4 articles Tag self-esteem

Working On My Self-Esteem

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Something that I’ve always struggled with is self-esteem. I don’t come from a particularly “build you up” kind of family (when I got my first pair of glasses, aged 11, my family decided to tell me I looked like Dennis Waterman and called me that for many years, knowing how much I hated it). One of my worst character traits is my ability to be self-deprecating, and as much as I find it hilarious to make mean jokes about myself, my kids are starting to notice and it’s probably not the best thing for them to hear.

Just last week, Husband said to me “you look nice”, and I replied “don’t be ridiculous!”. I should have just said “thanks love”, but I didn’t and as much as he didn’t say anything I could tell he was disappointed with my reaction. I know I need to work on my self esteem, but the sad fact is, I don’t know where to start.

I’ve heard a lot of women say that a good place to start when trying to make yourself feel good is with your underwear, so I was thinking of investing in a whole new load of undies, like this. I’m not much of a ‘frilly knickers’ kinda girl, so something simple yet pretty would be perfect for me.

Another thing I know I need to do is get back to the gym; when I started weightlifting last year, I felt like I’d finally found an exercise that I loved…and I was good at it, too. But a few things happened to knock me off the rails and I managed to completely give up on what I was doing, watching all the gains I’d made slip away. It was a a double blow because my self-esteem was already struggling and having to admit I’d failed at something AND watch all my hard work go down the drain had a bad effect on my mental state.

We had some friends over last night for the football and they asked me if I was still exercising, and while I was telling them (or more accurately, reeling off the list of excuses that I’ve cultivated about why I quit), I realised that I missed exercising and taking control of myself. I missed being productive and showing my girls that we should look after ourselves. And most of all, I missed that daily sense of achievement I got when I got my butt to the gym, ate within my macros and lifted a little bit more weight than last time.

So, for the sake of my girls, I’m going to try to get back to it.

I’m re-taking control.

Boyfriends and Girlfriends

first-girlfriendSausage is now in year one of primary school and she’s settled back into things brilliantly. She’s responding really well to the more structured aspect of year one, compared with the ever-so-slight ‘free for all’ feel that reception class had and she seems to get on well with 99% of the kids in her class, as well as having some close friends that she spends time with. She only turned 5 a month before starting back at school and some of her friends are already 6, as she’s the second youngest in the whole class.

One thing that I wasn’t quite ready for was talk of boyfriends.

A few of the kids in her class have kind of paired off  and refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend – their relationships are well-know throughout the class and everyone knows who is ‘in a relationship’ with who. Let me just stop here and say that this FREAKS ME THE HECK OUT. I am soooo not ready for the prospect of boyfriends and if I’m honest I thought I’d have about another 10 years before it became a serious consideration.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Sausage informs me that she doesn’t have a boyfriend, nor is she interested in having one, although she did tell that there’s a boy in her class who she likes. Her reason? Because he’s brave and has a deep voice! I’m sure there’s something evolutionary anthropological about that…!

At 5 and 6, I realise that a heck of a lot of learning is done through the type of role-playing games that kids of that age engage in and its really important to their emotional and social development, but the thought of pairing off at such a young age opens a WHOLE can of worms. It’s not long before many girls start to measure their worth by how boys view them and that’s not something that I want for Sausage EVER, let alone when she’s not even old enough to tie her own shoelaces.

I remember how much the pressure of other people’s pairings can put on a kid. When I was younger (although still a lot older than Sausage), I wasn’t the sort of girl who turned boys’ heads (save for having them stare at my ridiculously over-developed chest) and I remember looking at other girls of my age who had boyfriends and wonder what was wrong with me that meant I didn’t have one. Yes, this is hopefully all something that’s very distant in our family’s future, but the speed at which the past five years has gone means that it’s actually not that long until we have to start worrying about things like this, and current pairings are making that even more apparent.

I guess all I can hope is that we imbue Sausage with enough confidence and self-worth that she won’t have to measure herself by someone else’s yardstick, though I do worry that it doesn’t matter how much we do to forearm her, the pressure of life and teen-dom will mean that these problems befall her just as much as anyone else.

So, I guess what I’m asking is this – I can put her in a box and not let her out until she’s 25, right?! That wouldn’t be cruel and torturous, would it? I’d just be protecting her from the world…!

No?

Damn it.

“Mummy, I don’t like looking in the mirror.”

Husband, Sausage and I popped into town today for a bit of a browse. We were having a mooch round TK Maxx and they’d walked off ahead of me but as I caught up, I saw Sausage do something that I found really disconcerting. As she noticed herself in the mirror, I saw her frown deeply and then turn away with a look of disgust on her face.

I mentioned to Husband what I’d seen and we both proceeded to question her on why she’d frowned like that, however she clammed up and started to get upset. My mind was racing with a combination of scathing indictments of modern society and the pressure placed on girls in terms of appearance, positive affirmations that I could give Sausage which both reassured her but stopped short of piling too much importance on aesthetic and blackout-inducing rage at the thought that someone may be responsible for damaging her confidence.

Husband was still trying to extract an explanation from her when she looked him straight in the eye and said:

“I don’t like my reflection Daddy, because it always copies me”.

MISSING: One Sense of Self-Worth

It’s a funny thing, self-worth. Despite the fact that the point of self-worth is ‘what you think of yourself’, it can be intrinsically linked to what others think of you. I think anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that it’s not been the best year for me. I don’t mean to be all ‘boo-hoo’, I know people out there who’ve had it a lot worse than me, but I’m really struggling to remember what the point of me is.

I know it’s depression and hormones and goodness-knows what else talking, but I feel like I’m treading water with a big weight tied to my foot, trying to drag me down. I can’t remember any ways in which I’m of any use to anyone anymore.

Yesterday was particularly black for me. I spent a  lot of it crying, sometimes because of how I feel, sometimes because of stupid things like Mo Farah’s wife being pregnant with twins. No, I don’t know why that made me cry either. I spent all day thinking about the fact that Husband and Sausage would be better off without me. I tend to just mess things up, like forgetting to pay bills and stupid things that should be second nature to me by now. I’m 28, for fuck’s sake, I’ve been married for 6 years and a mother for four of them. I look at my life and I can’t think of a single thing that I’m needed for. Everything could function just as well without me, probably to a much better degree of efficiency. It’s not like I even have a job where I’m able to contribute any decent amount to the family coffers.

I don’t feel like a very good mother. And what makes it worse is that it’s self-perpetuating, I feel like a shit mum, I get depressed, the depression turns me into a self-loathing waste of space and I behave like a shit mum. How do I ever win?

I’ve suffered with depression and low self-esteem for a long time, but I don’t think it’s ever been this bad.

I don’t really know what to do.

I don’t want to take pills.

No, that’s not true, I do want to take pills, I want to swallow a little magic tablet once a day and feel numb to it all, but I won’t. That’s not a judgement of others, it’s more to do with the fact that I’ve tried them once before and they made me feel worse and if I’m honest, I’m quite scared of them. My Nan has taken Prozac for about 15 years and she’s probably the most miserable person I’ve ever met.

Husband’s answer was exercise. He said that releasing endorphins will make me feel better and have the added bonus of making my disgusting carcass (MY words, not his) get a bit less fat, which will have a knock-on effect with improving my self-esteem. He’s completely right, but for some reason that I’ve not even worked out for myself yet, this made me want to murder him. Or at least hit him quite hard.

I have to try something. I feel like my soul has been put into a sack and beaten repeatedly with a bat.