Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Foster Parent Musings

Some days I'm so thankful that God called me to be a foster parent. On these days I feel like I'm on top of the world. On these days I laugh and play with the kids, we sing songs together, we go to their appointments with a smile on our faces. When I'm in these "good parent" moods, I can treasure all the cute things the kids say to me, and I know just by looking at them that I'm doing my best for them, and that they are thriving.

But the good days are getting farther and farther apart. It's not that I am sorry I became a foster parent; but the day in/day out life of mothering six children can get overwhelming! Sometimes I feel like I have too many kids.

When I get in these moods, my "bad parent" ones, I feel like a complete and utter failure. I question why God gave me the responsibility of parenting this many children. I have to wonder what kind of sense of humor he has. On the bad days I want to run screaming to my bedroom and lock myself in. Of course, I'd still see the fingers poking through the crack in the door, and hear the doorknob jingling, and the little fists pounding on the door. Even in the bad moments, I know I'm supposed to be doing this.

But when they are bad, the tattling, the constant need for attention and the fighting with each other take the joy out of my singing. When they eat dog food, and mulch, and eye glasses pieces I don't really feel like passing around the candy bag for a treat. When I hear from the school teachers that my child is saying she can't go on a the school field trip because we "can't afford to pay for the admission price (3.50) AND buy Christmas" I just want to crawl under a rock. (On a side note, I NEVER said she couldn't go because of money issues - we had the money). Well all of that wears me down.

Then there are the comments from "kind hearted" people; you members. We have the grandma who hears me take a firm voice with my foster daughter telling her to get in the car (this was the FOURTH time I told her to get in the car, and she wasn't minding...) and turns to my mother after I leave to ask "does she even LIKE that little girl?" And then proceeds to tell her that all my daughter needs is a little extra loving and lots of hugs and kisses. And that if I'm not able to give her that, to send her to her and She will do it. *grr* To start off, I DO give lots of hugs and kisses. I DO like/love this little girl.

We also have the aunt who sees us only at major holidays when there are over 40 people (18 of those being children under the age of 12) in a small house; and informs us that we are too hard on our children. That we needed to lighten up and let them be kids. Well I'm sorry, but I can not allow my four year old foster son (who eats EVERYTHING) to go upstairs to play unless I go with him. He thinks it's a great game to roll down the stairs and eat Barbie Doll shoes. Oh and did I mention that he likes to do those two things at the same time? Now how would I explain to my caseworker how this child got a shoe lodged into his throat and broke his neck all at the same time? I would lose my license (not to mention my own children) for sure!

Then we have the well-meaning friends. These are the people that I call when I've had a very frustrating day. Knowing I don't want to take it out on the children or my husband, but also knowing I have to get it out of my system; I call these friends for a stress breaker. It does NOT help to hear that "We just don't know what these kids have been through. And you don't know what they have seen. And they are just little, you need to realize that and just love on them." I KNOW all these things. I DO understand that they have been through a lot. I DO understand they are the way they are because of their parents and environment. But that still doesn't help me deal with them on these bad days!! I have this group of children since March!! I think I know a little more about what they went through, and they've had 10 months to get used to our rules and parenting styles.

Wow... can you tell I'm sort of in a Bad Parenting mood today? I just re-read what I typed in and I can hear the negativity in my message. Does this mean I'm going to take it out on my kids today? Nope it doesn't. It just means that I'm going to have to work harder at showing them my good side. That I'm going to have to pray more frequently and remind myself that they only need my good side until 11:30 when they get on their school bus; and that after I drop my son off at Kindergarden and put my two year old down for her nap - THEN I can take that two hour bath and read a good book and recharge myself for the afternoon stretch. We'll get through this day like we do every other day. One minute at a time. And hopefully, at the end of the day, the kids and I can all look back on what we've done and see the positives have out-weighed the negatives.


At 9:23 AM, Blogger MJ said...

Does it help to know that i struggle too? And i dont even have the foster kid aspect to deal with. I know God put these particular kids in your life , knowing you had the skills and wisdom to parent them. Doesnt make the bad days any easier, only chocolate does that!

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Anna said...

*grin* Thanks MJ! And yes, you should see my chocolate supply! I just read Kendra's blog though and felt God stepping on my toes a little bit. Telling me to look at the postivie and not at the negative.. Gonna try that for today and see if the day gets better.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Well, you know you can always call me, and most likely I am gonna tell you to lock them in the closet, or beat them... LOL... knowing I am joking, but it makes you feel better just the thought huh!! That's what friends are for anyway to vent too!! :)


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