Can I just say that I cannot wait until school starts? I might do cartwheels to the bus stop. This month has emotionally exhausted me. We need routine, and we need it bad.
The last month has been filled with a lot of bickering. Admittedly my patience in the midst of loss has been absurdly short. I was already tender and ouchie. Add to that Hope’s anxiety about returning to a school she says she hated and all sorts of adolescent drama and you’ve got a powder keg house. We can go from 0 to 60 faster than a sports car. It’s not been pretty. We really should be calling the fire house regularly because we can burn this joint down.
I hate admitting it because it makes me feel like a bad parent and certainly not a therapeutic parent. I’m kinda filled with shame at how just downright furious I feel 80% of the time.
During this period, I’ve noticed Hope absorbing and reflecting lots of negative energy.
Her self-esteem is already low, so whenever there are moments of angst, conflict, correction or whatever she sucks all that up and spits it out either with venom at me or with self-loathing. There is never a moment of bright, airy light. It’s always so negative. And whether it’s venom directed at me or her own self-loathing it sucks for both of us. It’s. Just. Awful.
I do a lot of affirmations with her. I work hard to shine some light and positivity on her—“Hope you’re smart, you’re funny, you’re lovely, you can do this….” It’s almost always deflected.
There are moments when she swings to the other end of the continuum. It’s during these moments that she can’t take correction because she is absolutely, unequivocally correct in all things. The need to be the “right” one is so strong that her very identity is wrapped in that rightness. When presented with evidence to the contrary there’s just rage. She rages a lot. The world isn’t really as she knows it; it’s dynamic and what was right yesterday may not be right tomorrow. That upsets her greatly.
I don’t deal with that well. Oh, I get the underlying need to be right; I have issues with wanting/needing to be right. But my identity isn’t defined by it. I see how this negatively impacts her ability to learn; she’s right and you are wrong so you couldn’t possibly teach her anything.
I am really worried about how she will do school this year. During the last couple of weeks I’ve been giving her worksheets for her weaker subjects so that she can get some practice. I’m heartbroken to find how far behind she is on foundational concepts she should’ve learned in 3rd or 4th grade. She missed so much school over the years, moved around so much that she was never even exposed to the material, much less learned it. And yet those few academic compliments she’s received from caring teachers on her journey are clung to with vice grips.
Trying to help her wrestle with academic shortcomings is hard. At the end of the day, Dr. ABM is just another dumb parent who has no effing idea what she’s talking about, according to Hope. The ego check isn’t the thing for me; the fact that she shuts herself off for growth and learning is the thing. Being smart is her shining beacon in an otherwise dark, dank self-worth. Anything that she might interpret as questioning her all-knowingness is to be crushed.
I worry about school this year. And I’m not sure what to do.
And everything else is out of whack too. It’s hard being 13, man! It’s hard being the mom of a 13 year old, man! It’s just hard around these parts.
This week we’ve navigated revealing more abuse that wasn’t in any of the disclosure documents, dumb adolescent ish, shopping for a birthday card for her bio-grandmother when all the granny cards are all lovely dovey and well, it ain’t that kinda party around here. Schedule changes, foot dragging, temper tantrums (mine and hers) and just dark, icky messiness that has made the house feel so negative that once a day I have to step out on the balcony just to step into the light.
I feel like I’m shadow boxing some kind of fighter that is straight kicking my ass. I’m almost on the defensive as soon as I get up in the morning. I try not to raise my voice. I try to just be quiet sometimes to just avoid escalating things. How we practice civility during the day would be very upsetting to the Nobel Committee because there are no peace prizes in the making around these parts.
I feel like I’m suffocating from the negative energy. It’s just negative energy in negative space.
I’m ready for school to start next week.
This post has been added to the Adoption Social’s #WASO link up.
August 28th, 2014 at 12:04 am
The fact that you’re aware of and identifying all these issues sets you 100 miles ahead of most parents, right off the bat! It sounds like you’re doing all the right things…step outside, breathe fresh air, and count those minutes until school starts!
August 29th, 2014 at 10:42 am
Thanks. 4 days and counting. Recognizing it does help, I supposed, but it doesn’t feel like it. Looking forward to about 2 weeks from now.
August 28th, 2014 at 2:37 am
I could have written this myself, big girls anxiety about returning to school has been intense, he negativity is suffocating, she will also argue black is blue ‘because she’s always got to be right’.
I feel your pain, hugs ABM xx
August 29th, 2014 at 10:43 am
Ugh, I saw your post a few days ago. That “got to be right” thing is so serious, but it ends up being a deal breaker on some crucial pieces. I’m trying to let go of some of it and just let the universe correct her. smh
August 29th, 2014 at 10:08 am
I totally feel you dawg. Totally.
August 29th, 2014 at 10:44 am
You’ve been on my mind and I’ve been wondering how you’ve been faring. Hang in there. You can do it.
August 30th, 2014 at 4:34 pm
We are struggling here too, with all the same things. We’ve been back in school a week and getting back into our routine has helped. Hang in there. 🙂
August 31st, 2014 at 3:43 pm
Thanks. Sadly, there is something comforting in knowing that we’re not unique in the struggle.
August 31st, 2014 at 4:34 pm
You should go link up over at theadoptionsocial.com on this week’s #waso, you’ll see your defo not alone! 😉
August 31st, 2014 at 5:17 pm
Great idea. I just linked up. Thanks.
August 31st, 2014 at 7:08 pm
Looping back in. Thanks for the encouragement ABM. Four months into my first placement. Her third foster home, five years old, over a year in the system. Was one step from home when I got her and now the direction of her case has completely reversed. Loving and resilient little being with lots of trauma. Really big feelings in a lIttle body. The system is broken but our newest worker, the third in four months, is a Godsend so far. Keeping my head up. Had my first ever respite last week and LOVED it. Kindergarten starts in two weeks and will LOVE it. Quickly learning that allowing myself to be where I am and self-care are key. Thank God for therapy too; began it on my initiative once certified to foster and it’s helped my perspective along with parenting blogs like yours. Man, oh man… it’s like one has to be ninja-like. No regrets, however. None.
September 1st, 2014 at 8:09 am
Yes to Ninja Parenting… You’re doing great. And yes, self-care is critical; we empty ourselves and we have to fill us back up so that we can carry on. Hang in there, sounds like you’re doing all the right things even when it doesn’t feel like it.
September 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Mine is ten years younger than yours and yet the cycle of negativity sounds very familiar indeed! Single parenting means never having someone else walk in the door to break the mood!
September 1st, 2014 at 4:39 pm
Yep, the single life has its challenges. These recent weeks I’ve felt it much more than usual.