Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Top 10 Tips for dating the single foster/adoptive mom
1. I'm looking for someone who will effortlessly fit into our busy complicated lives. You must be able to go with the flow, you will not be the number one priority...depending on the week, you may not be number 2, 3, 4, or 5 either. Not only am I taking care of myself and the kids, but I have to deal with birth families, caseworkers, agency workers, CASA's, GAL's, Judges, Therapists, Counselors, School Guidance Counselors, Teachers, Principals, Doctors, and a variety of other specialists.
2. I spend my day taking care of everyone's needs no matter how small, I have no more energy to take care of you. Please do not be needy, If I don't respond to your text or call you back.....I'm busy and if I'm not busy it is probably because I let the kids have a roll of tape and told them to have fun so I could lie down for the only 15 minutes of peace I am getting today, so I'm going to relax (or watch The Real Housewives of Wherever).
3. I am surrounded by real crisis and trauma, if you want to talk about how awful your cushy life is go somewhere else. Same goes for your solution to world problems, instead of telling me how your going to save the world or everything that is wrong with the "system", why don't you just come up with a solution to get my kids birthparents a job and decent housing....that I might be interested in.
4. If I tell you about the problematic behaviors of my kids, please don't tell me 'Boys will be Boys' or some other cliché remark. I'm not an idiot, these kids problems go way beyond not wanting to share their toys or getting dirty in the backyard. We're on a date so odds are whatever I just told you is the tip of the iceberg, peeing off a balcony onto the people below us or throwing a DVD player at a baby didn't seem like appropriate stories for a first date. I'm also not looking for parenting suggestions....unless you happen to be a child psychologist specializing in loss and trauma. (On a side note: any single male child psychologists specializing in loss and trauma who are halfway decent looking.....feel free to call me!)
5. I spend all day making decisions, I want someone to make decisions for me. I could care less where we go for dinner, I've been eating macaroni and cheese for a week straight. Any movie that isn't G rated will be just fine with me (as long as you buy me the large tub of popcorn with extra butter).
6. Finding a babysitter is like finding a needle in a haystack. Even if I can find one who has passed all background checks and is still willing to stick around after having experienced an evening in my house, odds are I will not be able to drop everything and go out to dinner with you with an hour notice. If we do go out it will probably have to be relatively close to my house so I can rush back when the kids lock the babysitter out of the house or set a coloring book on fire. Furthermore, you will be lucky to get one evening a week so don't push it or complain that you can see me enough...see tip #1.
7. Getting the kids to bed is a complicated torturous matter. The likelihood of me falling asleep while I put the kids to bed at 8 is very high, so don't call me late unless you've texted to see if I'm up. If I am talking to you on the phone, the likelihood that I will have to quickly hang up after hearing large crashing noises and "MOMMY!!!!" is also very high. Don't take it personally if you don't hear back from me.
8. Privacy is important, I probably wont be able to tell you everything you want to know. If you are out with all of us, you will be stared at, there will be whispers and when a clerk asks you if they are all yours, just say "Aren't they great!" and move on. If you're embarrassed easily, I'm not the girl for you, a typical trip to the grocery store involves having to use WIC, at least three tantrums complete with a child screaming "You're hurting me" when I'm at the other end of the aisle, and a pat down for stolen candy in pockets. I will then proceed to pack all the kids into my Lexus SUV at which point someone will tell me to stop having kids and using their tax dollars to scam the system. I will smile and wave, because its all I can do.
9. My kids may share pieces of their story with you, it may be horrific and shocking, just listen and be there for them. Then tell me so I can determine what needs to be done next. Remember tip #8 and don't tell your church prayer group to pray for so and so because x,y,z happened to him.
10. These kids are cute, I get it! However, many of them have attachment and trauma issues due to their past. They can manipulate and triangulate with the best of them, please check with me before, during, and after anything. I have to be viewed as the sole authority figure and caregiver, do not give them something to eat or let them watch a TV show without checking with me first. Defer to any and all decisions I make. If you don't agree or don't want to do that, head right out the front door. Feel free to go straight to Children Services where you can go through the LONG foster/adopt training and licensure process, wait an indeterminate amount of time and get your own kids to help deal with trauma and loss. I will then happily come over and fill them up with candy while they watch inappropriate cartoons on TV and tell them how all your rules are silly :)