I’ve mentioned a time or two, when we first started fostering I was overwhelmed. Now that I have also given birth, I know that those feelings are very similar to what one feels the first time they bring a new baby home. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Maybe even the slightest wish that you could have your old easy life back (at least for long enough to take a nap).
The only difference is that when you bring a new baby home that you have given birth to, people expect you to feel that way. They offer to cook you dinner. They invite your other kids over for a play date. They offer you so. much. help. When you bring a new child home through adoption or foster care, some people offer to help, but the overall sentiment seems to be that foster and adoptive moms should be back to normal life pretty quickly (especially if the child they brought home is older – because you know, if a child is potty trained that automatically means they are easy).
When our kids first came to live with us, I craved time for myself, but felt torn because I also knew how badly they needed me at home. Since I was already working full time during the day, I didn’t want to add anything to the schedule that would take me away for more time in the evenings. The usual self care suggestions of going out with friends for a girls night, taking a class, and joining a gym weren’t options since they all meant I wouldn’t be home in the evening (and let’s be honest, joining the gym wouldn’t have been my ideal choice anyway).
One of the areas I really struggled with when my kids came home, was the morning routine. For some reason getting everyone dressed, fed, and out the door in a timely manner proved to be really difficult during the settling in period. Especially when I tried to incorporate tooth brushing.
One morning while running late with the kids, we stopped by Dunkin Donuts on the walk to daycare/work. Food has always been the way to my heart, and that little doughnut, as doughnuts often do, brightened my morning.
The next day, I decided to go back. Alone. I dropped the kids at daycare, made a quick coffee and doughnut stop, then continued on my way to work. Those 10 minutes alone were heaven. That little itty bit of time to myself made the whole day more manageable.
I started going to Dunkin Doughnuts nearly every morning. I’m not even ashamed to admit that. It gave me something to look forward to each morning as I struggled to force a toothbrush into my toddler’s mouth. A co-worker joked that I could probably fund a vacation with all the money I spent on coffee and doughnuts. But I didn’t care. I didn’t want to go on some big elaborate vacation. I wanted to go to Dunkin Doughnuts and have mini vacations every single morning.
Eventually I weaned myself off the daily dose of Dunkin. But to this day, I still stop there every once in awhile when I’ve had a rough morning (or night) and just need a little self care. If I find myself yelling “For the 10th time, put down the light saber and put on your pants!” I know it’s going to be a doughnut day. When the going gets tough, the tough get doughnuts. That’s a proverb I’ve learned to live by.
Sometimes the outside pressure to have life back to normal immediately after an adoption or foster care placement make it hard to remember how important self care is. But everyone needs to take time to themselves, even if it’s just a few minutes.
Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!
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