I want you to know something. Most of the time when I write, I aim to encourage people by sharing real life — oftentimes, this means opening up about the daily struggles of life and the challenges of being a foster mom.
As a foster mom, I often fall into the dangerous pit of self-martyr-dom. OH, WOE IS MEEEEEEE. LIFE IS SO HARD. I’VE SACRIFICED SO MUCH FOR THESE KIDS. FOSTER KIDS ARE SO HARD. I WISH PEOPLE WOULD JUST DROP EVERYTHING AND HELP MEEEE.
But the other day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not doing myself any favors by acting like this.
Yes, foster parenting is hard.
But so is parenting.
As a foster mom, I want to say it out loud: Mamas, you are doing hard work. You are doing good work.
It doesn’t matter if the children in your home are fostered, adopted or biological — parenting is still hard work.
We are all up in the night. We are all fighting battles at the dinner table. We are all elbow-deep in dishwater and sweeping the floors and changing diapers and doing the laundry.
We are all struggling to find the energy to put into our marriages and to find the time to put into our friendships.
We are all struggling to balance “me time” and “everyone else time,” and I bet we are all staying up later or getting up earlier than we want.
We are all dealing with tantrums and struggles and the great joys of watching a child achieve something monumental like taking their first steps or actually swallowing a bite of applesauce or being in public without an epic meltdown.
We are all fighting our own personal battles of anxiety or a broken marriage or a broken family or lack of support. We are all living in this world that is full of sin and brokenness, and it affects us all every single day.
Are there unique challenges as foster moms that many biological Moms don’t have to face? Absolutely. But that’s not what we are talking about right now.
Right now, I’m talking about the fact that I never want to belittle you, Mamas. No matter what form of mothering you are doing, it is hard work. I never want you to look at me as a foster mom and think that I’m doing better work than you are.
It’s not true. You are doing your work. You are doing the work that God has called you to, whether that’s mothering one child, two children, three children, seven children, foster children, step children, adopted children or any combination in between.
I want you to know that when I say foster parenting is hard, I don’t mean to say that parenting is not hard. It is. I just mean that fostering can often add another facet to parenting that I’ve never had to deal with before.
The other day I read an Instagram post that rubbed me the wrong way. In it, the poster talked about how much they hated it when moms complained about snow days. You see, this mom had gone through the unthinkable — she had lost an infant. She was offended that people complained about snow days when she would do anything to have another day with her child.
I hurt for this mama. I hurt for the mamas who are going through the unimaginable. But at the same time? That’s completely unfair. Sure, no one has the right to complain — about anything. But when one mama feels a lot of strong emotions about a snow day, it’s unfair to throw it back at her, telling her its invalid. If one mama is having a hard time with her first baby, it would be unfair for me to throw it back at her, telling her that it’s invalid because she only has one kid. If one mama is struggling with something, it’s unfair for any other mama to belittle her and say that’s not a valid struggle.
As a foster mom, I am tempted to do the same thing. I am tempted to belittle those who are not foster moms. I am tempted to call their struggles and their fears and their circumstances invalid.
But that’s a lie. That’s a big lie.
Foster parenting is hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting is a joy. Parenting is parenting. I see you, Mama…no matter how many babies you are cuddling and no matter what the circumstances are.
Your joys and your fears and your struggles are all valid.