Friday, May 6, 2016

Being Too Hard on Myself

I am my worst critic.

I always have been.  When I ran track in high school, second place wasn't good enough.  A 95 grade wasn't good enough because it wasn't a 100.

Though I feel like I've gotten over a lot of the petty issues where this affects me, I've realized that I haven't completely stopped.

Foster care is hard.  Really hard.  I knew the billions of appointments, bad behaviors and dealing with "the system" would be frustrating, but I didn't realize how invested I would be in the kids' feelings/situation.  Or I suppose I did, but I didn't realize how much I would cry about it.  I'm not able to stand back, pray hard, be empathetic but be okay.  I have let so many issues burden me to the point that I cry every single day.  Admitting that makes me feel vulnerable, as so many people view it as a weakness, but Brene Brown in her book, Daring Greatly, is helping me to realize that it is okay. Being vulnerable is what makes you stronger.

I am not patting myself on the back at all - I have had a pretty compassionate heart for most of my life, though I'm not perfect and I've hurt people before, and if you're one of those people, don't worry, I'm probably still beating myself up about it.

I believe in therapy - finding a good counselor that you trust and that has your best interest in mind and doesn't just tell you what you want to hear.  I've been seeing a counselor for a while and I have to tell you that besides God and my husband, it's been what has helped keep me sane over the past 3 months.

In a recent session, she explained this visual: we all have a little circle around us.  It includes your feelings, emotions, experiences, pains, hurts, everything YOU.  And sometimes we can open up the door to that circle and let others into it a bit - usually your spouse or other family, but even with them, we can't leave it open so wide that we start personally taking on others' burdens to the point that you're on the verge of depression and anxiety about issues that are not your own to take on or solve.  This isn't meant to be heartless, it's about boundaries.  Boundaries that don't exist in my life. Boundaries that could have prevented me from being so hurt by friends and family during my engagement/wedding, boundaries that could have prevented me from depression after a break-up in my 20's, boundaries that could prevent me feeling like I need to fix our kids' issues and be the answer to everything...because I'm not.  I'm not the answer and never will be.

I've been so hard on myself over the past 3 months.  Our kids are in horrible health and we've been working on feeding them healthy food and ensuring that they get physical activity every day.  We've been successful for the most part as all 3 kids have lost weight and now are pretty educated on what bad foods can do to your body as well as what foods are great for your body.  "Superfood" and "vegetables" are now are part of their vocabulary.  Yet the one week that our 12 year old gained 3 of those pounds back, I fell apart and felt like a failure. I can't prevent her from sneaking food at school or at church or lying to us about eating 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches including all kinds of fried food.  I just have to let it go.  I take on too much responsibility when part of it is honestly theirs.  I will do my part as well as I can and know that I've done my best.  And that goes for many areas of raising these kids.

Raising 3 foster kids is not the same as having 3 biological children and I have to remember that.  I didn't get to raise these kids from when they were babies.  I didn't get to hold them in my arms and let them know that they were safe and loved.  I didn't get to teach them how to eat properly or how to use the restroom.  I didn't get to teach them respect and a good work ethic.  I am trying to catch up on what most people got many years to do with their biological kiddos.  These kids have 10, 12 and 16 years of a different parenting method so I'm having to re-teach and replace some things they were taught before.

I need to give myself some slack.  That's hard!  We jumped in hard with both feet and DO NOT regret it.  I'm trying to focus on the positives and how much I see God working here and to not let the set backs get me down and discouraged.

God called us to this.  God has equipped us and will continue to.  He in in control...not me.

fun moment when Kevin took L to a minor league baseball game :)