Wednesday, July 11, 2012

my biggest challenge

Nine weeks in, my biggest challenge has been my own mind. That voice in my head that says, "Not enough! No good!" Fortunately (I guess) it's not been about the kind of parent I am - even my mind concedes that I'm doing a pretty good job - but about being a competent adult in this new life of mine. "You still have boxes that need unpacking!" screams my mind. "Your bathrooms are so dirty! Why haven't you gotten those new windows in the attic yet? You need to find a dentist!" For a while my mind was so insistent I found myself sending the kids off to play on their own so I could focus on getting stuff organized and shop online for storage solutions. Luckily I seem to have broken through to the other side and this week I feel like myself again and am back to focusing on the boys. But, that's no guarantee that my mind won't come back with a vengeance, berating me for not being able to function like I did before I had two kids. So, here's what I'm looking for - assurance, from other new adoptive parents, that I'm not failing. That you went through this, too. That you also were late paying your bills and took three days to complete a load of laundry and if you moved to a new house right after adopting two children, that you sat with unpacked boxes, windows that needed replacing and a yard that needed fencing for much, much longer than you would have in your previous life. Please convince my overly critical mind that this is normal.

30 comments:

  1. Not only is it normal, it is the new normal. I am six years into parenting and still sometimes a load of laundry takes three days to get through (after having been run twice because the first time it sat long enough to get moldy and nasty) and my mind is in CONSTANT battle saying "please just let me get stuff done!" And sometimes that is not just in my mind and I end up yelling that at the kids because it is so maddening to be so wholly unproductive all the freaking time. It takes me hours to do what a normal person can churn out in fifteen minutes. It's not worth me making phone calls or doing bills anymore, because my husband has a quiet office at work. He can do stuff like make appointments or research crap without someone getting hurt or screaming or a shelf of books being being totally wiped out. This is it. It's normal. Hard. I heard it gets better. I will let you know when it happens.

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    1. That's exactly it! - the knowledge that it SHOULD take fifteen minutes! Ugh, I don't like the constant battle in my head!

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  2. Oh yes. I know this one. Welcome. You're going great. Honestly, the truth here.... when I brought my son home, it took me MONTHS to unpack our suitcases. MONTHS. An entire bedroom was full of two suitcases and the stuff I'd frantically thrown around while looking for whatever we needed right away for three or four months. And pre-motherhood I was so organized I not only had my books organized alphabetically by author, but within each author they were in order by publication date. Now, I'm just glad my son is not actually stuck to the floor.

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    1. "Now, I'm just glad my son is not actually stuck to the floor" - that made me laugh! Thanks!

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  3. You are doing great! 10 1/2 years into parenting and I still have days where I wonder why anyone would think I could run a house. Ha.
    Laundry takes forever and is never-ending. Bathroom...forget about bathrooms! Mine are all white tile from top to bottom and that is a loosing battle. There are days we reach bed time and the kids let me know I never actual fed them lunch. I think constant snacking should totally count as lunch. LOL
    It really is just a new normal. I do still get frustrated that things do not run but having all these sweet humans around is worth it. ((hugs))

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  4. So normal! If you said it was easy I would be a little worried. I still struggle with sending the kids to play so I can get something done and spending time with them. It's tough to balance. The best advice another adoptive mom gave me when E came home was, even if for just a little while, try to do grocery delivery. It all costs the same, with a small delivery charge. It helped me so much, I just couldn't get out of the house to grocery shop in those beginning days (months) with E home. Anyway, you are doing great!

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    1. Good to hear you're still working on that balance. Thanks, Kim!

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  5. Are you kidding me? I can't wrap my head around why one little habesha has added 40lbs of laundry (either done and not put away or not done AT ALL) 40lbs of trash (not taken to the dump) and a house I cannot keep clean for the life of me, unregistered cars (gah!) and we can't keep track of our checking account balance....those are just a feww for starters. And then I remember, oh yah, this is what it's like when you add a kid(s) to your home. Everythhing gets left to the wayside until you find your rhythm---many months later :)

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    1. Seriously, what is up with all that laundry? They have little bodies, you'd think their clothes wouldn't add up to so much. But it does.

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    2. I fold and put away more of T's clothes than I ever would have imagined possible. I have days when the load is 90% his, 9% his father's and I have one item. Maybe I should change my underwear more often!

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  6. Been home with now 3 yr. old 7 months. I have washed laundry in the washing machine right now... I think it's been there 3 days (ewww). The bathroom, well, smells like a bathroom. 'Nuf said. :)

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    1. Thank you! I did finally clean the bathrooms yesterday because... yeah.

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  7. No adoptive experience yet--but parenting in general. My best friend and I used to be so judgmental of others when they mentioned losing items--we would say to each other "how, exactly, do you LOSE something? Just keep track of your things!"

    Um, 5 years and 3 kids (between the two of us) later, we laugh on the phone now about how naive we were. Losing things? Soooo easy.

    It's definitely a new normal, and it sounds to me like you're doing great. :)

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  8. Kyra-- I don't know about a "new normal", nor do I know about all of a sudden becoming a parent of walking, talking and playing children as you have, but all that you describe sounds like my life as a mom of three, oh so many years ago! Lucky for me, I was young and never had the experience or knowledge of what being an organized, functioning adult was before I became a wife and mom-- I never knew what normal was suppose to be like- so it felt normal to me. I love following your posts and FB.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! When my mind is quiet, like it is now, my sudden lack of organization makes total sense. When my mind starts up again, there is almost no reasoning with it. I just have to drink lots of water, get some exercise, and wait it out.

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  9. Not only are you doing great, you also have it in you to share your experiences on a blog for other adoptive (and non-adoptive) parents to see and learn from.

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    1. AND I invented mourxetai sourxetai!

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  10. You are definitely normal. When we brought home just one child, I couldn't manage to do the dishes or any housekeeping. I had to have help. It's overwhelming making the adjustment, and with two kids who are not babies, and therefore not sleeping hours upon hours a day, you just don't have as much time anymore. You are doing awesome, and the most important thing is focusing on your kids. Keep going.

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  11. Looks like lots of folks already beat me to the punch - two and a half years later and I still can't manage to pay my bills on time or keep the house clean. Thanks for posting this, it makes me feel better that all the commenters above are all in the same boat!

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  12. I'm 2.5 years in and I still find it hard to find the time to sit down and pay bills. The only reason we get stuff done around the house now is because we pay T to help us...so we have quality time together while he's earning money. That is if weeding the garden together is considered quality time...And I still have unpacked boxes that I've moved three times...Sometimes when T wants me to play with him and I have 15 things to do, I have to remind myself that I missed the first four years of his life; I don't want to miss the rest making sure the floor is clean enough to eat off of.

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  13. I love these comments. I'm so, so relieved to know I'm not the only whose laundry is left abandoned in the washer for days at a time!

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  14. My kids are born to be 10 annd 7 years ago and I have moved 10 years ago but there is some other stuff going on and I have never functioned like I did before kids. But I function way better on things that do matter (friendships, love, living here and now)

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  15. I don't have any experience to share, and am so glad to see these supportive comments. We are reading Post Adoption Blues right now in prep for bringing our little one home, and one sentence resonated with me: "Remember, you will never be as good as your homestudy says." We've spent years convincing others of how amazing we will be as parents (because that's kind of the nature of adoption), and I know it will be humbling to realize that it's tough, hard, and frustrating (at times). Hang in there, as an outsider it sounds like you are doing an excellent job with your boys. :-)

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  16. Two years after adopting our daughter we finally found a kind of equilibrium... and then we adopted my eldest daughter and my son. Over a year in... this week I was excited that we had a little more money than I thought we did in our checking account and bought a new pair of jeans that I have been needing. And then I realized that we had a little extra money (not a lot) because neither my husband nor I had remembered to pay the bills and we had spent a pretty large portion of the bill money on eating out because we were too tired to cook after a particularly difficult behavioral swing... Whoops. You're not alone for sure!

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  17. I got this note on FB and loved it so much I had to put it here:

    I love reading your blog :) I didn't adopt children and my laundry takes forever, my bathrooms and kitchen are never clean and we moved a year ago and I still have a room filled with boxes. I go through all the same struggles with providing a clean, organized home for my family and making sure that I spend quality time with my children (and carve out time for myself, which seems to always be too low on the priority list).

    A friend of mine told me the other day that I make everything a project and thus my daughter does now too. For the most part I think this is a good thing, she and I are both creative and self sufficient people. But sometimes the things I let bother me don't have to be a project. It's OK if my yard isn't mulched this week, or even this season (for me it is planting grass)... if I accomplish a load of laundry a day, it won't pile up and become an all day project or stressful, and now I keep Lysol wipes in the bathroom, my sink stays cleaner, because I tend to get the globs of toothpaste out of the kids sink before it gets stuck.

    Having T and L 5 years apart has made me slow down with T and be sure to snuggle more often, read more stories, play trucks in the sandbox and savor the moments that I missed with L because I was too obsessed with having a clean kitchen or having the laundry put away.

    The amount of time and thought and problem solving you put into parenting is amazing. Give yourself a break, everything will get done when it gets done. You have a lot more going on now and you can measure the success of your new job in hugs and kisses and those safe feelings that your sons have now that they have you and Tabb as mommy and daddy.

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