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 :)


16 comments:

  1. I find it a little funny, and even more humbling, that you too have these pangs of inadequacy. And I get it, because it is what reminds us that no matter how much good we do, we'll never be adequate without Christ. But I find it funny because I get those pangs when I think about you guys and what you are doing. I mean, you guys are rock stars, real life superheroes. And not because you're always going to make the right decision or have the answer at every turn, but because God gave you one vital decision to make and you did so faithfully - in answering his call. That's what a 100 looks like on this report card. We could not be prouder of you guys.

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  2. I am so sorry about all the hard moments that you all have to go through. From day one I could tell you have a big heart, and I love that about you! Keep giving yourself grace! You're doing great, and that sweet Mother's Day card just proves it! xo

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  3. I know it probably doesn't feel like it but you are rocking this foster parent stuff girly! You are right, you are replacing YEARS of teaching and that takes time. I'm sure it's frustrating at times but just know that what you are teaching those kids is having an impact and they are learning. I'm sure you will continue to see changes in them each week! Keeping you in my prayers.
    Kelsey
    www.thepeacockroost.com

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  4. I can not even begin to imagine how all of this must take a toll on you both mentally and physically. We recently decided to put a "hold" on our foster plans because my husband has been having some serious doubts about whether or not we can handle it. I agreed because I do not want to do anything to jeopardize our marriage. And this is such a life changing and hard thing to take on. My heart and prayers go out to you always my friend. You are such an amazing women for doing all that you can for these lucky children. XO

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  5. Hang in there, you are doing great. Even when you don't feel like you can pat yourself on the back, know that there are so many people who are here to give you that pat on the back, that extra bit of encouragement. I love to see and hear how you are doing. You're a great inspiration and strength to me. You are going to move mountains in these kiddos lives.

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  6. You are so right that we are so often our own worst critic or our own worst enemy. Reading through this, while you mentioned things that were hard or not going well, honestly all I heard was how much you guys are doing. How much more you're doing then so many people in every way. I'm so glad you've found therapy so helpful and I just got Daring Greatly and am so excited to dive into it, so I was happy to hear you mention that as well. I feel like I could go on and on, but really you guys continue to inspire and encourage me so much. You are doing an amazing job & I hope you enjoy your first mother's day! Praying for you!

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  7. Like I always say, ya'll are kicking some serious butt and a source of inspiration to so many. Don't be too hard on yourself sister - you're doing the best you can and that's all that matters because guess what... God's got the rest. Love ya!

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  8. It doesn't surprise me that you're taking on so much emotionally because that is who you are. You're compassionate and loving and want the best for everyone. I know it's been hard but those kids couldn't have 2 better people taking care of them.

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  9. You also need to remember that there's a huge chance that these kids haven't been properly fed and the way that they coped was eating extra when food was available. Food insecurity is a big hurdle to overcome. I know you're doing great, but I'm glad you have a sounding board and your own support system. Keep it up - we're all praying for all of you. Hugs!

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  10. Girl yes! You are doing such an amazing job. I hate how the enemy tried to lie and tell you otherwise but may the Lord's grace overwhelm you in this season!

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  11. You are doing such an amazing thing and the best part is how much they appreciate you and what you guys are doing for them!

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  12. oh girl, we are all too hard on ourselves. you said you're not patting yourself on the back but you should be. we are all too mean to ourselves but we are not quick enough to say hey, what i am doing is great. because what you are doing is great, and although i am not a parent, i'd say it was harder because of those things you missed out on raising them from babies. so pat yourself on the back and keep doing what you're doing, which is a wonderful thing.

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  13. You did jump in hard with both feet! I work in child welfare for my county so I can only imagine the backgrounds that your kiddos have. Prayers for all of you!!!

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  14. Thinking of you, Kelli. What you are doing is an AMAZING and beautiful thing :) Praying for you all!

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  15. This post is great and totally resonates with me. I strive for perfection and it really brings me down when it's not attained. I also struggle with boundaries and opening up myself so much that sometimes it end up with me getting hurt. I think you're doing a great job being a foster parent. Your three kids are lucky to have you!
    Xo, Evelina @ Fortunate House

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