Modeling Behavior

Not gonna lie; I have a number of vices…

Cake.

A good glass of wine.

An occasional edible or three.

Pizza.

Shopping.

Buying organizing stuff that I don’t bother using to actually organize.

And a bunch of other stuff…

But I also have a lot of healthy habits.

Daily exercise.

Simple prayers of gratitude.

Cooking.

Desperately fighting my anxiety and depression.

I’m fortunate that I have had only a few moments in this life where my mental health rendered me unable to function. About 15 years ago, I took a month off from work to just pull it together. It was hard. I was keeping crazy hours, trying to define myself professionally, trying to navigate a dreadfully unhealthy relationship, and struggling with an eating disorder. I just had to hit the pause button.

The early years of parenting nearly brought me to the brink. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wasn’t prepared to really tackle the trauma that Hope had endured. I thought I was, and Lord knows I fought for her every step of the way. The reality is that those pre-adoption classes that agencies make APs take as a part of the approval process are bullshit; they are soooo woefully inadequate. I knew nothing about secondary trauma, post-adoption depression or all the ways in which trauma might manifest in my daughter’s worldview.

There were definitely times when it brought me to my knees, begging for a timeout from the rest of my life so that I could really figure out how to parent and do it well.

I spent a lot of time just putting my head down and plowing through.

As Hope and I recover from another recent major trauma, I’m considering hitting the pause button once again.

I’m tired. This pandemic with non-stop social unrest has gotten the best of me, and it’s gotten the best of Hope as well.

In recent years, I’ve really tried to model healthy behavior for Hope. I work out daily; even if it’s just a YouTube workout video in the living room. I get outside every day, rain or shine. I balance my sweet tooth with attempts to get my fruits and veggies in. I get up; I get dressed even when there is no where to go. I, at least, put on fresh lounge wear. I make sure she sees me reading for pleasure, for work and for information.

When Hope fell into the deepest pit of depression a few months ago, I really tried to include her in light workouts, cooking, doing hair, reading. It was hard to see her decline and just roll over to go back to sleep. I get it; gosh to I get it. I often feel like I could just roll over and sleep for ages because my emotions are just too much that they feel both burdensome and invisible. But I’ve got to work and keep us fed and sheltered, so I soldier on.

With the recent developments, we’re back into the stuck in bed thing. It’s so hard because really, there’s a pandemic and crazies are out protesting an election that was resolved months ago. Other than going for a walk and to buy groceries, being out and about isn’t really an option. On my days off I still get up, get dressed and pull together a plan for the day—even if it is sitting on the couch watching movies. I try to stay active. I try to model pushing back on the darkness for Hope.

It’s hard to maintain that flow. It also feels useless as my beautiful daughter languishes in bed for days at a time, getting up to eat after I’ve gone to bed and jacking up my Netflix recommendations even when she has her own profile. I encourage her to try. She never regrets getting up and about, but she never initiates it on her own.

Recent developments have just taken their toll on me, and I’m finding it hard to keep going. I, too, could use some time to lay in bed—even though I know I won’t, or at least won’t the same way Hope does—and just sit with my emotions. I’m kinda overwhelmed with all that’s going on.

So, I’m looking to take some time off. Even with that, I feel bad because I need to cancel some engagements and some workshops I committed to recently. But I try to remember that if I got hit by a bus, those things would go on and folks would simply find someone else to do the things I thought I would do. Cancelling is not the end of the world, and some of this stuff…well, I probably should’ve said no to in the first place anyway.

I’m trying to model self-care. I’m trying to model coping. I’m trying to model self-love and resilience. I honestly don’t know if the lessons are landing, but I’m doing the best I can as I try to find my way through my own darkness.

We’ll see what the next month holds and whether I take the time I need and show my daughter how I hit the pause button. I just know I’m really tired, right now.

About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted a tween daughter 7 years ago, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2021. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

2 responses to “Modeling Behavior

  • liz n.

    Please take time off. You know you need it. It’s a way to be strong for the both of you. Wishing you peace and rest.

  • rose

    I support you in your decision. Wish you two could go some place warm and quiet but realize covid…. . So figuring out carefully what would make a vacation feel spa like from home could be helpful. I think it varies from person to person. Backing out of the commitments you can sounds like a good plan. I hope you share some of what you drop as well as what sorts of things you keep AND the new spa/vacation things you add in. Regulating wake sleep times and routines for both of you is generally a recommended idea but you do you! WISH I could be helpful. You have been so helpful to me and I would like to return that aid.
    SUPPORT!

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