“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.” ~ Iain Thomas
It’s been nearly 6 months since Kiddo walked into our world. Never could I imagine that such a little soul could change my whole life in such a short amount of time.
In all honestly “them” has been both a blessing and a pain in the you know what depending on the day, and from what other moms have told me this is pretty typical.
Add in past triggers such as trauma, abandonment, negligence, and abuse, and this might explain why Kiddo has been acting out in such dramatic ways.
Numerous times in the last few weeks I have been kicked, hit, and spit on whenever things do not go “them’s” way.
“Given all this little one has been through I am not at all surprised,” the child psychologist recently said. “Kiddo is finally feeling safe, so consider these behaviors a huge compliment.”
Hm. Okay. Maybe after I get past my surprise of how hard a little kid can hit, and then beyond my shame and guilt for having to hold “them” in a restraint for several minutes so we can both stay safe and until “them” is calm enough to receive love and reconnect.
Even though the fostering classes warned us that kiddos with special needs can be a challenge, until I actually experienced it, I had no idea how trying it could be.
Yes, the honeymoon is over so-to-speak, and now “the shit is getting real”: two to three doctors appointments per week; night terrors; temper tantrums; and lack of sleep – all are taking its toll.
“Have you considered giving “them” back to the state?” – This is a question that has come up more than once from some other moms who are close family and friends.
“Oh, Yea,” I honestly reply. “On more than one occasion.”
I then laugh to release my stress and say “but I just can’t. I committed to do this, and besides, Kiddo has been through much too much for me to walk away.”
The other person then usually replies, “You are such a gift to this child,” or “You sure are a good mom.” or “I don’t know if I could ever do it.”
Then at some point in the conversation someone asks, “How much help are you getting from others?’
I again laugh for release. “When you are a foster parent you are expected to stay home and watch the child, so other than some half days of daycare to shop or work with a client, not much at all.”
I then get asked, “Is your husband Steve around to help?”
“As much as he can muster,” I reply. “Right now he’s going through a training program for his job so Kiddo and I get to spend about 10-15 hours a week with him on average which isn’t as much as any of us would like.”
Recently a mom friend reminded me how important it is to have others who can relate. “Michelle,” she said, “if I were in your situation I would want someone to ask me if I have had time to grieve my old life and process all the new changes. So have you?”
No sooner than she finished, my eyes started welling up with tears.
I knew this was my clue to start asking for some help. And so I began with my mom friend who was kind enough to listen when I began to unload. She then opened her own backpack to share some of her personal fears, vulnerabilities, and experiences.
This really helped a lot. Not only because I appreciated the adult conversation but because it felt good knowing I wasn’t the only one who worries they’re messing their kids up or wonders if their parenting techniques are any good.
As the days went by I began asking for more help from other moms who then came forward with their own backpacks and experiences and vulnerabilities. Together we dumped, unloaded, and sorted things out.
Since then I have come to appreciate why it is said being a mom is the hardest yet most important job one can ever do.
Thank you Mom Club (Regina, Bonnie, Kellie, Gayle, Naomi, Lindy and many more) for helping me lighten my load.
(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)