Thursday, February 6, 2014

Big Decisions

   Our foster kids have reintegration court on the 21st. It's a pretty sure bet that the judge will say yes. This means that for about 3 weeks after the court date, their home visits will be extended, and then they will go home permanently.
   So now we are deciding what to do, and what we want. I've mentioned before that I feel kind of obligated to have kids, because my husband has always wanted to be a dad, and it's what we've been cultured to want. I've been fence sitting for awhile about if I want permanent kids, want to keep fostering, or want no kids at all. I still haven't made up my mind, actually.
   I haven't handled a lot of this parenting stuff well. I tend to mock, or at least be very meanly sarcastic with the kids sometimes. I yell often, snap at them a lot, and sometimes blow up at my husband when I'm frustrated. And by blow up, I mean tell him he's a horrible husband/father and that I wish we were never married, and that I'm leaving.
   The last time that happened was last Thursday. Thank goodness the kids were at a visit, and we didn't have any others. Because I went off. The 10 year old that we've had problems with told her case manager that she can do/say whatever she wants at our house, doesn't respect us or our decisions, and will only listen to her mom. Her case manager called to discuss this, and of course, I said, well, this is exactly what we're seeing. After I hung up, I got mad. The more I thought about it, the more worked up I got. I was talking with my husband about it, and I realised-he rarely calls her on her behaviours because he "doesn't notice". He rarely enforces consequences or makes them lose points (we do the point system for behaviour) because he doesn't see her questions as arguing.
   I feel like he makes me be the bad guy all the time because he wants to be Mr. Nice, and have them love him. Personality wise, I am more dominant. I am the one more likely to say "Go to your room, you are being annoying me and antagonising your brother."
   I told him this, plus a many more mean, hurtful things. Because I wanted him to hurt. I wanted him to know that I was hurt.
   He said that he's not sure he wants kids after this, because he doesn't think I would deal well with them. He said that if I make him choose kids or me, he'll choose me. And that got me thinking.
   How much of how I behave is because of me, or how much is because the 10yo is seriously a pain in the butt? She fights about everything-chores, bedtime, showers, homework...she argued for 10 minutes about putting on shoes vs. slippers to go do her outside chores-and there was 6" of snow on the ground! Yesterday we fought about her getting a shower 15 minutes earlier than we agreed because she had just played in the snow and was covered with cold, wet clothes. Everything is an argument, challenge, fight...and I don't do well with that.
   On the other hand, we've only had kids since September, and these are difficult kids in general. I don't like to think about that, because it feels like an excuse. "Oh, I may react badly, but I've only been a parent for about 6 months-it's not my fault!" But yesterday, talking to my counselor, she helped me see that it isn't TOTALLY an excuse-it's a genuinely legitimate reason for not being a super-parent. (Also the fact that there are no super-perfect parents, regardless of what Mormon, INC cultured me to believe)
   So what's I can control is how I deal with the stress of being a parent. Some days that's not so good, and I think "I never want a child to set foot in my house again!". Some days are awesome, and I imagine having forever kids and what we'll talk about, and the things we'll do. Most days are in between, and here I sit, wondering if I want to try this parenting thing again, or go back to being a kidless couple.


  1. I'm glad that things are progressing well for your foster kids and that the should get to go home soon. It feels like your first experience parenting has been a challenging one, even as I acknowledge that all parenting experiences are challenging in their own way. None of us are perfect, ever, and that's OK.

    One of the words early in this post that stood out to me is 'obligated'. No one should ever have kids because they feel obligated to; it's not healthy for anyone involved. Perhaps that's a feeling that you should really look at with your counselor and your husband as you both decide where to go from here.

    For what it's worth, I think you have the capability to be a fantastic parent because you are willing to open your heart and then do the really difficult work of looking deeply at your reactions and feelings.

    1. We are talking with our counselor and trying to figure things out. Thanks for your support and advice!

    2. You're welcome, as always. The only way any of us become better people, and by extension better partners and parents, is to be open to growth and change. You're helping me remember that too :)

  2. I believe that you and your husband may benefit from some sessions with your counselor or his counselor together. It would be good to have a trained professional help you and your husband discuss the actual issues - your anger management strategies around the kids; increased enforcement of rules by your husband - and call both of you on avoiding your personal problems by bringing up the other spouse's problems.

    Raising children is really tough regardless of the circumstances.

    1. I am just here to second the above poster's advice, not that its any of my business; (I just got here from NLQ and have enjoyed reading your critique of Michael Pearl's book).

      It sounds like you might be setting yourself up to take the blame for everything that goes wrong with raising kids. You *both* need to be open to analyzing your potential weaknesses (and strengths) in child rearing.

  3. *Sorry, I hit enter too early*

    Be gentle to yourself. Pre-teens and teenagers are a rough bunch in terms of bonding under the best of circumstances. Add in the welter of emotions that come with a disrupted family structure and you're riding a 5-star rapids river on an inflatable raft.

    1. Thank you for your advice. We are talking to our counselor, but big decisions take time. And I'm impatient! I want to decide NOW. Lol.

  4. I think it's okay to have a hard time fostering difficult kids! Is there a way you could foster a baby next time?
    Also, fighting with your husband- I've had similar fights (with the roles reversed)- maybe you didn't see it clearly until you'd calmed down, but it could help to start with "I'm hurt, this really hurts me" rather than making him feel hurt to know how you feel.
    I'm enjoying your Michael reviews, glad to hear what's going on in your life too. I hope you guys find a decision that works well for you!