The importance of self-care

I can’t emphasize this enough.  I wouldn’t have believed it until I experienced it myself.  For me the first time I did “self care” was taking a 5 day vacation (a retreat) and not having any responsibilities outside of my own self.  When I returned home to the chaos and crazy, it didn’t bother me for months.  When I had left, just 5 days before, I was ready to run away for good.  Just 5 days of thinking about only myself.  What did I want for breakfast?  Did I even want to eat breakfast? Get out of bed?  It was a life changing event for me.

Of course we can’t take 5 day vacations all the time, but we can take a few hours to ourselves now and then.  We need to put it on the top of our list of priorities, because it IS important.  We need that time to recharge our own batteries, refill our own tank, even if all we do is sleep for a few hours without worrying about alarms and cameras and where the pets are.  Or it could mean pampering yourself, a  bubble bath, a pedicure, wearing make-up every day, styling your hair – whatever it is, every day, do a little something just for you.  And weekly, do something a little bigger for yourself.  And monthly, something a little bigger.  And so on.  Make sure that every day you are treating yourself to something for just being you.  Because YOU are awesome.  YOU are a rock star.  YOU are Wonder Woman (or Super Man).  YOU are incredible.  YOU deserve it.  That I will say again.  YOU DESERVE IT.

And, you freakin’ need it.

Hang in there.

-realmom

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Hope is a razor blade

It can harm, and it can heal.  Sometimes we can’t feel the difference right away, because it hurts both ways.  But over time, we begin to see that cut that was so painful was actually removing harm from us, healing us, making us stronger, healthier, better able to weather the storms that are coming our way.

Maybe the moment when our child says, “Go ahead and cry, I don’t give a f**,” and we realize that our child is an emotional monster to us, and we wake up and wonder why we are giving them such control over our lives, and we begin to guard our own well-being and take away their power to control us, is not only the beginning of our healing and recovery but quite possibly might be the beginning of theirs.  It might be the moment when we realize that love, and completely giving of ourselves, does not mean we allow our emotions to be squashed like a bug on a constant basis, that we withhold some tiny parts of ourselves for times, without guilt, without feeling like a horrible parent, because loving and giving, unless you are Jesus, does not have to mean getting flogged and hung on a cross.

Allow yourself the grace to protect yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and give yourself the “ok” to do so without guilt.  You are a human being.  Just because you are a mom or dad of a traumatized or troubled child does not mean you lose that humanity and right to it.

Sometimes we hope, and then it comes crashing down around is, and it hurts so, so bad.  But maybe that’s what makes us stronger, more able to handle what comes next, stronger for our children, stronger for ourselves.  Just maybe we can use it to build up ourselves.

Hang in there.

-realmom

Thinking outside the box

People with newborns, especially first time parents, lament about how there’s no instruction book for their babies, especially the difficult ones, the colicky ones, the fussy ones, the spit-uppy ones, the ones that won’t sleep the night through.  As if all babies are supposed to be easy, they’ve bought into the myth that babies sleep and eat and are easy, because that’s what Grandma said we were (of course, she’s Grandma, what else is she going to say??) and because that’s what the tv shows say it should be like, and all those parenting books “How to get your infant to sleep through the night Day 1” or whatever crap they’re trying to sell, and because the few people who admit the truth “Jennifer was a really tough baby” are looked at like they don’t love their kids, or they were bad parents, or some other such rot.  In reality, babies suck.  They poop, usually great, smelly amounts, quite frequently outside of their diaper, they cry frequently for no apparent reason, they want something and can’t communicate it to you, they get pissed off – they are actual little human beings with personalities and all.

So when you go into adoption, or foster care, you’re fed the same myth – “They just need love and stability and they’ll be fine”, which is the biggest load of hogwash there is, second only to “We’ll be there to support you and provide whatever these kids need to succeed.”  So, just like brand spanking new parents of brand spanking new babies, you are completely unprepared for what you get, because what you got is NOT what was in the brochure, and not what everyone else said THEY got.  You feel alone and the “help” that was offered is gone like a mist.

You’re on your own.  The things other people said they did aren’t working, in fact, those things are making things worse.  Even the few pieces of advice the “professionals” are offering you – sticker charts, candy rewards – are not working.  You are thinking to yourself, “What am I doing wrong?? What is wrong with me?”

Simple answer is, there is nothing wrong with you, and most of the professionals offering you advice are full of crap.  It’s time to think outside the box.  Grandma’s advice is not going to do you any good, the good Mormon next door with eight kids birthed five years apart isn’t going to be able to offer you any advice except maybe on how to keep up with laundry.  Anyone offering you “the answer” is full of crap.  Anyone saying “this worked for me, might help you” is worth listening to.  Reading 100 books might give you 10 bits of wisdom that you can use in your child(rens) situation and make them work.  And that’s ok.  There is no such thing as One Size Fits All.  There is no magic pill, no magic answer.  And what works now may not work later as the child’s brain grows and develops – just know within yourself, that it’s simply time to change strategies, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.

Use the Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm.”  That means, some of these crazy things out there like re-birthing and such can and have been very dangerous to the kids – stay away.  But other things that seem crazy but yet do not harm – EMDR, acupuncture, Reiki, if you’ve exhausted other means, why not?  First do no harm also means with your own actions and words, so when (not if, when) you find yourself ready to lose control and say or do something you shouldn’t – spank, call names, whatever, then have a system set up to get you out of that situation so you have time to step back and take a breath. It might be a trusted friend who can take the child for a few hours while you regroup.  Some people believe that if an issue is not handled “RIGHT NOW” then the kid is getting away with it.  In how our kids’ minds are wired, by the time we find out about something, they’ve already forgotten about it.  Another hour, or day before dealing with the issue is not going to matter to them, and if it means you will be calm and controlled when you do discuss it, then you will have the opportunity to do some real teaching and reaching out to that child.

Think outside the box.

House in lockdown

Do you have locks on your kitchen cabinets, so a week’s worth of food doesn’t get eaten/destroyed within minutes?

Do you have alarms on your doors and windows?

Do you have cameras set up around your house to keep an eye on places you can’t physically be at all at the same time?

Do you do all this not in an attempt to control an innocent kidnap victim, but to keep your trauma kid safe, and others safe from your trauma kid?

Do you fear inviting people over and having them wonder about the locks, alarms, and cameras, and having it all be misunderstood and being looked upon as a bad parent?

You live in lockdown.  A prison of your own making, but in reality, the real person in prison is you.  You are the one that has to monitor the ding-dongs of the alarms, monitor the cameras to make sure everyone and everything is safe, to make sure the cabinets are locked so that everybody can eat tomorrow and the next day.  You are the one that has to sleep lightly and wake up at any little noise in order to make sure that everybody else can sleep peacefully and safely through the night.

The lengths you go to in order to provide a safe environment for your trauma child to heal and the lengths you go to in order to keep everyone – including pets – safe in your house is not over-the-top.  It’s not over-reacting.  You don’t need to “Raise your fear threshold” as one social worker told me after one sibling tried to kill the other with a baseball bat. You are doing the right thing.  It feels weird, because it’s not normal.  But neither is the past of this child.  Neither is the information that was programmed into their brain long before you came into the picture.  That doesn’t make this way of doing things wrong.  It doesn’t make it over the top or over-reacting.  The only people who can understand are the ones who have lived it, and the few professionals who actually are qualified to work with trauma kids.  This is not about “being a control freak”.  This is not about YOU.  This is 100% and totally about this child – and any other child living in the home – and keeping everyone safe and providing an environment for healing to occur.  This is at YOUR expense, your “fun” budget is out the window with electronics, your sleep is out the window with door or window alarms, your food budget is out the window every time you or someone with access forgets to lock up the food, your peace of mind is nonexistent because you are always on guard, always watching, always making safety the first priority.

You are a freakin’ rock star.  You are my hero.  Even though things are to the point where you have to do these things, you are still hanging in there, still trying.  You have not given up on them.  You are balancing the safety of yourself and everyone on a very thin line, hoping it won’t get to the point where you can no longer keep the child and others safe – you are willing to give up every second of free time, not to mention decent sleep for years – for this child that, well, to be blunt, hates you with their entire heart and lets you know it every waking moment of their entire existence.

You are an amazing parent, an amazing human being.  You deserve a medal.  You deserve more than a medal.  I applaud you.  Whether you’re a foster parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, whatever-parent, your love for this child is truly sacrificial and it WILL make a difference in their lives, in their brains, eventually.  Because they can’t say it yet, I will:  THANK YOU.

Dear Teachers….

In your classroom are 20 – 30 – 40 kids that you don’t really know.  You have a really, REALLY tough job of trying to teach these little minds some information they will need for the rest of their lives and you are constricted by a lot of things.  I get that.  I feel for you.  I really do.  Quite frankly, your job is sometimes impossible.  There’s no way for you to get to know 30 kids and know how each one learns and be able to provide, by yourself, everything that kid needs to be successful in learning.  I know this.  I respect and admire you for what you do and what you have to put up with… and tenfold when it comes to my kid.  And now I’m asking for your help by bringing some things to your attention.

I do want to share some things that you are doing that are triggering our kids, and when our kids are triggered, their behavior gets worse and sometimes uncontrollable, which makes your job more difficult.  Family.  These projects – bringing in baby photos, family trees, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, talking about race within families, talking about adoption, these things trigger our kids emotionally, and that triggers their behaviors.  This makes your job much more difficult, and our lives more difficult.  And you probably have no idea why it’s even happening.

Baby photos?  Its quite possible they don’t have any.  And bringing in a photo of them at 5, if that’s the earliest they have, and sticking it up when the other kids have real baby pictures makes the child stand out at a time when these children just want to fit in with everybody else.  It makes the other children ask questions about things that the child may not be ready or willing to share yet.  How about just their favorite picture of themselves?

Family trees – what do you have when you have a bio family, three foster families, are currently living in an adoptive home but the adoption isn’t finalized?  How do you pick what your family tree is then?  Or what if you’re adopted internationally, and have no idea who your bio family is?  How hurtful is that?

Mothers Day and Fathers Day – there are lots of issues here.  Some kids’ mothers, fathers have passed.  You usually don’t know the background on the kid – are they a foster kid? Raised by step-parents, grandparents?  If they were in foster care, did they spend the first 3 years of their life in a bathtub because mom didn’t want to pick them up from the day they were born, nearly starving to death, hips dislocated, unable to move, until they were rescued at age 3, the size of a 4 month old?  Celebrate THAT version of motherhood?  Fathers who beat their mothers, sometimes to death in front of the child, and the kid is now in foster care or has been adopted – you wouldn’t necessarily know the background on this.  But the kid does.

Talking about race.  We need to talk about race and differences in the classroom from day one, yes, absolutely.  But when talking about it within families, make sure not to make generalizations.  Assume at least 1/3 of your classroom has different race siblings for whatever reason, and that it’s no big deal – unless you make it a big deal.  If it’s adoption, and the adopted child is in your classroom, pointing out the differences to that child only makes them feel more alienated, hurts them more, already feeling like an outside within their own family (through no fault of the adoptive family, that’s just a part of the adoption loss).  For younger kids, when you bring books in with kids of mixed race in the same family, etc. so that even in the books it seems normal.  This will not only benefit the kids whose families are “different”, but will help the other kids see that it’s ok, even the books have families like that!

And finally, talking about adoption.  It’s a good thing. (Don’t compare it to adopting a pet, please, because people do return pets for various reasons.)  But please don’t point out the kid that was adopted or ask the kid to do a presentation on “what it feels like to be adopted”.   These are big feelings and need to be shared with a therapist, not a classroom.  And please don’t assume adoption is happy thing.  There is always, ALWAYS loss on the part of the child, and there is always pain.  So talking about it as a fact, it exists, there’s many reasons for it, it doesn’t mean anything bad on the part of the adoptee, etc is fine.  But painting a rainbow picture of it only makes a traumatized kid hurt worse.  (I’m bringing this up because one teacher kept talking about how she gave a baby up for adoption in her classroom, was constantly showing pictures of “her” child, not realizing how much pain she was causing some other children in her class.)

So just for planning sake – assume 1/3 of your class has biracial or multiracial parents/siblings/families, 1 of the children in your class has witnessed the murder of a parent by another parent, 7 of the kids in your class are adopted, 4 are foster kids, 5 are trauma kids, 2 have had a parent either die or abandon them.  (I made up these numbers, these are not statistics.)

Does that mean I’m asking you to stop doing all the projects you like to do with your kids?  No.  But I am asking you to be aware of the triggers, especially with Mothers Day and Fathers Day, and the rest of the projects just be careful of your wording so it’s broad enough to include everybody.  I know it’s hard already and what I’m asking you to do makes it harder.

You’d be surprised at how many kids in your classroom act out because they are trauma kids, and you don’t even know it.  These are some of the triggers that make them act out that can be avoided, if you keep these things in mind.

Thank you for all that you do.  Thank you for all your hard work in teaching the young minds with all the restrictions and tests and things they have you doing, rather than just teaching the children.  I appreciate you so much.

And as far as my kids’ teachers are concerned, because some of them read this blog – YOU ROCK.  And Mrs. L and Mrs. K (retired) – you are ROCKSTARS!

Shame on you?

I read an article where William Paul Young, the author of The Shack, uses this line to describe shame.  He said, “Shame destroys your ability to distinguish between a value statement and an observation.”  While that may also be used to describe our children, if they come from abused backgrounds, foster care, etc, when I first read it, I saw it how it perfectly applies to us – as RAD parents, as parents to traumatized, troubled children.

We are so used to getting judged for our children’s actions and behaviors, as if we are the cause of it, as if we “broke” them, by teachers, by neighbors, by strangers.  We are so used to getting criticized for our parenting techniques because it’s not the “norm”.  Pretty soon everybody who says boo to us seems to be judging and criticizing us.  I’ve seen it happen in my friends of kids from hard places, I’ve seen it in myself.  And sometimes – we are wrong, because we no longer can distinguish between a value statement and an observation.

Why are you ashamed, parents?  Why are we ashamed?  We should stand proud and strong for what we’ve endured (the general public has NO idea) and how we’ve continued on, loving the unlovable, trudging on through destroyed homes, physical injury, intrusive visits by CPS on false allegations, even outrageous ones (my kid says he’s never fed? he’s obese, you see that?  does he look to you like he’s never fed? are you kidding me, not only that the school called you about this but that you didn’t take one look at him and walk away? he’s wearing Ralph Lauren for craps sake!), the exhaustion, mental and physical and emotional exhaustion, the cost of it all – friendships, family, an actual “life”, and the dreams we had of what having a family meant.  And yet here we are, at yet another therapy appointment, caffeine in hand.  Be proud, people!  You are doing amazing work!  You are accomplishing what the faint of heart could not!

Stop being ashamed of who you are and what you do.  Stop being ashamed for who your kids are.  In the old days, people were ashamed if their kids had any kind of deformity.  We look back on that and think, how stupid.  In today’s society, with adoption and international travel, it’s the same.  Just because not all of society has caught up doesn’t change the fact that we should stand tall and proud.  If we need to educate people in the moment, do it.  But do it standing tall and proud, stand your ground.  You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.  You are not doing anything wrong.  Let people talk as you carry your screaming child out of the mall.  You don’t care.  They are nothing to you – you are the proud survivor mom of a survivor kid, a kid who is fighting for their life and you are fighting right along with them to give them a chance at that life.

You are strong, you are educated in this field, you are an expert in your child.  You are a rock star.  Never be ashamed.

-realmom

There is no me without you

Reading a heartbreaking post online about a mom who couldn’t protect her children from her child with RAD, and so the child had to be turned over to the state.  Since then, the child has acted perfectly (of course).  When the mom visited, the child called this new temporary foster mom “mom” and acted like her mom was nobody to her, breaking her mom’s heart, and her sister’s heart, because they had given so much for so long and put up with so much… only to be looked upon as if they were the problem, or liars.

This is not unusual.

There is a song that says “there is no me without you”.  With our kids, however, it is literal.  There is no them.  They are a shell, a mass of emotions and explosions, but the “person” part – the part that we would call who we are, seems to be missing.  They are a reaction to the environment around them.  That’s how they’ve survived so far.  It becomes really apparent in some kids when you change their environment.  They like what other kids like, they do what other kids do – these are not close relationships I’m talking about here – even if at home it is something that they absolutely hate to eat or do.  Sometimes it’s simply manipulative, a way to push our buttons and prove us liars or wrong, but sometimes – this is “who they are” at that moment, because there isn’t a solid them within.  They are like a wisp of smoke inside, not solid.

We have tried for years to differentiate our child with RAD from his brothers, tried to find out what he likes instead of just copying what his brothers do, find out what his interests are, and were frustrated that we couldn’t find anything that he liked or was interested in. Once his brothers stopped doing something, his interest disappeared.  It completely baffled us until a therapist explained to us that he only “feels” when he gets a reaction from others, and it must be a strong reaction.  If he can do what his brothers are doing, he thinks he might feel what they feel when they are doing it, pleasure, pride, he doesn’t know but he does know they feel something.  When that doesn’t work, then he can ruin their time and get a big emotional response from them or us, then he gets a bit of emotion when he can upset the brothers or the family into chaos – he’s gotten a bit of feeling.  So he then does that.  But within him – there is nothing, no self-sense, if you will.

Just having that little bit of insight into him has helped put his antics into perspective.  If he can’t feel what they are feeling by copying them, they he’ll make them mad or upset to get some feeling.  He just wants to feel SOMETHING.  ANYTHING.  It seems like no matter how much positive we try to pour into this kid, he doesn’t feel it, the only time he feels is when he creates chaos within the family.  It’s helped me to bypass some of the things he does by knowing what’s probably coming, so he doesn’t ruin things for his brothers, and it’s also helped me not be so upset at him when he does create chaos, because I understand why.  The fixing, that we don’t have the answer to, but are still working on.  But at least we have a tiny glimpse of insight and understanding into this complex being of a child.

It does help.

-realmom

It’s your turn

I’ve talked a few times about how the retreat I went to in Orlando made such a difference in my life, and how meeting other moms with kids like mine (or worse!) saved my sanity, and how the support and camaraderie and friendship I get from my “tribe” has totally changed my life and my parenting when it comes to parenting these difficult children.   When I’m down, I can reach out via Facebook, text, phone call or private message and get instant responses.  There’s no one really close in my area that’s a part of the group, the closest is an hour away, so the online support means so much to me, and that’s why Orlando (and there are other places there are retreats, but Orlando is the original and the biggest currently) means so much to me.

The first year I went I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t expect anything, really.  I didn’t know much about the group, a blogger I followed was going, so I begged her for the information, because I’d never heard of such a thing (there’s others out there? Like us? really?).  It could have been a bunch of crazy women that I wanted to run from, or it could be a time of learning and picking their brains, because for us the diagnosis of RAD was brand new.  We were lost.  I was overwhelmed and lost.  If nothing else, I figured a few days in Orlando would be a good break for me.

Even before the retreat, I was able to get to know my housemates online.  I made friends.  We joked, we laughed, we shared stories.  They understood.  If I said I hated how my house always smelled like pee, they didn’t ask about my dog or cat.  They knew.  If I posted a picture of how my house had gotten destroyed in the 60 seconds it took me to pee, not only did they understand but most of them could produce worse.  🙂  When I had a great day, and connected with my child, they didn’t look at me oddly, they celebrated with me, understanding what a big moment it was.

These women (because it’s a mom’s retreat, sorry Dads, still working on the dad’s retreat) have become my best friends.  I didn’t go for relationships, but that’s what I came home with.  I’ve never been a person who’s had more than one best friend… but that household of women that first year – all newbies – became my best friends.  And every year I add to that number of people I can’t imagine my life without.  For my birthday this past year a bunch of us got together to celebrate.  Another group of us is planning on getting together this summer in another part of the country.  We may be scattered throughout the US and Canada, but thanks to technology, we are connected to each other instantly.  We are not alone.  We are never alone.

I can’t promise you that you’ll make your new besties if you go to this retreat.  I can say that you get what you put into it.  It’s a chance for a break, leave home and the stress behind you, come for a weekend of pampering, or of classes, or of spending a few days sunning by the pool.  This is a time for you to get what YOU need out of the time.  There’s lots of laughter, some tears (sometimes because of the laughter), some people come in a few days early and grab a hotel so they can hit the beach or Disney.  But during the conference – Friday night, Saturday, Sunday – all meals, lodging are taken care  of.  You can have your own room – a King size suite  – or share a twin room for cost purposes.  Transportation from and to the airport Friday and Monday mornings are provided as well.  Only “extras” will cost more.  Some women get mani/pedis, some get tattooes (we have a great tattoo shop down there we work with), we have a group that comes in and does massages cheap as well.  Every year there’s something different, it seems, but the extras are not required.

So if you’re hanging on by a hair, your last nerve is being twanged, and you feel utterly alone and not understood – come to the BeTA Retreat 2016.  It seems a long way off but as soon as you’re registered and assigned a house, you’ll start to meet the people online you’ll be sharing a house with.  You’ll get to know people before you get there.  Shy? Quiet? That’s ok.  Loud? Obnoxious?  That’s ok too.  (Guess which of those I am… ahem…)

Here’s the link to register.  And look me up when you get there.  (And Wonder Woman, yes, I know Wonder Woman.) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1FfriI5sQhthdH0mQc_W555h_8x1KNNhauWQQq19OUyA/viewform

Today in my newsfeed…

The media was talking about how the family – aunts, in particular – of the Boston Marathon Bomber (the living one) on what a nice boy he was when he was a child, how sweet he was, how he would never hurt a fly, etc etc.

Here’s why this matters to us:  This is one of our deepest fears.  That our child grows up and commits heinous crimes and kills innocent people, then sits there, passively, and doesn’t care one bit about the carnage he created.  At least that’s one of my fears that I keep pushing down so I don’t think about it, burying it as deep as I can.  But here’s this kid, who by all accounts had a decent upbringing and life and love up to at least age 8, according to this testimony – and look where he ended up.  So most of us got our kids and they did not have a great upbringing before age 8 or whatever age we got them at, there was trauma, addiction, whatnot.  This does NOT mean our kids will end up there.  Good parenting/life experience before age 8 does not guarantee a good person as an adult, and neither does bad experiences guarantee a bad person as an adult.

Just as that kid was changed by some radical whatever the excuse is into a sociopath, then why can’t our children be changed as well, with love, with therapy, with every resource we can possibly provide, why can’t we rewire their brains, little by little, piece by piece as well?  It doesn’t mean we’re going to see the results at age 10, or 18, or even 25, because the brain is still developing at that point.  But we are still making a difference.  Read that again.  WE ARE STILL MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

So don’t give up.  Don’t give up hope, don’t give up the future, don’t give up on your kid or yourselves.  There are no guarantees.  There are no magic pills or books or spells.  But the brain is an incredible thing.  It can be healing while it looks like it’s not.  Only time will tell.

Hang in there.  It’s a marathon.

-realmom

Mutha’s Day

Moms of kids from hard places see the Hallmark card commercials, of the little kids running in and giving these warm loving cards, drawing pictures, picking flowers for their moms, and a lot of times, cry at the pain of not having that experience.  They see their friends’ kids artwork on Facebook, breakfast in bed, burnt toast, happy smiling children spilling orange juice on your pillow in their excitement to give you the breakfast they made you, and moms with tears in their eyes at their baby growing up.  Moms of trauma kids, moms of foster kids, moms of RAD kids, moms of kids who rage and destroy and steal and lie, and instead of “I love you Mom” on Mother’s Day get “You mutha*&%$# c&^#! F%&^ you!”  School projects set off kids who have had other mothers, and the pain of losing them, the battle within them between love and hate, of letting go and letting love in and the fear of getting hurt again, rears it’s ugly head and the battle begins anew and the “day of celebration” becomes a battleground of pain and suffering on all sides.

Some moms dread this day.  They hate this day because it brings them pain for what they don’t have.  Hallmark and the card industry has given them the idea that this day should be perfect, sweet, and children should be smiling and obedient and happy.  Yeah, that’s television.  I’m here to tell you, trauma mommas, moms of kids from hard places, that while Mothers Day may be something you don’t celebrate because it causes pain to your child, you stand up proud and strong to be a mother.  You are the epitome of a true mother.  Your life is not sunshine and roses, hot dogs and apple pie.  You do not get the warm fuzzies and the hugs and the dandelions picked from the yard, messy kisses and muddy handprints on your shirt from the frequent hugs you get during the day.  You do not get the nice payback that other mothers get.  No, you get all your special glassware broken, your jewelry stolen, your computer hacked, your credit cards used, and your name drug through the mud as your child lies about how you treat them.  Yet you stand by your child, continually feeding, clothing, sheltering, providing for this child that gives you only pain and hate in return.  You love this child that hates you with a passion that you can’t believe exists in the body of a child.  You feel the pain of this child and cry tears for the pain this child has endured while said child lies awake at night planning your death.

You, dear trauma mommas, are the epitome of the word mother.  You are selfless, tireless, loving, giving, fighting for your child with the school, with mental health professionals, with residential treatment centers, with insurance companies, anyone who dares stand in the way between your child getting proper treatment and you.  You stay awake at night researching laws, insurance codes, therapists, everything you need to do to find the right help for your child.  You read books, attend seminars, conferences, and pretty much spend every penny on your child.  And you put up with the hate, the insults, the violence, the lies, the manipulations, the judgement of others, the interference of others sometimes, in your path to find healing for your child.  But you continue on, you hang in there, til your last breath, to the detriment of your own health, finances, relationships, family, and sometimes even your marriage.

You are worthy to be called mother.  You are truly WORTHY to be called mother.  The others, the Facebook cherub faced kids bringing breakfast to their mom – those moms are getting their paybacks every single day.  You get no payback, no rewards.  If they didn’t get those rewards, how would those moms react?  How would they react if their child started acting like YOUR child does?  They couldn’t begin to handle it, that’s what.  So stand proud, and strong, and wear that name MOTHER because you are what a mother truly is – a real mother.

You may not celebrate the day – but don’t run from it or be sad or ashamed.  Be proud.  You are one mutha of a mother.

-realmom