When Josh was a baby, I started writing books for him throughout his childhood and continued doing the same when Alice, Katie and Annie all came along. Today, I spent some time reading back all that I’d written so long ago and I realised what a good mum I was. Considering I was only 17 when I had Josh, and considering how difficult the circumstances were with my mum and dad and then later with Danny and being a single parent, I did a really good job. I know there were times, when Josh was a bit older, that I will always regret. Times I lost my patience with him and times I just got it so wrong but on the whole, I was okay. I was better than okay actually. I feel really proud of how I raised him because I could have done a far worse job than I did. I could have left him with my parents to go out with friends or out at night, I never did. I could have neglected his needs for my own youthful needs but I never did. I gave him a home, all that he physically needed and all the love and emotional care that a child needs too. I don’t know why it’s taken me twenty-two years to realise this but I realise now that I’m immensely proud of myself for the way I’ve raised my children – with love, kindness, understanding, fun and laughter and because of it my children are happy, kind, polite and caring individuals and it’s from parenting my children, alone for most of the last twenty-two years, that I can feel my self-esteem starting to grow.
It takes a great deal for me to be able to feel proud of myself for anything, such is the fear that I’m too full of myself or that it would be construed as arrogance or big-headedness but I know I’m a really good mum and I know my children are all happy and feel unconditionally loved and it’s from this that I now feel the foundations of my self-esteem could begin to develop. It’s okay for me to recognise that I’m good at something despite all of the years of other people telling me that’s not acceptable or worse, that I’m not good at anything. They’re all wrong. I know that now.