My family is a beautiful and complicated unit consisting of neurodiverse individuals.
My husband and son both have ADHD. Their big personalities and needs take a lot of energy and focus from, not just me, but my two other neurotypical children, too.
And whilst I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am acutely aware of the mental and emotional strain felt by each of us every so often.
Watch: Be A Good Mum. Post continues below.
So, every few months when I can see one of my children is struggling, I give them a mental health day where I keep them off school and we spend time together reconnecting without the needs of anyone else getting in the way.
We take that opportunity to chat, to decompress and to fill my child's emotional cup.
On this latest mental health day it was my neurotypical middle child who needed that break.
We needed some groceries too and so popped into the local shops. While in line at the checkout, a lady started chatting to us and asked if my daughter was off school due to being unwell. Without thinking, I told her that in fact no, that she was off school for a mental health day.
As soon as the words left my mouth, the lady’s face dropped, and she responded with, “Are you serious?”
She then told me she worked with children in a school counselling capacity and that I was setting a bad example by letting my daughter stay off school for her mental health; that I was teaching her to give up and 'be weak when faced with hardship'.