Thursday, March 20, 2014

Getting Real: Seeking Help Part 2

You can read part 1 about our journey into the world of counseling here.

We as a family have seen a total of four different Counselors and three Therapist on a regular basis.*  We have had four specialty doctors, one of whom is regularly active in our kids lives.  We have had numerous other therapists and specialist in and out of our lives to help us.  One of our kids have been "specialized" with in the foster care system, which means, among other things, we see a caseworker once a week and a nurse once a month.

*Side Note: I say counselors for those who are helping our family emotionally and therapist for those who are helping our children physically.  That is the easiest way for us to distinguish it in our home.

All of that can be exhausting.  In and out of waiting room with 1 to 3 children to entertain.  Packed lunches and snacks.  Dealing with upset kids because I forgot the water bottles again.  Trying to communicate to each and every one of them what they need to know about that child.  Trying to remember what I have and have not told our caseworker and what paper work I still need to send her.

It gets lonely.  It gets tiring.  It's draining.  There is a lot of guilt associated with it.  From the forgotten water-bottles to lack of implementing a method I should have implemented this week to putting off the one on one counseling session so long that the Counselor doesn't even talk about it any more.

However, though all this I've found this surprising sweetness. Those moments when I get to stand beside another Momma as she talks about her child and the struggle they may be having. 

Oh those are so sweet.  To find a companion. For a brief moment to "get it" with her.  I might not know what goes into her every day but I do know its a great deal.  I know that she feels like she is holding on to her finger tips, fighting with every ounce of her strength for her child.  She has become a mini expert in crisis management, sensory input, speech skills.  And for a small amount of time we both get to see a life with no judgement of how we should be doing it, but rather with an unspoken word encouragement and support.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Living Life with Littles: Laundry

When we went from three to four with Our Guy laundry took a huge hit.  However, when we went to six I was shocked at how little of a hit our laundry took.  Maybe because the kids were so teeny tiny or maybe because everything was so overwhelming that laundry didn't quit seem as pertinent. However, as time has gone on it did become overwhelming. We've had to tweak and change our laundry routine to fit our family.  Here's how it goes.

1. Each bedroom has a big square laundry basket in it for dirty laundry. 

2. Each day one child must bring it down and another must sort it. They flip flop this job.  It took me awhile to teach them how to sort but they've got it now (for the most part).

3. I handle all washing and drying at this point.  Sometimes the kids will haul a load of laundry to a machine because they got an "energy drain" or just because they can be really sweet like that.

4. When a load is done I take it over to our folding area (a window seat in the dining room).  The kids maintain their color system that they have in their cups.  Each has a basket I bought at Wal-Mart (I believe it was $2.50) that I sort their clothing into.  We have another basket for Tony and my clothing and a third basket for sheets, towels, rags, etc.

5. When the baskets are full I declare family folding time.  We all grab our baskets, and dump them in the living room.  I typically fold Tony and my clothing and the sheets towels at this time.  When I get done I help the kids fold.  Yes, that means the kids clothing is not folded well at all.  This was really really hard for me to let go of.  Little Man's therapist really worked with me about saying "ok" to this for sanity sake.  I typically shut my eyes and don't think about it, uttering to myself "it's about the process, not the end result". 

6. Each child takes their basket and puts their own clothing away.

And that's what works for us.  How does your family manage laundry?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting Real: Seeking Help Part 1

It's a nasty word.  At least we often view it that way.  It goes against every grain of our American "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" thinking.  It means admitting we can't do it on our own.  It often takes hit to our pride.  It's a struggle to admit it's needed, especially around other Christians.  We often have this feeling that if we just........ (pray, love Jesus, suck it up, were fill in the blank) enough then we wouldn't need it.

The word is counseling.

noun: counselling; noun: counseling

the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, esp. by a professional.

So I'm coming out to be real and say, my family needs and utilizes counseling, A LOT.  Every single member of this family, minus one, has gone through some sort of counseling in the last year and a 1/2.  Tony and I even do a form of it (even though we don't call it that, partially due to the reasoning listed above).  We meet with a couple once a month and talk.  We have a safe place and we share honest and hard feelings with them.  It's a good break from the kids and it's an even better way for us to process life.

It's hard to admit you need help, it's hard to admit you can't do it on your own.  However, I have seen so much improvement when we as the parents say, "I get it.  This is hard.  Let's find a way to help you talk about this."  My kids are processing feelings and emotions better.  Behaviors and attitudes are stabling out.  

We still have a long way to go on so many things we are all trying to process, but God is faithful and he has not abandoned us in this process.  We are no less loved because we "didn't love him enough to not be able to do this on our own."  He doesn't view us as less of his because "we didn't pray hard enough for all this hurt to go away."  (Yes, that was meant completely tongue-in-cheek.) He still values, loves and cherishes.