Monday, 15 September 2014

It's ALL about Self-Esteem

Bear with me - as the title suggests, the point of this post is to emphasise the importance of good self-esteem.  But first I am going to tell you about a little family break we just took to Legoland. 

Now, I probably should not be posting about this, because above all else I am a responsible parent and I never do anything to give the opposite impression. Ever since my eldest was taken from me as a baby, the last time I was sectioned (and the last time I ever will be!) I have been slightly paranoid about anyone ever accusing me of being a bad parent and removing my kids.  It's not going to happen - the girls are at secondary school now, model students and brilliant all-round people.  The boys are strong, healthy and happy.  Everyone can see I am a good Mummy (and Paul is a brilliant Daddy of course).  No-one is going to take our children away!

Anyhow, for many years, we have taken the children out of school for occasional, short, term-time holidays.  We always asked for permission, and it was always given.  Head teachers had discretion to grant families up to two weeks holiday in school time.  Our kids had good attendance records, always caught up with the work they missed, and if we hadn't taken holidays in term time we would not have been able to afford them at all.  (Although we never put the cost as a factor when asking the schools for holidays, it has always been understood that for most families this is the overriding issue).

Our fortunes have improved a little in recent years (partly due to my writing, I am proud to say) and also since the girls have been at secondary school they have not wanted to miss school, so we have not taken term-time holidays in the last couple of years.  And now the law has changed, and we have been told that head teachers can no longer give permission for term time holidays.

Anyway, a long time ago Paul and I promised the boys a trip to Legoland and a night at the Legoland hotel.  When I checked the prices I baulked - but the little one kept reminding me of my promise. he may be only six, but he's not silly.  So eventually I took the plunge and booked it for Thursday and Friday of last week, although the cost was prohibitive - several hundred pounds for one night in the hotel and two days in the park.  I booked a term time break, because otherwise the cost would have literally doubled, which would have put the excursion completely out of our reach.

We didn't take the girls.  They don't like to miss school, as I said, and they are a bit old for Legoland anyhow.  They didn't mind not coming along - it was their idea.  We took them to school on Thursday morning, and arranged for them to stay with friends that evening and go to school with them the next day.  On Friday evening they had dinner with friends and went to choir practice - we picked them up from there. 

At first I thought I would fib to the schools and say the boys were poorly for a couple of days.  I knew I would not get permission to take them out of school, so what was the point of asking, I reasoned?  But then I thought again - I don't want to set a bad example to the children (to teach them to lie).  And I didn't want them to have to worry about letting something slip to their friends.  So I did ask the schools for permission - and they said no, as expected, even though I said it was an educational excursion (which it was in a way, the younger one is currently studying Lego as a topic at his Infant School!)

It was a great trip, although I was worried about the girls, who both managed to develop colds in the day before we left.  They were fine though, of course; we were in constant contact by phone and text and they had a nice time with their friends. 

The point that I am trying to make here is that self-esteem is so important in this life.  How we think of ourselves is central to how we feel about life - and to how other people feel about us.  The concept of  a strong 'sense of self' might seem airy-fairy and something to be scoffed at by those who have never had mental health problems - but those who have suffered in this way will understand exactly how important it is.  In those who have had serious mental breakdowns, especially those who have ended up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, re-building a sense of self (or perhaps even building one from scratch) is crucial to achieving a full recovery.

The reason I have told the Legoland story here is that it illustrates the need I so often feel to justify myself and my actions.  Paul doesn't worry about this sort of thing like I do.  He makes a decision and sticks to it according to what he feels is right, and he doesn't think about anyone else's actions or reactions when he is making that decision.  I, on the other hand, waste a good deal of time and effort in worrying about what other people think of me. 

I know am a good parent - so why do I always feel the need to prove it?  I know it's because of how I grew up, because I had so little support or security.  I am still looking for love and approval from the people around me.  But that's ridiculous.  All that was wrong in my life is history - it is donkey's years ago now.  I am forty-five years old!  It is time I held my head up high, stopped worrying about what people think of me, and just got on with my life. 

So that's the plan. 

Oh, and by the way - my ebook is on sale at the moment through Amazon UK, for just 99p.  You can click on the link at the top of this page to buy a copy - pass the word on to anyone you think might be interested.   I can only do a promotion like this once every few months - I will do one in the USA soon too, probably next week. 


  1. Hope your book comes out soon as i want to use it in my recovery

  2. Wow, that's quite a responsibility! Thank you. The book should be out very soon - I am aiming for publication on or before the 10th October. I really hope it does help you in your recovery. Please let me know how you get on. All the best, Louise.