If you've been critical of her in the past and this has affected her self esteem it will take a lot of time for her to feel safe and believe that you are not going to be that way again. I don't know if she has further problems that will stop her from improving as your relationship improves but trying to be there for her and make it clear to her what you admire and love about her and being gentle when expressing negative feelings about things should help some in time.

Being at home with young children is hard though, its hard to keep your self esteem when nobody gives you recognition for how hard you work and you get no respect generally from our society that values paid work above all else.

Me: 32
H: 35
Married 9 years, together 12.
Two little girls, 7 and 3.