Sometimes this mothering thing is just too damn much.
There is a lot of shame around saying that. So many women are unable to have biological children and some hoops to clear for fostering and adopting can be tough. Saying that mothering can involve misery feels rather taboo.
I’m actually not supposed to say that, right? Because I wanted to be a mother. I’m not supposed to not love every effing minute of it, right?
And yet, this week I’m pretty miserable.
As the holidays approach, expectations seem to rise. My dear Hope seems to struggle as we get further in the school year, but her pride prevents any kind of help from cracking her protective casing. Yappy has developed separation anxiety. Work is…well, busy is an understatement.
The mental energy and gymnastics to parent a traumatized kiddo while being on top of things in the other areas of my life has driven me back to white knuckling it and popping anxiety meds reserved for….
Well, this is that time.
I melted down this week. I hadn’t had one of my meltdowns in some time, and when I crumble it’s like…
The exhaustion and frustration and anger were and are just so real and too much. I hit my limit, my hard limit. And somewhere along the way I took all the things that Hope won’t/can’t do personally. No good can ever come from that, and yet it is a rabbit hole that I fall into ever so often. Hurts like hell to to fall into and climb to get out of.
I am struggling with parenting. It requires me to toss out 99% of everything I learned from my parents. If my parents gave me a list, I got that list done because they told me to do it and not doing the list would be considered disrespectful and disobedient.That combination didn’t go over well with them.
I give Hope a list and it will be balled up on the floor in minutes. And I can’t reconcile that with the narcissism that is simple teendom and the narcissism that is trauma teendom. My reserves are so low at the moment that it quite seriously causes me lots of anxiety as I attempt to keep my anger and frustration in check.
Last night I failed.
So, I lost my ish…royally.
I didn’t yell at her. I just yelled at the universe on the other side of the house. It was all just too much. The truth is that it’s always too much. Parenting my daughter is really is about how much I can I manage me; it’s clear I can only do so much in managing her. This control freak has nearly no control, and it’s driving me nuts.
After about 30 minutes, I went to talk to Hope, only to find her packing. The dresser drawers had been emptied, and she was working on the closet. She screamed at me that I could just put her back in the system so that I could get my life back and not be miserable anymore.
Oy, Great, now both of us feel like ish.
We talked after I quietly unpacked all her stuff. I reminded her that families fight, but no one is supposed to leave. I’m entitled to my feelings just like she is, and sometimes my feelings boil over and those feelingd aren’t fair to anyone around me either.
These last two years have been hard. Really hard. They’ve been traumatic in ways I never imagined. We’ve been through the ringer. But we’re still here, even when it feels like it’s all too much, and last night it really was too damn much.
I apologized for scaring her, but I didn’t apologize for my feelings. They are real. They are mine, and I’m entitled to feel some kind of way. I honor her feelings.
It’s hard have so few folks around for whom I can drop the veil, reveal my true feelings and have them honored as true and authentic.
So on top of everything else, I’m realizing that I’m lonely too.
Single parenting is both awesome and sucky at the same time.
This week, I’m just surfing until Friday because it really does feel like too much.
November 17th, 2015 at 10:12 pm
I’m just gonna invite myself to this party. I have been going through as well. I’m also struggling because what ‘worked’ for my parents doesn’t faze ‘A’ in the slightest (different experiences and expectations). One night last week I asked myself aloud what in the heck I was doing….like why did I think I could parent (alone no less). I’ve been more emotional in the past 5 months than I have been in the last year (probably 5 years if we’re keeping it all the way real). We seem to be making some progress but I just don’t trust it….things shift so quickly that I feel like I’m constantly on guard. I’ve lost like 6lbs in stress weight which has never happened before. Right now I’m just holding on to those few and far between moments where we’re a well functioning duo.
November 18th, 2015 at 12:00 pm
*slides over on couch, passes the tequila and nods*
Yes girl, yes.
Oh, and I found your 6lbs.
November 17th, 2015 at 10:38 pm
I wish I had the right words for you right now, but I just have nothing to relate to. But I guess my thought is that you are getting through and some days that’s all you can do. Keep trying, and you and Hope will get through this tough time, there will be better days and easier days.
November 18th, 2015 at 11:56 am
November 17th, 2015 at 11:44 pm
I can relate completely and sympathize with your post today. As a foster/adoptive mother myself, I too have been through these moments. I just recently published a post titled Am I Adequate To Be A Mother? Because that is how I feel sometimes, like maybe I am not cut out for this. Although I know I am, it’s the kids that make us feel this way. They have been through so much trauma and abuse, their life has been forever changed. Trying to break through this, is one of the most difficult and rewarding things we can do. I have a sibling set that did break through that trauma after years of work, and I have another sibling set that absolutely refuses. This is where my stress and breaking point really starts to show through. Parenting is not easy, parenting traumatized children is almost impossible, without God’s help and grace of course. I am always here if you need someone to talk to or vent to, I cannot imagine going through it alone. I am lucky and both my parents and sister are also foster/adoptive parents. We have each other to lean on and talk to. Hang in there! Have you heard of Nancy Thomas? She is so inspiring, I encourage you to read some of her books or watch her videos. I will be adding you to my prayers.
November 18th, 2015 at 12:03 pm
Bless you! I’ll swing over and check out your post. We are just going through a period that just feels like 3 steps forward and 14 steps back. I just can’t win. Those 3 steps are awesome, but those 14 are backbreaking.
Yes, I have heard of Nancy Thomas. I will revisit the videos.
Thanks for reading.
November 18th, 2015 at 6:08 am
Hi, adoptee here. And mom. I want you to know that us bio moms go through all of this, too, and so do us moms who begin our mom journeys with infants. Parenting turns out to be not at all what we thought it would be. The rule book gets tossed. Teenagers are always defiant. Always. Add to that a fear that things will inevitably fall apart, and add to that the lack of self-esteem that comes from living through a great deal of trauma from people who were supposed to care, and I imagine some days can be very, very hard. I think what matters most is probably building and maintaining trust between the two of you, because without that trust there’s no chance things will improve. Our kids do not usually understand that we have emotional needs, too, because for kids it’s all about them all the time. You need time with your own friends to have your needs met. I know I’m always a better parent when I’m taking care of myself. Also, let go of any concrete expectations you had in terms of school work, chores, etc. I can tell you I’ve struggled with this, too, but we’re all happier now that I’ve accepted that my child is different than I was. I’ve also had to learn to accept that if my child breaks a rule or neglects schoolwork, that doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent. It only means he will have to face the consequence of his choice. My job is to always love him, no matter what choices he makes. My job is to guide him so that he will grow into a capable adult. If he makes a mistake, that’s an opportunity for me to give him guidance so that he might make a better choice in the future, but I am not at all in control of his choices. I hope some of what I’ve said helps you. The short answer is that it’s absolutely normal for you to be feeling the way you are and it does not mean at all that you’re failing as a mom.
November 18th, 2015 at 12:08 pm
Thanks K. Trust for us ebbs and flows and it always stuns me how shallow our trust can be sometimes.
Thanks for reminding me that their choices aren’t a reflection of my parenting–even though I’m in an environment that absolutely is judgey. I’m also increasingly terrified for her safety out in the world. I am scared that her choices put her at risk. Reconciling it is so hard sometimes, but I know its essential to my own sanity.
November 18th, 2015 at 10:13 am
I reminded her that families fight, but no one is supposed to leave.
And therein lies the difference for fosters/adoptees/children of divorce. For these groups of children there is another option for living arrangments that bio children don’t feel that they have.
These groups of children are set up to feel that the grass is greener on the other side, if they could just get there.
The other divorced parent, a different foster family, a chance at a different adoptive parent….it’s all an unknown wonderful when your own situation gets hard.
It’s unfair to the kid and you, but it’s how it is.
No one is supposed to leave. That’s my philosophy. It’s a good one, imo. Hard when others don’t think that.
Anyway…..sorry it’s hard right now. So sorry. Wishing I could wave my magic wand for you…….
November 18th, 2015 at 12:13 pm
You’re right, the grass appears greener but it rarely is, but when you’re scared/angry/frustrated, it just looks green.
But for now, until she’s 18, no one leaves. convincing her of that is hell.
November 18th, 2015 at 12:41 pm
That’s a very good point Mel! The grass does always look greener. To add to this, there is way to many ‘rescuers’ in the world today. I am not saying that some shouldn’t be rescued, but when others believe everything a child tells them, they want to swoop in and make it all better! I have seen this time and time again with my parents, sister, as well as other parents, who have adopted especially. That only makes our job harder.
November 18th, 2015 at 11:45 am
Hugs – you know I’m always available to talk.
November 18th, 2015 at 12:13 pm
❤ Thank you.
November 18th, 2015 at 2:33 pm
I relate to this post so much! I think we all do. I had a similar morning yesterday (minus the packing). It’s really nice to know I am not the only mom who gets overwhelmed sometimes. Sending positive thoughts your way.
November 18th, 2015 at 4:04 pm
Girl, the srtuggle is real! I have a 7 year old that acts like a 17 year old, and trying to rational with her is just…we won’t even go there. And the main thing here is that trauma plays such a huge role in this whole thing. I;m gonna be really candid here in saying that Callie has a really hard time connecting with Mary because 1) she just doesn’t understand how trauma works 2) She thinks Mary does things purposely to get under her skin (this is debatable, I must agree) and 3) Mary is phony because she only does “nice” things when she wants something. Girl! You have no idea how my house gets sometimes. Then i remember the hell I gave my parents as a teen, and I’m all, “Well, hello Karma, you little bitch, you! I knew you’d show up eventually!” The thing I try to remember the most is that, it’s not personal, no matter how personal it feels. They are kids, with their own feelings (regardless of how legit we think they are!). You’re doing your best, and hey! That’s better than we can say for some people!
November 19th, 2015 at 9:58 am
I just wrote about my sucky week. The struggle is real! It’s reassuring to know that I am not alone in my struggle.
November 19th, 2015 at 10:05 am
You are sooooo not alone. We are all roughing it. Thanks for the note; it reminds me that I’m not alone either. 🙂
November 19th, 2015 at 3:35 pm
What is it about this week?!? I lost my mind yesterday on one of my kids and have received 2 calls and an email from another kid’s school today. Motherhood is so hard some days–you’re amazing to handle all you have on your plate and I’m taking notes on how you were able to feel what you needed to feel and still remind your daughter you loved her. You are not alone in these struggles, blessings and let’s hold on til Friday–😁
November 21st, 2015 at 7:53 pm
hugs to you – I didn’t see this post til tonight. Because I’ve been feeling like such a failure as an adoptive mom that I didn’t want to read any adoption blogs. I can SO relate to the 3 steps forward, 14 steps back. You are a great mom. This job is so hard – forgive yourself for struggling sometimes while doing it. Hope is lucky to have you.