Monday, June 20, 2011

Self Care - Part II

I've had a lot going on in my personal life for the past couple of weeks, which explains the dearth of posting and my failure to get my series on self-care written last week as I had planned.

Most of what's been going on is good stuff, though it has resulted in a lot of unplanned scurrying around.  We had a big change at our house, but I'm going to refrain from sharing the details, because frankly I'm kind of tired of anonymous commenters criticizing my decisions.  It just gets old, sometimes.

Just over a week ago, my wife and I made a decision that will allow us to spend more time doing something that we love to do.  We made the decision to support our need for self-care.  I'm not going to share details, because I'm tired of people telling me I'm a bad parent because I choose to spend my time, money and resources on x, instead of y, but I will say that what we did is a good thing for us as a couple.

And maybe, just maybe, it will enable us to create some good family memories over the next couple of years before our child turns 18.  Or maybe it won't.  Maybe our kid will dive in and enjoy the opportunity for what it is, and maybe she won't.  If she doesn't, I'm not sure what difference it will make. If she is prone to being surly, sullen, grumpy and unhappy at home, why not allow her to be surly, sullen, grumpy and unhappy while we are doing something that we truly love?

I'm sure there will be plenty of people out there who will criticize my decision.  I guess the reality is that there are people out there who will criticize everything we do, even though they have never met us and haven't walked in our shoes.  Maybe that is just the reality of the Internet and the sad downside to blogging.

Corey, over at Watching the Waters, recently posted some criticism she received from our favorite nasty, Anonymous, and what was written there is pretty much the same B.S. I see over here on a regular basis.  It gets pretty old receiving the same tired, worn-out criticisms and being called a bad parent, when I opt not to battle my kid over trivia, or I don't give her something she wants because her behavior hasn't been good enough to warrant it.  It's pretty obnoxious when the person who is griping doesn't understand the context of the situation, and often hasn't bothered to read the entire post.

It's boring, and it often saps the motivation to blog right out of me.

Okay, fine, there's some of you out there who think my wife and I are crappy parents.  We hear it.  We get it.  Move along.

But the reality is that I know that I function better as a parent when I put my needs first. If I'm rested, content, and mostly happy with my lot in life, then I am much more capable of responding better to all of the crazy-making things my kid does.

So I think that one of the things adoptive parents must realize is that there are times when the financial resources must go to the parents, instead of the children.  Yes there's a balancing act, because some of the sickest children need expensive services, medical care, therapy or medications that are not covered by insurance.  There comes a point, though, where you have to ask yourself the following question:

Will spending money on y really make a lasting difference for my child?

If the answer is no, or maybe, perhaps it's time for a reallocation of resources.  Even if the answer is yes, parents need to ask themselves if the long-term consequences for the decision are healthy.  If spending huge amounts of money on a child's needs will bankrupt the family or empty out a couple's retirement fund, maybe it's not the thing to do.

Helping our children is important, most definitely.  However, ensuring our own future is equally  important.

For most parents, a day will come when their children no longer live at home.  It's important for us to plan for our health, welfare, and financial stability when that time comes.

So that is why we made the decision that we did.


  1. It was not me who was leaving anonymous comments on your blog. I would always sign it as LK. Even if it was a negative comment I would want you to know where it came from, because then you'd tell the world what a terrible person I was, and I would get more visitors to my blog as a result because there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Also, it is impossible to discuss such topics without pissing somebody off. So why try? I got two words for people who don't like what I have to say, I'm sure you can figure them out.

    If, however, you decide to back down, don't say what you damn well please or feel needs to be said out of fear that somebody is going to take offense to it, criticize it, rat you out to CPS, whatever, they win.

    Either way, we gotta toughen you up. How else will you ever make a difference?

  2. Damn straight. Being a good parent does not mean always putting your child's "wants" before your own. Our children's biggest need is for stable, mentally healthy parents who have the patience and stamina to deal with them.

  3. It took me too many years and tens of thousands of dollars (put on credit cards no less) to figure this one out. I felt like I had to try EVERYTHING to help my kids. I was depressed for weeks when I couldn't swing one type of therapy for 3 kids that would have run me over $300/week. I felt horrible guilt when I couldn't enroll 4 kids in a tutoring program that would have been upwards of $1,000/month. I was nuts. It took me much too long to realize that these kids would be GONE and I would be paying on these failed therapies for the rest of my life. I just had to start saying (and meaning) NO - and I did! It's been 3 years now and with a ridiculous amount of belt=tightening, most of the debt is gone. Of course one of the kids is gone, another is leaving in 10 mos and another a year later so it's not like we have time to develop a nest egg - and we are much older now than when we began this journey - but nevertheless, it's happening. Self care is so...important, and the one thing we NEVER budget for. Vitamin supplements that cost $300/month? We found a way. $50 for dinner and a movie once every 6 months? nope, could never do it. I regret that the most.

    Try to ignore the haters, they have no clue...


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