Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Foster/Adoptive Mom’s Survival Guide: Self Care

*I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on TV.  I have just been there, doing that and this is what has helped me.  Run it through your own filter.  Use what you want, ignore what you don’t.

**Self Care is important for anyone dealing with trauma, etc.  If you are battling anything (loss of a child, chronic depression, etc.)  this may be helpful.

The one thing that I have learned that has helped me survive the trauma involved in dealing with traumatized littles is this: Put your own mask on first.   Whatever your role in life, women tend to be very good at one thing: caring for others and very bad at another: caring for themselves.  We burn the candle at both ends and then find ourselves depressed and feeling defeated.  Taking care of yourself is not selfish.   It is necessary.

Here is what self care looks like for me:

  1. Learning to articulate my needs…and to stop feeling guilty for having them.  I am a recovering traumatized kiddo myself (more on that later on the blog, all I will say now is God is amazing!) and children learn quickly when needs are not being met: do not complain.   They do not learn that there is a difference between expressing a need and being a brat so they stuff.   Those big feelings do not go away they just scream louder in different ways.   I can not teach my children to define safe boundaries or express their pain properly if I do not learn myself.  God created us with a need for community.   We are not whole without other people.   In a practical way it means I stop hoping everyone will read my mind.  I say what I need.  I ask for a hug, whatever I need in that moment without apology and without regret.  I give myself permission to need someone else.  I am not a rock, I am not an island.  I am a woman loved by God and desperately in need of all that He has to offer.  Perhaps you had a lovely childhood but there was a message sent (maybe unintentionally) that you better just “suck it up Sally”.   Stop.  Don’t suck it up anymore, lean on the people God has placed in your life.  Sometimes we lean, sometimes we hold up…it’s the cycle of life.  Be in balance and practice both.
  2. Embracing who I am in Christ.   This looks different for everyone.  For me it began with simply accepting that I am really pretty much the bee knees in His eyes.  My circumstance does not define me, He does.  I will not beat myself up at the end of the day anymore than I would beat up one of my kids.  Nope, I am not perfect but He never asked me to be.  He asked me to be there and just show up and I am rocking that pretty good.   Yep, the kids scream like banshees some most days and I used to take that on.  I was stressed and shaken, I blamed myself and convinced myself that if I was a better mom these littles would have been able to stop the daily trauma drama.  Now I tell myself the truth: God called me here.  Right now at this moment to do this thing.   I don’t know what will happen in 5 minutes, I might blow it, but that’s His business.  And it doesn’t really matter… He will love me anyway
  3. Escaping the chaos.   My peanuts like chaos.  It is what they understand.   Survival skills work best in chaos. I step away from it.  It looks different at different times.  Right now little #1 seems to be triggering left and right and he quite literally can not leave my side.   I still take time to escape.   Today I turned on the video monitor (oh how I love my video monitor), put him down for a nap and I took my hoop outside and blared the music.   I hoop danced my heart out.  I listen to music that heals me and empowers me and I move to it.  I look like the village idiot but my groove is back and I am ready to give again.
  4. Bringing the silliness back.   Healing is serious stuff but we can still laugh our way through it.  Have fun again, it’s okay.   If you were brave enough to do anything what would you do?  Do it!   It doesn’t have to be silly but if you feel silly doing it, do it anyway.   You only have this moment, don’t waste it.   Tonight I will be at a belly dancing class if anyone wants to join me….


  1. Thank you for the important work you do in being a blessing to children. I love your light-hearted attitude while allowing God to do the healing.

  2. I love these reminders. You are so right. We always wear the mask of strength, often forgetting about our needs. We all need to escape the chaos now and then. Visiting from Ultimate Mom link up.

  3. This is a bautiful post full of reminders that Mamas need to take care of themselves. Thank you for linking up - this is a blessing to me.


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