Let me start by saying that I am in no way a parenting expert. My children are now 31 and 28, and as every working mom can attest, it hasn’t been easy having a career and a family. However, I now have the gift of perspective that I hope to be able to share with you.

While we all want to raise healthy and happy children, many of us also have the goal to raise children who are not only confident but also independent – equipped with the skills and mindset to navigate what life throws at them.  Whether by choice or necessity, the children of working moms often don’t have the luxury of having things done for them like they would if we were stay-at-home moms, and I, for one, think that’s actually not a bad thing.

While it’s our job to love and nurture our children, I also believe part of our job is teaching them how not to be dependent on us forever and vice versa.

Honestly, I believe the importance of instilling confidence and independence in our kids cannot be overstated. As working moms, we understand that our absence during certain parts of the day doesn’t diminish our role in shaping our children’s character. 

In fact, it requires a more intentional and focused approach to parenting. We don’t have the luxury of 16 waking hours a day to spend with our children.

When my kids were younger, I, of course, wanted them to have fun being children, but they also needed to learn responsibilities.  As a working mom, if I wanted to have quality time with them, I needed them to learn how to be independent as much as possible.

The funny thing is that although my own mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in high school, she said I was always incredibly independent.  I might have already shared this on the podcast, but when I was around 5 years old and going to kindergarten, I told her she didn’t need to wake up to make me breakfast and that I could take care of it myself.

That independent streak has been with me my entire life, so passing it on to my children just seemed like the natural thing to do. I also believe that raising them to be independent naturally increased their self-confidence.

They were able to do and manage things that many of their friends couldn’t.  They’re now living on their own, thriving in successful careers, and managing their lives with very little help.

So whether you were naturally independent and confident as a child or not, I want to explore the idea of raising confident and independent kids.  Hopefully, I’ll encourage you to implement intentional parenting so that you can shape a future where your children thrive in both your presence and absence.

This week I’m going to discuss nurturing independence while being present, building confidence through positive reinforcement, and building a supportive environment.


Nurturing independence while being present


As a busy working mom, I think it’s important to understand how to maintain a balance between making quality time for our family and encouraging independence and decision-making in our children.

As we juggle work meetings, deadlines, and household responsibilities, it can leave us wondering how to carve out meaningful moments with our children. The key lies in intentionality.

My suggestion is to start by creating dedicated pockets of time for your children. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – even a few minutes of undivided attention can make a significant impact. 

Whether it’s engaging in a quick conversation during breakfast or while driving back and forth to school, sharing a bedtime story, or taking a short walk together, these moments add up.

Another thing to consider is incorporating your children into your routine whenever possible. Involving them in simple tasks, like preparing dinner or setting the table, not only creates quality time but also instills a sense of collaboration. 

I think my daughter, Kelly, was around 10 when she told my mother that I was horrible at doing laundry, so she wanted grandma to teach her to do it instead.  We laugh about it to this day, but it started my children doing their laundry on their own when they were around 10 or 11 years old.

My son, Brendan, showed interest in cooking, so I had him help me make dinner as much as possible.  In addition to their regular chores, like cleaning their room and helping to clean the house, I let them gravitate towards certain things and then instilled independence in them.

The other thing to consider is to encourage self-expression and decision-making skills in your children at an early age.  As working moms, our days are filled with making decisions for ourselves and everyone else.   

However, supporting independence in our children requires us to step back and allow them to make choices of their own. Encouraging self-expression and decision-making is a crucial component of raising confident and independent kids.

I suggest you create an environment where your children feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, opinions, and feelings, even when it might not be what you want to hear.  You can do this by actively listening and validating their perspectives. 

Believe me, I know its difficult competing for their attention when they’re on their phones or other devices, but we need to make the effort.  And let’s be honest – we also need to put our phones and devices down as well.

My kids are older but because of the environment I created when they were younger, when they call and say, “Do you have a minute?” I stop everything and give them my undivided attention. 

When you take the time to create an environment where you children feel comfortable sharing with you, this not only strengthens your bond but also empowers them to express themselves with confidence.  For example, you could have a fun family meeting once a month, and let your children discuss anything that’s bothering them.

If your children are anything like mine, the discussion will typically be about having to do chores, but once they understand that everyone is sharing the responsibility, they’ll be less likely to be resistant.

When it comes to decision-making, I suggest you involve your children in age-appropriate choices. From selecting their clothes to deciding on weekend activities, giving them a say in decisions cultivates a sense of autonomy. 

When Kelly first started school, she used to battle me every morning getting dressed.  I finally decided that letting her pick out her outfit, whether she looked a little crazy or not, made her feel more confident and independent.

Her first-grade teacher once said to me, “I love how you let her make her own decisions with what she wears to school, even if they wouldn’t be yours.  You can tell how proud she is when it’s something that she picked out on her own.”

What it comes down to is striking a balance between guidance and independence.  By providing a space where your children feel empowered to express themselves and make choices that contribute to their personal growth, you are setting them up for success later on in life, more than you might realize.


Building confidence through positive reinforcement


As women, we know all too well that confidence isn’t always easy to come by.  It’s not a trait that we’re naturally born with; it’s often a struggle that we deal with throughout our lives.  

But as working moms, we are the initial architects of our children’s confidence. That’s why I believe it’s important to consider some of the elements of positive reinforcement and how this can help build your children’s confidence.  

The first suggestion is specific recognition.  Generic praise may not resonate as deeply as specific acknowledgment. By pinpointing your child’s exact achievements, it gives you the opportunity to show that you’re paying attention and that their efforts are noticed and valued.

For example, saying something like, “I’m impressed with how you tackled that challenging math problem. Your problem-solving skills are amazing” can help boost your child’s confidence more than a generic statement like “Good job on your homework.”

The second suggestion is to celebrate effort.  Focusing on effort rather than just outcomes helps build a growth mindset and reinforces the idea that hard work and dedication are worth celebrating, no matter what the end result is.

For example, you could say something like, “You worked really hard on your science project, and it shows. I’m proud of your dedication and the progress you made.”  Regardless of the grade they get on the project, acknowledging their effort helps build confidence to tackle the next project.

The third suggestion is to make an achievement board. This means having a place where you can visibly display accomplishments. It’s a way for your family to see what they’ve achieved and feel good about it.

For example, have a bulletin board in the kitchen where you can display their achievements—academic certificates, artwork, or even personal goals they’ve achieved.

The fourth suggestion is to encourage goal setting.  Setting and achieving goals builds confidence, teaches them to break down tasks into manageable steps, and helps them experience the satisfaction of reaching milestones.

For example, help them set realistic goals by saying something like, “Let’s set a goal to finish two chapters of your book this week. We can celebrate together when you achieve it.”  I was always setting mini-goals with Brendan when he was younger and then letting him pick something at the dollar store as a reward.

That was all about confidence; now, the next area you may want to work on is helping to create a positive self-image.  As our children are exposed to so much negativity and comparison via social media, it’s important that we balance that out by helping them create a positive self-image to insulate them.

The first suggestion is to focus on their inner qualities. This means talking about the good things about their personality, not just how they look. It helps them see themselves in a positive way based on who they are, not just how they look.

For example, you might say, “I’m proud of you for helping your friend today. It’s great to see your kindness, and I really value how caring you are.”

The second suggestion is to encourage self-reflection or thinking about themselves. When they think about what they’re good at, it helps them understand themselves better. This makes them feel good about who they are.

For example, you can ask questions like, “What did you do today that made you proud?” and share something you’re proud of about yourself too.

The third suggestion is to model positive self-talk or show them how to talk nicely to themselves. When they hear you saying good things about yourself, it teaches them to do the same.

For example, you can say, “I feel good about how I handled a tough situation at work today. It shows me I’m capable of handling difficult things.”

The fourth suggestion is to have them involved in activities that boost confidence and make them feel good about themselves.  When Brendan was little, he was diagnosed with ADHD, and one of his doctors told me that my job was to set him up for success in whatever he did, helping to boost his overall confidence. 

For example, I encouraged him to do things he enjoyed and was good at. Whether it was karate, softball, or video games, succeeding in these activities made him feel good about himself.

Hopefully, you now have some strategies to help your child grow up feeling good about themselves. By using positive reinforcement, you can build their confidence and help them develop a strong sense of self.


Building a supportive environment


Another aspect of raising confident and independent kids is to build a supportive environment, and that starts with communication.  Effective communication is the cornerstone of any strong relationship, and as working moms, making sure there are open lines of communication with our children is incredibly important. 

But communication goes beyond exchanging words; it’s about creating a space where thoughts, feelings, and concerns can be shared without judgment. This nonjudgmental space not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also equips children with the skills to express themselves confidently.

For effective communication, I first suggest active listening.  This is where you give your full attention when your child speaks, showing that their words matter.

For example, if your child comes to you and says, “I had a tough day at school,” instead of multitasking or half-listening, stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, and give them your full attention. You might say, “I’m here, and I’m listening. Tell me all about it.” This shows them that you value what they have to say and that their feelings are important to you.

Second, I suggest creating an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and emotions. Many of us were punished for sharing our thoughts and feelings, but we need to do things differently to raise confident and independent kids.

For example, let’s say your child comes to you and says, “I feel really anxious about the upcoming test.” Instead of dismissing their feelings, create a safe space for them to express themselves. You might respond with, “Thank you for sharing that with me. It’s okay to feel anxious sometimes. Let’s talk about what we can do to help you feel more prepared and confident.” 

This approach encourages open communication and shows them that it’s okay to express their emotions without fear of punishment or judgment.

Even though Brendan is now 28 years old, he will call me from time to time to talk about some negative feelings he’s having.  We have incredible conversations where he feels heard, understood, and supported, and vice versa.

As I said earlier, our dog, Shamrock, just passed away, and he was able to provide a safe space for me to share my feelings, but he also helped me to deal with them as well.  It was really amazing to have the tables turned and have him support me.

My third suggestion is to acknowledge your children’s feelings, even if you may not fully understand them. When feelings are acknowledged it builds trust and openness.

For example, if your child comes home from school upset and says, “I’m really frustrated because my friend didn’t want to play with me today,” instead of brushing off their feelings or trying to fix the situation right away, try to acknowledge their emotions by saying, “I hear that you’re feeling frustrated because your friend didn’t want to play with you. That must have been disappointing.” 

This shows your child that you understand and validate their feelings, even if you don’t fully grasp the situation, which helps build trust and openness in your relationship.

The truth is that building a supportive environment for our kids is important, but building one for ourselves is just as important.

As working moms, it’s also essential to surround ourselves with a network that understands the unique challenges we face. Whether it’s family, friends, or fellow working moms, having a support system provides a safety net, offering advice, encouragement, and shared experiences.

To build your support system, my first suggestion is to seek out local or online communities of working moms, like the CPA MOMS private Facebook Community, for shared experiences and advice.

The next suggestion is to explore workplace resources or networks for working parents to create a supportive professional environment.  There are many networking opportunities for accountant moms, some of which meet virtually.

No matter what suggestions you take or don’t take, make sure you acknowledge the amazing mother you already are, who is raising confident and independent kids.  You are helping build future generations.  




While we all want to raise healthy and happy children, many of us also have the goal to raise children who are not only confident but also independent – equipped with the skills and mindset to navigate the complexities of life.

By providing a space where your children feel empowered to express themselves and make choices that contribute to their personal growth, you are setting them up for success later on in life, more than you might realize.