Friday, February 22, 2013

Upside the Head

I created a card on today.  It was a joke for another trauma mama who does the best she can as a therapeutic parent -- just like any one of us.  Today she was tired of being therapeutic.  Today she didn't like her child.  Today she was done.

I totally get that.  I've been "done" a lot lately.

There are days I get tired of thinking.  There are days I get tired of going through the same dang thing over and over again.  There are days I get tired of reminding my 14 and 17-year-old children that they are safe, they are loved, they are home, and we are family -- forever, blah, blah, blah.  There are days I  just can NOT "stop, think and relax" myself, let alone try to help one of them do it, too.  Sometimes, there are days that string together.  Lately, there are weeks that string together.

I don't know what that means really (other than I am fried), but I am pretty sure it's okay.  It's okay to be this tired.  It's not okay to keep placing myself on the altar of self-sacrifice for the whims of these children, however, because it does not help them.  It sure as heck doesn't help me.  I cannot be therapeutic if I am being abused and allowing that abuse to continue.

Matthew 11:28-30 reads, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out ...? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (The Message)

Self care is so very, very important when you're parenting kids with trauma backgrounds.  You cannot parent a child with a traumatic past unless you are okay.  Whether you believe in the bible or not, this is truth.  You need to retreat.  You need respite.  You need a safe place where it's okay to be worn out and get refreshed.

Do that for you.

Take an afternoon.  Take a day.  Take a weekend and use respite care services.  Go to a parenting conference and learn and be with other people who "get" this life.  Don't wimp out.  Don't be a martyr.

And on those days when the therapeutic parenting book on the nightstand seems like a tempting tool to be used for whomping a kid upside the head, remember what Lindsay says --  you are awesome.  Your kid is here.  You are here.  You have not killed him.  You haven't even used the book to whomp him, though you'd like to really, really, really very much do that.  You've done what most other people wouldn't even TRY because you are strong and this is enough -- you are enough -- even on "those" days.  Even on those days, you are awesome.

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