I am feeling tired today. Not tired from looking after the kids or because the baby is teething, more of that ‘life tired’. Lots of little disappointments along the way to trying to achieve your goals.
Once you enter the Fostering world, little disappointments are a constant companion. The disappointments might be around your own limitations compared to your expectations. They might be due to the constant battle of teaching a child what is generally considered ‘natural’ behaviours to see them return to those learned behaviours from before they enter your home. The disappointments can often be because of the ‘system’. Judges, social workers, Dr’s, Teachers missing the mark for ‘your’ child. Perhaps it is Friends or family that don’t ‘get’ what you are doing and don’t fully accept ‘your’ children as part of the family. There are so many more instances that can make your soul weary and when you are pouring everything you can into a broken little person, you can sometimes have little patience and understanding for the disappointments that come along.
A fellow foster carer asked the question the other day on a Facebook page that got me thinking. Often we hear about the need to fill our own cup because you can not pour from an empty cup. Wise words, and certainly something everyone should ensure that they are trying to achieve. But what about the times where you are empty and your ‘cup’ is full of the holes of disappointment. How do you keep going? How do you make the choice to continue to care even when it is so hard?
Last week I sat and listened to a Christian leader talk about his experience of Burnout. While he struggled to figure out what to do to move forward and to take stock of all he had done and how he had got into the position to feel that he couldn’t go on, he had 3 non negotiable’s . As a 40 year old man they were probably a little different to what mine would be (If you are curious his were; 1- Don’t have an affair. 2 – Don’t quit. 3 – Don’t buy a sports car.)
But in the mundane parenting life, what are your 3 non negotiable’s that will keep you from throwing in the towel? What helps you to get up each day despite the ongoing, small disappointments?
My non negotiable’s that drive my Fostering journey are
1 – To be a safe, life giving family for a child for as long as they need it.
2 – To help my biological children understand and learn that they have a role to play in the larger community.
3 – To help the Church see that through prayer, petition and showing up we can be a part of helping restore families in our community.
What are your non negotiable’s? They might be completely different to mine (I tend to lean towards the big picture stuff….thats just how I am wired!)
I know keeping these 3 things in mind doesn’t make the days easier, but it does remind me why I chose this inconvenient life and those reasons are the glue that covers the holes of my cup when disappointments arise.