Self Esteem

wasted on the young

Mine’s not what it was.

There’s the lack of a secure, well paid, management position with people looking to me for guidance and, well, management.

There’s the sagging and dribbling that comes with middle age.

And there are the children.
Aren’t they supposed to bring joy into our lives? Well, they do, sometimes.
But they also bring worry, fear, paranoia, anger (plenty of anger) and a need for rock-solid self-esteem in the face of constant criticism.

On the way home from school the other day (this seems to be the time and place of many a revelation) I was explaining that Daddy was at work so Ben would have to accompany me to ballet with Hannah to sit in a small changing room for half an hour, and he replied,

“I don’t know why they still want him at work. He’s got a hole in his head and he’s old.”

This is a reference to his bald patch (which he dismisses as a pixellation problem when it’s clearly visible in photographs) and his advancing years.

Then later, when chatting to The Lodger, I mentioned needing my glasses to read some tiny speck of writing on the back of a postage stamp, and he burst forth with an uncharacteristic sense of drama,

“And even when she ges her glasses they don’t work. She needs to be sitting under a spotlight to be able to read anything.”

What with this kind of comment being bandied about, and the constant references to the size of my stomach, it’s a wonder I have the confidence to get out of bed in the mornings.

And here we are being reminded that it’s important to build children’s self esteem, when from what I can see, mine have plenty of the stuff and it’s me who needs a bit of a boost.

Where are the manuals for that?

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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8 Responses to Self Esteem

  1. Omega Mummy says:

    Could I put all my worries down to pixillation problems? It’s the best all-purpose excuse I’ve come across so far.

  2. mid-lifer says:

    I hear ya!

    I think there should be the equivalent of childline for mentally and physically abused parents. My ego (let alone my body) has taken a mammoth battering over the years through comments from my kids. But I used to be just the same to my mum. I remember thinking that she was rubbish at everything, had no taste and didn’t know anything. The hard thing is realising that your own kids think of you the same way you thought of your mum, that actually they aren’t proud of you – but embarrassed.

    I’ve just had this point knocked into my head over the weekend (see my blog!) – it’s tough.

  3. Mopsa says:

    Ooh – I think you should write that manual – it would work for all kinds of overconfident/normal people combos, not just Mother and son.

  4. Alasdair says:

    Hi Beta, I think we’ve all been there, and whilst my kids aren’t as old as yours yet my four-year old just gave me a bruising day. Think I’ll be having an early night to recover …

    There actually is a parenting equivilent of ChildLine it’s called ParentLine it’s here: http://www.parentlineplus.org.uk/index.php?id=15

  5. Beta Mum says:

    OM – you could try, but Mike doesn’t have much luck at it.

    mid-lifer – welcome and enjoyed dropping by your blog. I thought my Mum was cool when I was a teenager, but learned otherwise when I went away to college!

    Mopsa – another great idea from the ether.

    Alasdair – 4-year olds can be exhausting. I think I’ll set up a “tell it like it is” version of Parentline, perhaps called Parent-Mainline?

  6. I think a certain amount of self-esteem comes from work and in many cases in the world of work, it can be crushed too.

    How old do you have to be before you can have a mid-life crisis?

  7. I love the phrase about ‘pixellation problems’. And agree with Omega Mum about it being an all-purpose excuse.

  8. Beta Mum says:

    M&M – 30?

    MatL – don’t encourage him. He already claims to be 27 at every birthday.

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