I have a lot of people asking me about what it’s like to be a foster mom. And I can tell you, it’s a lot like being a regular mom, but with extra mumbojumbo thrown in. So, I have decided to write a very boring blog post, describing my very boring life, that somehow magically turns into something rewarding, I’m hoping, eventually.
Here we go.
Friday Oct. 28th.
8:20 a.m.- Maybe is cutting four teeth, so I was up during the night; I realize with horror I have slept through my alarm. I jump out of bed, rally the troops, and tell them we are leaving for school in 10 minutes.
8:35 – Miraculously I have got everyone dressed, with their teeth brushed, made three lunches, and fed the baby. I scream at everyone to grab their scooters and we fly away to school.
9:10 – I am back home. The kids both made it to class on time. Jo panicked a little bit, but she held it together. Maybe’s momma is here to visit, and I am informed I will need to drive her to Santa Ana by noon that day. Jordan runs off to work, and I spend the next few hours with Maybe and her momma. (Technically, during this time, I am helping Maybe and her momma learn how to interact positively together. That’s my role as monitor, but it’s fun to spend time with Maybe’s momma, so it is not a chore.)
12 – I have missed my exit (it was seven lanes away), and am now halfway to Mexico. We turn around, and I race north to drop Maybe’s momma off to her foster momma.
12:30 – Maybe is an hour and a half late for her nap. I spend the next hour trying to get her to sleep. Eventually I lay her down and listen to her scream.
1:30 – I have half an hour to fold three loads of laundry, and do all of yesterday’s dishes. Fly like the wind, Leeny! Only problem is the lawn people are here. And since I am from the Midwest, I cannot show my face while other people are mowing my lawn because it feels so incredibly awkward. So I spend the next thirty minutes crawling from room to room and hiding behind cupboards as I put the clean dishes away. If only our rent agreement didn’t come with a lawn service.
2:00 – JJ is home. The neighbor invites him over to play. Thank the Mashed Potatoes! I now have until 3:00! I fold laundry, I fill out paper work for the WIC office I took Maybe to on Tuesday, and paperwork for the Doctor’s office I took her to yesterday. I email two social workers about developmental assessment, I organize her medical records, and I organize visitation logs between her and her momma.
3:30 – We pick up Jo from school. I see a sign about the Harvest Festival at 5. FRICK-A-LICKA-DING-DONG! I signed up to provide a pot of chili for the harvest festival, and it is supposed to be there by 5.
4:00 – We are racing through the grocery store to buy supplies for chili. There is bickering between the older two about who gets to ride on the bottom of the cart. I threaten to cut off all their toes if they make one more sound.
4:05 – Here it comes. The headache. I grab a bottle of fizzy water off the shelf and down it.
4:30 – I am putting ingredients into a pot to make the chili. Jordan gets home. HOORAY!
4:45 – JJ’s Han Solo shirt needs to be resown. I whip out the sewing machine and get to work.
5:15 – We are late. Thankfully the chili lady doesn’t give me too much crap. Yay for nice people! I follow the kids around as they play games, go trick or treating to their teachers, and scream with their friends. Jo wins the cake walk! Oh my goodness my head is going to explode! And why is this Maybe such a huge baby? Lose some weight baby, my arm is going to fall off! JJ says his shoes hurt his feet. I take them off so he can run around in his socks, and I throw his boots into the nearest trashcan because there is no way I am carrying those around all night.
6:30 – Back in the car to go to the Church Halloween party. Does anyone else want to go home and go to bed?
8:00 – Jordan and I have had chili from the church, the kids have had nothing but brownies and cupcakes. JJ wins the cakewalk! The kids run around playing with their friends as I follow my crabby, out-of-sorts baby around. We go outside and the kids get insane amounts of candy during the trunk-or-treat.
8:30 – JJ returns a light-saber to a friend, then starts crying so hard the mom gives it to him. I protest, she insists. Whatever. Yay for nice people!
9:50 – Everyone is in bed. A miracle. I need to lay down before the left side of my brain explodes.
10:00 – I get a text from Maybe’s momma’s foster momma. Can Maybe’s momma come over from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow? Then can I drop her off to meet with a social mediator at 11:30? Let me think, Jordan will be at work tomorrow morning monitoring an exam. Can I do three over-tired sugared up kids, one a teething baby, and a teenager tomorrow morning by myself? And then throw them all into the car right in the middle of baby’s nap-time? Yes. Yes I can. I text other foster momma back with a smiley face.
10:05 – I am passed out.
Is my life fun? – It has its moments.
Did I get to do anything I wanted to? – Not really.
Was it a good day? – We’re all alive. Nothing started on fire. So, yes.
Do I need a vacation? – Holy Chalupa yes.
Is it worth it? – Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I cannot go into detail. But the reason situations like Maybe’s and her momma’s exist is because of cycles. Harmful cycles that go back for generations and break your heart. How do the cycles break? Well, someone has to break them. A lot of time, the people in the cycles do not have the resources to break the cycle on their own. It takes work from a number of outsiders to try and change the pattern.
And when I say work, I mean work.
But Maybe started out as a child who needed a bedroom and a bed. And now she is our daughter. She will grow up with two parents who are willing to move heaven and earth for her. The cycle will not break my daughter, because I will kick that cycle in the crotch so hard before it ever reaches her.
It’s not glamorous, it’s definitely not easy, but it is worth it.
If you have even a smidgen of a thought that you want to do something like this, PLEASE email me. The foster community is a strong one. We all understand the difficulties one another are facing, and let me tell you, we hold each other up. We are not weaklings. We face domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, and addiction head-on without flinching. Because we love our kids.
If you have anything to give, give it. Believe me. You will be so glad you did.