In a support for RAD moms forum, one mom wrote this: “It makes ME crazy to go to bed angry because of an explosion that destroyed everyone in the house…and then wake up and pretend to be happy to see this child!!!!! This is not “normal”!!!!”
She got a lot of responses, ranging from “suck it up buttercup” to “God won’t give you any more than you can handle”. But the responses seemed to deal more with what she should “do” rather than her feelings about it all. My response was a little different and I’ve expounded on it here (because it’s my blog, and I can, LOL).
You’re right. This is not normal. Pretty much nothing about our daily lives with trauma kids is normal. From pee and poop hiding to rages, lying about whether or not the sun is up today or if they brushed their teeth, from charming little angels at school to dervish devils at home… none of this is normal.
We are all human. And humans can’t take abuse day after day and get up with a smile on their face. I think that the responses of moms are right in the fact that you are working to meet with your kids where they are – some are ready to accept the responsibility for their actions, so you are demanding apologies and restitution, some kids are just using tantrums as power so you ignore the entire thing – but you also need to accept where YOU are through all of this. It’s ok not to wake up and be happy and bubbly after a day of hell! In fact, if you do, I’d daresay THAT’S not normal!
This where the self-care comes in. Give yourself a big ole treat of some kind. SOMETHING. Something that you can do when the kids are in bed, whether it be wine or chocolate or read a smutty book – whatever, you deserve it and you earned it – reward yourself for getting through that. STOP buying your kids things out of guilt for making a mistake or losing your cool or not being perfect or because their life was filled with such trauma before you that they are living this and buy yourself something for a change – and most of all NO GUILT!!! you are already doing the impossible – how can you possibly feel guilty for not being perfect on top of that???
(That’s my new motto! kids didn’t get new school clothes this year, they got tons of perfectly fine clothes- I get a new wardrobe!)
Remember that our kids can turn on and off their emotions, even not remember their rages and tantrums, and most of what they show us daily is fake. They don’t really feel what they show a lot of the time. But you, the parent, ARE feeling what you’re feeling and show what you are feeling because you are human. So don’t punish yourself. Reward yourself for surviving – and won, because you woke up the next morning, crabby or not, you still got up and were still there to try again – even if you woke up in a hotel because you needed a break!
Hang in there. Give yourself a break, literally and figuratively.