourself the time and space to explore these thoughts and feelings without feeling judgment. Stay in the curious zone. If you're not beating yourself up, you will find that you will have so many more ideas. It is amazing. Stay curious.

1. Physical Needs: How would you rate your overall physical well-being? Are you satisfied with your level of energy, nutrition, and physical health? How do you prioritize your physical needs in your daily life?

2. Safety and Security: Do you feel secure and safe in your environment? How do you address any concerns or fears related to personal safety or financial stability? How do you create a sense of security in your life?

3. Social Connections: How would you describe the quality of your relationships and social support system? Do you feel connected to others and have a sense of belonging? How do you nurture and cultivate meaningful connections with others?

Today, we discussed Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the 8 dimensions of wellness, relating them to the challenges and joys of being a mom. We learned that taking care of our basic physiological needs, such as nourishment, rest, and safety, forms the foundation for our well-being. As moms, it's essential to remember that by addressing our own needs, we can better care for our families. Taking time for ourselves is not selfish—it's a vital part of being the best mom we can be.

Maslow's theory reminds us that our needs are ever-changing and evolving. As we meet our current needs, new needs emerge. It's important to recognize that it's okay to have shifting priorities and to reassess what we need at different stages of motherhood. We explored the 8 dimensions of wellness, which include our physical health, emotional well-being, social connections, intellectual growth, occupational satisfaction, environmental harmony, spiritual nourishment, and financial stability. Each of these dimensions contributes to our overall well-being and fulfillment as mothers.

Next week, we will continue our journey of personal growth by discussing the stages of change. We will explore how recognizing our current stage and knowing how to progress to the next stage can empower us on our path of self-discovery and growth as moms. Remember, dear moms, you are doing an incredible job. By prioritizing your well-being and embracing personal growth, you are not only taking care of yourself but also setting an inspiring example for your children. Together, let's unlock our potential, nurture our well-being in all dimensions, and thrive on this beautiful journey of motherhood.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thank you for joining our wellness discussion this week with Autumn Carter. If you liked what you heard, follow me on Instagram at Moms Wellness in Every Season to keep up with the latest wellness tips for moms. Please share the podcast love with others by sharing, subscribing, and leaving a review wherever you listen to podcasts. If you want a topic covered in more detail or a free coaching consultation, please dm me on Instagram or send an email through my website wellness in every season. com. I look forward to connecting with you. Please join the discussion next week.




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