Tuesday Topic:Tips for Hard Days

I got an email from a friend that seemed just perfect for this week’s Tuesday Topic:

I would LOVE to see a post along the lines of: if you can’t remember one therapeutic parenting thing you’ve ever read because things are so bad and you feel like you’re drowning, just tape these three (or five or ten or whatever) to your fridge!  Seriously, some mornings I just feel like “if I can remember one thing to do today, I might be OK.”

Okay friends, let’s collect our best, simple tips and share them.  Don’t hold back.  The idea that just floated through your head, that you think probably won’t help anyone, may be just the thing another parent needs to hear.

As always, I’ll hold your responses until next Tuesday, June 22nd (or soon after depending on what life brings), and post them all at once.

Encourage one another.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

14 Comments

  1. darci
    June 15, 2010

    teehee.."I am the grown-up". Seriously, it helps! 🙂

    Reply
  2. bonnie
    June 15, 2010

    When all else fails – be sure and get in 10 hugs. And try to wear them out physically (the park or swimming or bike riding) And above all be gentle with yourself so that you can face the next day.

    Reply
  3. Megan
    June 15, 2010

    On my hardest days with the kids my greatest fear is that I will lose my focus on Christ and will begin to react out of fear and anger instead of out of compassion and grace. Two things help me most:

    1) Get out of the house and make some fun for the children. Head to a park. Be a blessing to another family by helping them with yard work, chores, or helping to care for their children.

    2) Crank the music – specifically music that reflects the Word of God. It doesn’t matter to me if it is kids praise music, adult praise music, or direct Bible verses set to music, but I need this reminder – fun, serious, and loud to keep my heart and my mind stayed on Christ. Some of my favorites are Sovereign Grace Kids, and Seeds of Faith. Music helps lighten the weight of trauma in our home.

    Reply
  4. Tami
    June 15, 2010

    I've never commented here before, but read all the time….. Right now for me, I find it's most important for me to remember to breathe when things get intense. I find myself getting tense and holding my breath and then I really struggle to stay calm. In the moment I'm learning to walk away, or just turn my back until I can remain calm. When I'm not calm there is no hope for my child!
    Deep breathing has really helped my younger daughter as well. My husband came up with a way to make breathing deep into a little game with her. She cooperates much better when we find our way back to "playful". He holds his palm in front of her and asks her to breath on his hand. He moves it back, just a bit, if she doesn't take and release a deep breath. He keeps moving his hand back further and faster as she does better breathing. By the end they are often laughing and ready for a "do over".

    Reply
  5. Sarah
    June 15, 2010

    Remember to hug your child that doesn't seem to want a hug.

    Reply
  6. Carly Debevec
    June 15, 2010

    Hi Lisa!
    I have a Q-TIP in my Bible and in my purse, and taped to the mirrors in my house- especially my bathroom where I can lock the door to 'escape' if needed. Sarah Padbury from Project 1.27 LOVE class training (Aurora, CO) gives these out to remind parents to Quit Taking It Personally. So, when one of my five adopted (and maybe sometimes the bio kids!) is really having a rough time, when I am being called names, and being hit or spit upon, when I have nothing left, I remember to Quit Taking It Personally. It is not about me. It is about fear, looking an awful lot like anger and hatred. It is about a hurt child. After I can step back and remember this, it is easier to say, "I choose to love you, even when you spit on me or call me names, or stay things you think will hurt me, or even when you try to hurt me, I still choose to love you. I am your mom, your "real" mom. I am not your birth mother, but I wish I was so you didn't have to hurt like this. I will always choose to love you."

    Reply
  7. Shannon
    June 15, 2010

    Are you kidding… I just need the answers!

    Actually I just thought of one. Write another Adoptive Parents phone number down and call it. It's the only thing that got me through those tough tough weeks.

    Reply
  8. Kerrie
    June 16, 2010

    1. Ten hugs. Even though you really (REALLY) don't want to.
    2. Saying, "hmm, you wonder about that," and "well that's a different way to look at that," instead of arguing.
    3. During a rage, saying nothing but, "this is really hard. I'm right here."
    4. Look for something (anything- even getting dressed) they did right and toss out a Skittle.
    5. When you can smell One of Those Days, structure their time. Assign activities and change them every 15 minutes.

    Works for me. Sometimes.

    Reply
  9. Sarah
    June 16, 2010

    My best tip: Have a safe person that YOU can talk to. On the rough days, when I am home by myself with all 3 kids and things get really hard, what I need most is someone to talk to. Often, though, I can't call my husband and burden him while he's at work, my family doesn't get it, and most of my friends can't/don't want to understand. What has been a lifesaver for me, is finding that one person that I can call or go visit and safely vent to. Sometimes just saying the hard things, expressing how I really feel (including the ugly, angry stuff) to someone who understands and won't judge is the best medicine.

    Reply
  10. Elizabeth
    June 16, 2010

    I don't have a simple tip, but I do have two Bible verses. There were some days, at the beginning of my relationship with my son, that I was too drained, physically and emotionally, to even make use of one simple therapeutic parenting idea. It was those days where I so grateful for a couple of Bible verses I memorized that would play over and over in my head. They were quite literally life saving. They were:

    "Do no fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my mighty right hand." Isaiah 41:10

    and

    "I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined to me and heard my cry. He lifted out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on the rock; gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:1-2

    I know the only way my son and I made it through those early days was through God's provision and grace.

    Reply
  11. Jen
    June 17, 2010

    Pray.
    Call a good friend who can hear you say "it is SO hard" without judging you and will then tell you the truth: "yes, it is hard – and it is worth it!" If you don't have one of these friends, tell one of your good friends that this is what you need her to say to you next time you call!
    Pray.
    Play worship music, let the kids dance, sit on the couch and eat chocolate (and share with the dancing kids – maybe! )
    Pray.
    Put the kids to bed early and re-connect with your husband. Even when you think you don't have the energy.
    Take a walk.
    Laughter. Have you gotten enough lately?
    Sleep. Have you gotten enough lately?
    Coffee. Have you gotten enough lately?
    S*x. Have you gotten enough lately?
    Pray.

    Reply
  12. Nancy
    June 18, 2010

    There are many {too many?} times that I resort to rambling to the Lord. I'd like to call it prayer, but honestly ramblings is probably more appropriate.
    Lord, help me remember appreciate that I am the best mama for the children you have placed in my care. God, I know you didn't make a single mistake, and I am the BEST person in the whole world to be this child's mama. I know no other woman could do it better than me because you alone picked me to be her mama. Help me do the best I know how to do today. And when this is done, let me know it IS enough because it is the best I can do.

    There is consolation for me in knowing that He picked me (crazy as if feels at that very unperfect moment) as the PERFECT mama to His child. There is consulation for me in knowing that I won't be a perfect mother, and yet He still picked me among the gazillions of really fabulous women. There is consolation for me in knowing that I can only do the best that I know how to do at that moment and that that is enough.

    Maybe someone can send me back these exact thoughts the next time things get crazy wompus. I'll need it.

    Nancy

    Reply
  13. Heather Antoine
    June 18, 2010

    When the kids were younger, baths worked like a charm! It still works pretty well now, too (they are 7 and 5 years). Getting them to do some kind of activity outside that makes their bodies work hard also works for us most of the time. A dance party in the living room is always fun, too. None of those are from books, but things I've found work for us that don't require a lot of effort on my part. 🙂

    Reply
  14. dorothy
    June 18, 2010

    Truth? When the going gets too hard sometimes the best thing I can do it to put myself into time-out. I call a family meeting, sit them all down and tell them that I have had enough of my job for the day – I'm going to sit on my backside in the big chair and read a novel because I am about to not be a nice mommy….and anyone that wants to fight/scream/destroy/steal or whatever will be assigned to lay around my chair like greyhounds and be still until I am ready to think about starting again. It works for me – and I am amazed at how many times I end up with five resting (and sleeping) little ones around my feet who just desperatly needed to be still – absolutly still for an hour. If I can't remember anything else I can always remember to take a mommy time out.

    Reply

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