It’s Okay to Say It. . .

10 May

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.  It’s a shame that a day meant to honor family is heartbreaking to so many. . . On a lighter note, it can be downright awkward as well.  Yesterday, someone who knows that we are fostering told me, “Happy Mother’s Day, I guess?” Trust me, it is okay to tell me Happy Mother’s Day.  Fostering doesn’t make me any less of a mom.  As a foster parent, I spent an hour listening to a baby cry tonight, because his routine is so out of whack after a long weekend on the road.  I have read this book more times than I can count.

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I get splashed repeatedly during bath time every night.  I have seen first steps, counted first teeth, and have not slept through the night for the last fourteen months. Our family, as it is, may be temporary, but it is certainly no less real.  So, yes, you can tell me Happy Mother’s Day.  It might be weird if you did, since that day’s over. . . but the same applies when Father’s Day rolls around.  Love on your foster families and acknowledge that, despite all of the ways that their lives are different than a traditional nuclear family, in so many ways, they are the same.

 

No Bohns About It

I almost called my Mom

28 Apr

Yesterday, as I was driving to daycare to pick up our little man, I was thinking about dinner. . . about how the kitchen was a mess from that morning. . . about how I’d need to also stop at the grocery store if I wanted to cook. . . and about how once I started cooking, I would have a toddler under my feet, reaching for the knobs on the stove – because aren’t they just fascinating?  The thought of dinner and what needed to happen to put food on our plates was just overwhelming.  And then I thought about how my mom had FIVE kids under foot and still managed to put food in our mouths.  And I wondered how she did it.  And how did she find recipes without Pinterest?  And I wondered if I was a bad mother because I was considering take out again.  And before I knew it, I was thinking about the prevalence of articles on Pinterest about how to get your toddler to brush his teeth or how to keep your house spotless with just five minutes of cleaning a day or how to be the mom that your kids want you to be.  Just earlier in the day, I’d read a blog post about putting down your cell phone on the kitchen counter for the whole day and really connecting with your child.  It really hit home, in that minute, that the current trend of mom shaming isn’t why I feel inadequate as a mom.  It’s my internal voice that is reminding me that I do want to put home cooked meals on the table, and I do want to step away from my phone, and heaven help me but I do want a clean house and a toddler who likes to brush his teeth.  In my ideal world, all of those things would happen.  In reality, I have a full time job, and it is our busiest time of year right now.  In reality, I need to go grocery shopping. . . So we got Chinese take out, and I enjoyed the 15 minute trip to pick it up, and the time that I spent there waiting, in silence, for our food – while aforementioned toddler was running around with his dad at home.

The thing is, we’re constantly bombarded by the media with the notion that we can live a better life – all we need to do is to be more this or more that. . . and when you start to delve into the world of foster parenting, there is even more pressure.  You have to REALLY attach to the kids in your home, but you have to be happy as a clam to let them go after a year or more, if their family achieves reunification.  If their family isn’t able to reach the goals needed for reunification, you have to keep them in your life and support their relationship with your child. . . never mind the fact that they’re probably dealing with MAJOR issues, if reunification didn’t work out.  All the while, you’re dealing with absent caseworkers, canceled family visits, friends who don’t get that fostering is MORE than babysitting, and a child who’s endured trauma.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining.  I’m really not.  I’ve just been busy working on our foster & adoptive parent association newsletter and trying to help plan our area’s foster parent appreciation gathering. . . because DCFS staff are so busy and underfunded they asked the foster parents to plan our own appreciation celebration.  As I was going through my favorite social media site, looking for ideas of what I could include in our newsletter or ideas for the celebration, I was overwhelmed with the expectations that are placed upon us as parents and foster parents, in general.  And, in this instance, there’s no easy fast food, take out kind of answer.  You just dig in and do the best that you can, and trust that this child was placed with you right now, because you are the best parent, right now, for that child.  And step away from Pinterest.  That will probably help too.  Just step away from Pinterest. . .

 

No Bohns About It
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Strawberry Pie

27 Apr

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It’s Been Nine Months

31 Mar

When I logged on just now, I was notified that it’s been nine months since I published a post. . . that’s not so surprising since our little foster bundle of joy has been with us for the last 13 months. . . and it was probably right around 9 months ago that he became mobile.  VERY MOBILE.

It’s also been 6 years that we’ve been in our house now.  I think.  6 years sounds right, right?

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In those 6 years, this house hasn’t seen a lot of repairs and updates like we’d originally planned, but it’s seen two precious kiddos come and go, and one who is still with us. . . getting a picture of the house without him running through the yard is sort of a noteworthy feat. . . just sayin’. . . . We’ve had birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas mornings. . . one Christmas morning there were so many people in the house, we had Alex’s nephew sleeping in the living room when Santa left his presents under the tree and in his stocking. . .

I obsessed and obsessed some more about how to set up the room for foster kids, not knowing what age or gender we would have stay with us.  I know that nesting is normal, and setting up the room for kids is necessary when you’re getting certified, but our first two kiddos were with us for such a short time, and at 14 months old, little man hardly cares what his room looks like . . . although he was VERY excited about the picture of St. Francis (and a cat and a dog) that I brought home last weekend.  Dogs are his FAVORITE right now, unless it’s a real dog, and that real dog is in the same yard as him.

In these six years, I’ve changed jobs once. . . and I think that I’ve parked three different vehicles in that driveway.  One was traded in, but the other was destroyed in a not at all horrible accident.  There used to be cows next door and sometimes in our front yard, but now it is sadly an empty pasture.  Some neighbors have left, but others have stayed and become close friends.

In so many ways, life has changed, but in the important ways, it’s stayed the same.  There is still love in our home, and food in the pantry.  We welcome family when we can, and good friends are always welcome.  That makes it sound like family isn’t always welcome.  That’s really not the case.  Family is welcome too.  We didn’t mean anything by it when we traded that queen size bed in little man’s room in for a twin. . . really.

Here’s looking forward to another year of . . . I want to say home cooked meals and good times, but let’s be honest, little man is 14 months old!  And I work at least 40 hours a week.  And I’m tired at night.  Home cooking isn’t really happening THAT much.  But good times are!

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In the woods – kind of

28 Jun

We just recently got back from vacation.  Theoretically, it was a vacation in the woods, but it was so hot, we spent a lot of time inside looking out at the woods.

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