Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

Taking Care of Yourself When Parenting Harder to Parent Kids

May 14, 2021 Creating a Family Season 15 Episode 20
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
Taking Care of Yourself When Parenting Harder to Parent Kids
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Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
Taking Care of Yourself When Parenting Harder to Parent Kids
May 14, 2021 Season 15 Episode 20
Creating a Family

Do you sometimes feel that self-care is an impossible goal when you are parenting kids who have experienced trauma. There isn't enough time in the day to do it all, much less take care of yourself. Or is there? Join us to talk about how to find time to take care of yourself. We will talk with Angelica Jones, MSW, Program Director of Intercountry Services and the Intensive Service Foster Care Recruiter and Trainer at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.

In this episode, we cover:

·      “Selfcare” or “take care of yourself” are overused but still vitally important terms for  foster, adoptive, and kinship parents.

·      Why do all parents but especially parents of kids who’ve experienced trauma need to practice self-care?

·      What is secondary trauma?

·      Why are kids who’ve experience neglect, abuse and other childhood traumas harder to  parent?

·      The busyness of foster and adoptive parenting.

·      What are some of the barriers to taking care of ourselves as adoptive, foster or kinship parents?

·      The importance of respite care and the barriers to parents using it.

·      Practical ideas for providing self-care.

·      Think small when thinking self-care.

·      Ask for help and accept it when offered. If someone offers to help, say “yes” and suggest something specific. Ex. A meal on Wednesday night. Babysitting or taking a child to the movies once a month.

·      Parent Support groups


This podcast is produced  by www.CreatingaFamily.org. We are a national non-profit with the mission to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. Creating a Family brings you the following trauma-informed, expert-based content:
·         Weekly podcasts
·         Weekly articles/blog posts
·        Resource pages on all aspects of family building 

Support the show (https://creatingafamily.org/donation/)

Show Notes Transcript

Do you sometimes feel that self-care is an impossible goal when you are parenting kids who have experienced trauma. There isn't enough time in the day to do it all, much less take care of yourself. Or is there? Join us to talk about how to find time to take care of yourself. We will talk with Angelica Jones, MSW, Program Director of Intercountry Services and the Intensive Service Foster Care Recruiter and Trainer at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.

In this episode, we cover:

·      “Selfcare” or “take care of yourself” are overused but still vitally important terms for  foster, adoptive, and kinship parents.

·      Why do all parents but especially parents of kids who’ve experienced trauma need to practice self-care?

·      What is secondary trauma?

·      Why are kids who’ve experience neglect, abuse and other childhood traumas harder to  parent?

·      The busyness of foster and adoptive parenting.

·      What are some of the barriers to taking care of ourselves as adoptive, foster or kinship parents?

·      The importance of respite care and the barriers to parents using it.

·      Practical ideas for providing self-care.

·      Think small when thinking self-care.

·      Ask for help and accept it when offered. If someone offers to help, say “yes” and suggest something specific. Ex. A meal on Wednesday night. Babysitting or taking a child to the movies once a month.

·      Parent Support groups


This podcast is produced  by www.CreatingaFamily.org. We are a national non-profit with the mission to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. Creating a Family brings you the following trauma-informed, expert-based content:
·         Weekly podcasts
·         Weekly articles/blog posts
·        Resource pages on all aspects of family building 

Support the show (https://creatingafamily.org/donation/)

Please pardon the errors.  This is an automatic transcription.

0:00  
Welcome everyone to Creating a Family Talk about Foster Care and Adoption. I am Dawn Davenport and  I am the host of this show as well as the director of the nonprofit creating a family. We provide as a nonprofit, lots of resources for you that are free and on our site. So pop over there and check it out at creating a family.org. Today we're going to be talking about taking care of ourselves or self care for those who are parenting, let's just say harder to parent kids. Kids who've experienced trauma are often harder to parent. And one of the things that parents need to be doing is taking care of themselves. Today we're going to be talking with Angelica Jones. She goes by Angie. She has a masters of social work and is the program director of inner country services and the intensive service foster care recruiter in training program at VISTA Del Mar Children and Family Services. Welcome, Angie, thank you so much for joining us today to talk about self care. You know, it's such an overwrought term, it's such an overdone term, take care of yourself or self care. It's just it's overused, but it's so vitally important. And it's especially important to the parents that we seek to serve foster adoptive and kinship parents. So let me start by asking you, I just said that it was important, but why why do all parents but especially parents of kids who've experienced trauma need to practice self care? Now well, thank

1:36  
you so much for having me. You know, there are many reasons why right? And I think one of the, the big reasons is vicarious trauma. And you are truly listening to these kids stories and bearing witness to the pain and fear that they've been through. And so that puts a toll on you, which then I think connects to compassion, fatigue. And then in that sense, you're absorbing that trauma. And that could create a secondary response within you as the caregiver. If for nothing else, you're less effective as a caregiver, because it leads directly to burnout. The secondary trauma does. Exactly, exactly.

2:21  
You know, in addition, you know, I alluded to this at the beginning. And it's not that it's these children's fault, but often they are harder to parent because of behavioral challenges, emotional health issues, school learning deficit disabilities, and and that's just tiring if nothing else.

2:41  
Yes, definitely. I mean, there's a lot of aspects that you have to think about. And so you're always, you know, as a parent, you're always thinking about your child, but as a parent to a child who is harder to parent because of that trauma. You're, you're there's a there's another layer there for you.

3:04  
Yeah, absolutely. You know, there's probably not a resource parent or adoptive parents out there, who is secretly on some level rolling their eyes at the thought of Oh, yeah, somebody is going to tell me that I've got the time to practice self care, being a foster or an adoptive parent, especially if children have experienced trauma, is there's just so much to do. They are just, our lives are just so busy. Let us count the ways. You know, on one hand, can you just name off some things that is a in the typical life of a foster parent or the adoptive parent? Who's adopted a child at an older age or a child who experienced trauma? Yes.

3:51  
So there are therapies, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dentist's appointment, regular doctor's appointments, school, if they're school aged. I mean, there are so many different things and then all coupled all with with challenges that, you know, that could go into, I don't want to go to the doctor's appointment, and what does that look like for you? Yeah, I, especially with the foster parents doing visits with the biological family visits with social workers, there are other you know, other professionals that you're meeting especially if that child is a part of a wraparound team, they have different professionals that come in, and then you have Child and Family team meetings where you're meeting with all of them, you know, at least once a month and it can happen way more than that. So there are definitely a ton of meetings and appointments weekly and monthly.

4:52  
Yeah, and throw on top of that, because this is so relevant has been so relevant in my life. homework, homework. 10, nada, and In addition to everything you just said, there's some of the additional parenting challenges. And then just Is that normal parents are facing, but ours are harder because if our kids have got learning disabilities are any of the other educational challenges, having a child refusing to do homework or having to get navigate with the school about how much homework is fair, and then trying to get them cajole, and trying to come up with ways to make it less onerous for the child to get their homework done? I'm tired just talking about it.

5:33  
Yeah, and and i think adding to that is not every child learns the same. So trying to navigate, how is my child? How does my child learn? And how do we get that properly assessed at school? And how can they get through this process?

5:49  
Yes. And then we're adding IEP meetings on to everything else. necessary, but still, just one more darn thing that we parents are expected to, to add to our schedule. At the same time, we're being told that we need to take care of ourselves. But you know, in addition to the, the general business, let me ask what, what are some of the barriers that you see foster parents or adoptive parents, or any parent raising a child who's experienced trauma? What are some of the barriers to taking care of ourselves?

6:21  
So I think a big a big one that I've been thinking about a lot is, as a parent, who's in the, you know, doing the foster situation, or an adoptive parent, you are you think this was my choice? So why am I gonna put the burden on anyone else? But you also have to remember that you have community here, right? And, and, and your friends and your family. And I think going into that, just basically, knowing that, yes, you are a caregiver to this harder to parent child, but you, you are worthy of that help. And that's something that, you know, it's hard to ask for with parents and caregivers. And, you know, a lot of you know, your friends or family could say, Call me if you need anything, you know, and and, and it's like, oh, what do I need? So just thinking, just thinking of those small things that you might need. And being specific. You know,

7:23  
I also wonder if if some of our identity is not just tied up in the idea that we are caretakers, not care receivers? You know, and it's, it's often we're uncomfortable being on the receiving end of care.

7:40  
Yes, yeah.

7:42  
You're weak or needy. And that's, that's not how we identify. And so I think that adds an additional complication to to being able to receive help. Yes, definitely. Yeah. Are you guys enjoying what you've heard so far? Today, we are excited to offer you more expert based content, just like today's podcast, thanks to our generous partners at the jockey being Family Foundation. When you go to this website, it's a shortened website. So it's Bitly bi, T dot L y, slash, all cap, J BF support. You can find free online courses at our adoption Ed Learning Center. There are a great variety of courses to choose from, including maintaining your relationship when fostering or adopting these courses support, the topics that you're hearing about on the show at each course is free when you use coupon code, our cap, j, b, f strong at checkout. So check it out today. Again, the website is Bitly slash JB f support. That's all caps. And the coupon code that gets it to you for free. Is JB f strong in that small cap as well. All right, now let's let's let's talk about the speed. Let's get practical. So what are some practical ideas for foster adoptive kinship families, those families who are doing the hard work of helping children who've experienced trauma heal? What are some practical ideas for getting help?

9:19  
I think the first step is really asking for permission, right? And you know, asking yourself for permission and saying like, I do need help. And what does that look like? So I think a lot of a lot of things like those daily tasks that you have, you know, maybe a friend can come over and do a load of laundry for you. Maybe a family member can maybe they don't have a whole day to spend with the child but maybe they can go and take that child around the block, right and so you have 1015 minutes to yourself there and just knowing that you are already a super parent and that you don't have to Take on everything.

10:03  
Yeah, that you had said earlier you were worthy of being cared for. So basically, you're saying you could say No, in fact, should probably exercise the use of the word. No. Exactly.

10:15  
Yes, definitely. And I think another another big thing is, is setting that routine for the day because you know your child best, you are the expert. And I think knowing that your child has a tantrum at 6pm is really important there, right? Because you're like, Okay, I need to prepare myself for this tantrum that's coming every day at 6pm. So setting that routine is really important as well.

10:43  
Yeah, I, I can speak for myself and say that when I was younger, I totally did not appreciate how much I personally needed routine, I actually didn't identify as somebody who was very routine, I was much more spontaneous, I didn't really think I needed routines. And now I was blessed with a child who desperately needed routines. And that really helped me, it helped me realize how much it was a very self nurturing for myself to know when I would have a break and to make sure I scheduled breaks into the routine. And it really took me by surprise, as I said, because I didn't, I didn't think of myself as someone who needed it. But I've, I've become convinced that it's not just our kids who need the routine, because we tell people, you know, set routines for your child, because kids who have trauma, especially new kids coming into your home need to be able to have some predictability that's been taken away from them. But you know, the important for parents.

11:44  
You know, I'm now thinking it's, it's much for the parents as it is for the kids. Definitely, yeah. And so I think, in knowing that you can take that extra 10 minutes in the morning or 10 minutes at night to do something for yourself, so that it can get you through the day.

12:01  
Yeah, you know, amen. Yes. You know, I often will tell parents, that you know, that I think sometimes when we say the word self care, we are just so General, that it that it just doesn't have any meaning. So I tried to break it down when I'm when I'm working with a foster adoptive parent, or kinship parent, and I will say, do one small thing or one thing every day that you look forward to? It could be a cup of coffee with the really, you know, a decadent creamer that you've added. It can be it doesn't have to be big, but but do something every day that you look forward to. I think that may be easier said than done. I don't know. Yeah,

12:43  
definitely. I think I think a ritual is is something but I think also like

12:47  
that, like routine.

12:48  
Yeah. Yeah. And I think you were right, pointing out what that one thing is because we can say all day, self care, self care, self care. But self care looks different for both me and you and for parents out there. And for the parents that are parenting those harder to parent kids and that have tons of trauma. So really pinpointing what it is for you individually is really important here.

13:17  
And, and the importance of joy is something that you are looking forward to. And and I would go one step further and say once a week have something bigger that you're looking forward to better on the daily basis. It can be pretty small. I talked with a mom last week, who was herself care was come heck or High Water. She got into bed 30 minutes earlier than she had been. And she got her tablet out and she binged on. I wish she was bingeing on nightly on a show on Netflix, 30 minutes. And she said that just doing that one thing made such a difference in her in her outlook, and she'd find herself at six o'clock when, you know, we were reaching the hour where no householders is saying, she would start thinking about, Okay, I'm going to be watching my show in exactly two and a half hours or whatever it was, and probably three hours, but she was looking forward to it the entire during the worst part of the day, she had something she was thinking, Okay, that's got to make a total nine o'clock and then I'm going to cuddle up with my tablet and, and Netflix. Yes, exactly.

14:28  
I think. I think that's really important. And some people may think maybe the night is not great for them, right? Because they know it's hard to put to sleep, they're their children. So maybe that morning, you know, maybe you're waking up 15 minutes, 20 minutes before you know your kids wake up. And and you're you're taking that time for yourself and, and doing whatever you know, you know, praying meditation, working out, any of those things fits for you.

14:55  
Yeah, let's talk a little about the importance of weed. Talk about self care I, we have been talking about self care with an emphasis towards giving yourself something pleasurable. But what about the idea of self care and the needs of our physical health? So literally self care. And you mentioned working out and exercise? I think one of the challenges is that that's not always enjoyable for everyone. That's true. It's not.

15:24  
And I think it goes back to that self care piece and knowing that that's individually for you. So if, if working out is not your thing, totally fine. We'll just have to figure out something else. I mean, I think it's, it's also it's like parenting, right? It's it not everything is going to work for the same child. So you just got to figure out what works for you. And some people maybe don't like running, but they do like yoga, or, you know, anything, anything like that, or I think going to bed early. That's huge. Sleep is so important. And having that, you know, 20 extra minutes is really going to help your health in the long run.

16:07  
No, I worry when I have I have both done it myself as far as gotten up early to have time alone. But I I worry about that. Because I think one of the things that almost is universal with parents, parenting kids who've experienced trauma is the struggle to make certain that we get enough sleep ourselves. And so the getting up early, although I have absolutely done it, because I've been so desperate for a long time. The problem is, then we're giving up sleep. And that's, that's a tough trade off. Yeah,

16:44  
definitely. And I think everybody has their own sleeping like I need a full eight to nine hours. Other people need six to seven hours. So it really just depends how your sleeping habits are. But also to depending if you have school aged kids, if you have school aged kids, you can maybe invite a friend over to have coffee with and then that could be your time where you know, it's self care for you.

17:11  
Yeah, absolutely. We're going back to the childcare issues. And this doesn't work for all families. And it doesn't work for all kids who've experienced trauma. But many exercise facilities, health clubs, have childcare provided. So that would be a way to combine having somebody who is watching your child so you get time alone. And even if exercising and you just want to go walk around the parking lot are get on the treadmill and walk rather than run at some of that those are ideas of getting kind of a combining or somebody is watching your kids are safe. And you've got some alone time. Or there's some other ideas for what you just mentioned, one about inviting a friend over so that the kids are playing. So you are creating alone time for you because the kids are occupied. Any other ideas about how to do that. Yeah, I

18:03  
mean, I and this is where I think the community really comes in and your friends and your family. And I think I mentioned this before having them take the child around the block, having them take the kids to the park for an hour, 30 minutes, even, that kind of gives you that time to do your thing, you know, do what you need to do at the house. Because a lot of people they want to clean up right before they can like fully relax. So I think those are really big things and creating time and having that routine and knowing that I have 15 minutes when Nancy comes over to, you know, hang out with the kids or, you know, the next door neighbor hangs out for an hour outside after class. Those things are what you have to kind of take a handle of because sometimes it doesn't happen, right? It doesn't happen every day. So also being mindful of that, like I know on Wednesday, I'm going to have two hours after 3pm to myself.

19:09  
Yeah, and then just knowing that that's coming helps you like the old, the old meme where that you know, the cat is hanging from the branch with the claws. And it just you can it helps you hang on hang in there. Because you you know that that's coming. And it occurs to me that one of the problems that you mentioned earlier is that people will often say things like let me know if I can help. It's a vague offer of help. And and sometimes it's an insincere offer. But very often it's a sincere offer. People do want to help. They don't know what they can be doing to help you and quite frankly, sometimes you might so be thinking in terms of that. When somebody says let me know how I can help. Say, I could really use if your partner may perhaps you and your partner may want to we could really use you why The kids for an hour on Saturday morning, so we can go for a cup of coffee. Or I could really use somebody from two to three so that I can do anything just be alone or, or I could clean up the house without the kids or whatever. So that's a specific thing. Our friends often want to help, but we have to be able to tell them what it is that would be helpful for us.

20:25  
Yeah, yeah. And I think friends Listen up because dropping off a meal. Right. You know, that's, that's so helpful. And in taking care of your, you know, your friends and family that are doing this hard work is dropping off a meal, like I said, coming and doing the laundry hanging out with the kids. That community is huge in this this self care piece, because sometimes there are single single parents, right. And so it's only them. And so having a support system is helpful.

20:59  
Absolutely. I'll tell you a story with a single mom. She had adopted one of her foster children, and she was fostering to other so she was a parenting three. And she said something at her she was just tired, just not surprisingly. And she said something at her Sunday school class about, they said something about well, what can we do? It was again, it was a vague offer of help. And she said, you know, what if, if I had just one week where my laundry was folded, I can get it washed, I can usually get it somewhat dry. But then it sits in a basket. And I stare at that basket every time I walk by and I think I've just one more darn thing I'm supposed to do. And the kids are having to go in, they're looking for their clothes in the morning and everything's wrinkled and, and she goes, I just can't keep up with the laundry. And specifically it was the folding. So they came up with a round robin, where they had somebody come three times a week. And she actually ended up doing most of the washing and the drying, but she would stick it they would fold clothes and put it up. And she said it was the single and they did this for a while there wasn't just a coming in one week. And it gave it brought the class together because they were realizing that they were doing something very tangible to help her. And she said it was a lifeline. Not seeing that pile or worship. She said she would dump it on her couch in front of the TV. And so couch was covered with I mean, I so appreciate that. Because I know what my couch looks like right now. But the and I thought what a wonderful story of community.

22:36  
Yes. laundry. I mean, who can keep up with laundry?

22:40  
Yeah, really wants us to fold clothes. I mean, yeah, ugly. Exactly. Yeah, yeah,

22:48  
I yeah. You know, it's also sometimes parents don't know what they need. And so that's big, too. And so being that friend, and just going over and saying, Hey, I'm taking them for 15 minutes, hey, I brought over a casserole. You know, those are really helpful things because they're like, Oh, I didn't even know that I needed to make dinner tonight. Or I didn't. I didn't know that the dishes were so bad and piled up. But it was really bugging me.

23:19  
Yeah, and when you bring a meal, don't bring it in something that has to be returned, you know, the pot or whatever the the the casserole dish, bring it in something that is disposable. Because often, I mean, just don't add one more thing that somebody needs to do, which is to get your pan back to you like that, you know, another idea. And again, this doesn't work for all kids or all families, but is to hire a teenager to come over if if your house is like mine, between the hours of five and 630 there is really no strong parenting going on having somebody else come over to be at your house during that time. And it could be a teenager because you are going to be there. It's just another set of hands, another somebody to sit at the kitchen table helping with homework, somebody getting the younger children into and out of the bath, you know those things, it's not for everyone, and it will cost something but the person you're hiring doesn't have to be doesn't have to be 18 depending of course if you're fostering children, you'll need to get permission from the caseworker for this but often that's that would be permitted because you're going to be there at the house during that time.

24:32  
Exactly. Yeah. That's that's a really good point and and just remembering those little things, the dishes the laundry, they may seem little to you, but to them it's going to mean the world.

24:45  
Yeah, yeah, I bought Hey, that's true. You could hire somebody to just come over and you know, a teenager although my experience with teenagers is that it's not a job if they're they would rather complain. They

24:55  
want to fold laundry. Yeah.

24:56  
Washing dishes and folding laundry as well. Perhaps it was just, it's just my teens. But that's not something that, that I would be able to, to get them to do. And even with payment, I have to pay a whole lot of I have to pay money like that. So let's go back to other practical ideas that any other practical ideas you can think of that would be helpful for families who are struggling to take care of the parents who are taking care of themselves. Yeah,

25:28  
so I'm thinking about two things. And I think you mentioned it a little bit, respite care. And a lot of caregivers, they don't want to use respite care, but it's important. And if you need it, you are that person that's giving this child everything you have, and you need to be 100% 110% 130%. So using respite care is is you know, for the foster care families out there. Really, you know, it's not something saying you're a bad parent, because a lot of people think like, Oh, I don't want to do that. That's no, no, you should do it. And if and when you have that opportunity, and you take a few days off, it's gonna, it's gonna revitalize you and recharge you.

26:13  
What are some of the hesitancies that you hear from foster parents resource parents, about accepting respite care asking for respite care? What are some of the barriers?

26:25  
So with respite care, the families are hesitant, because it's another placement. It's another caregiver or taking care of this child. And as we know, in the foster care system, these kids have multiple placements. So that's a big barrier for foster parents and resource parents that they don't want to create more trauma by, you know, sending them to another home for a few days, especially if if they're the little ones, and they kind of don't know what's going on, you can't really explain, hey, I'm going to be you know, all you can reach me by phone, I'll be here for three days by phone, and I'll be back like they don't really understand that piece. So I think it's a fear of creating more trauma in the child.

27:17  
And is that a realistic fear?

27:19  
So again, I think the little ones who don't really understand it can be right, because they don't know, they don't know why they're going somewhere for three days. And I think starting to talk to them about it once you know, like, okay, I am going to do this for a couple days. Let me just start saying like, hey, so and so is going to watch you for a little bit, maybe showing them pictures and like knowing that that caregiver will be a safe place for them for a little bit of time, and that, you know, they'll be back right to you.

27:51  
So preparing them in advance. Okay. Yes. I also hear what you're saying from parents who are hesitant to use respite care. And I will be frank, not all agencies are particularly good at providing respite care, because we hear from foster families who say, I'm begging for respite care, and it's not available, or the caseworker is not getting it for me. And if you want to predict burnout, that's a huge predictor of a family that's going to quit fostering is that if they're asking for respite care, and they don't get it, then that's, that's just a guarantee for problems. But But you're saying that even when it's available, that some families are not taking it? So I hear you.

28:35  
Exactly. And I think a little tip to what you were you were talking about just piggybacking off of that is your fellow foster parents or resource parents, you know, the families that you went through, you know, the trainings with and that you know, are also foster parents that live near you, they can be a great resource as well, because you know them and you're you're meeting, you know, you're meeting them at the trainings, you're seeing them at the support groups. And so that might feel like a more of a better fit, and they're already background checked and all that stuff, right. So they don't have to go through all that to do it. And then sometimes, family members do step up and friends do step up, that can get background checked and all of the all the checks that they need to be able to watch the child for a few days.

29:25  
Yeah, absolutely.

29:27  
Hey, guys, let me stop for a moment. 10 remind you that word of mouth is one of the best ways to help us get content like today's show and today's interview out to families who need it. And who doesn't need a reminder that self care is crucial and parenting our kids who have behavioral challenges. So we do please tell a friend today about this creating a family podcast. We can continue to inspire and strengthen adoption, foster care and kinship care community. Thank you so much. In addition to talking about self care, I think it's helpful if you are in a partnered relationship to talk about a couple care. The Yeah, taking care of the unit, the either marital or partnership unit, do you see that in your work? how stressful is fostering, or our parents and kids who've experienced trauma, how stressful is that, to marriages or to partnerships,

30:29  
it can be very stressful, I think the benefit of having a partner while you're doing this work, is if you're very stressed out, then your partner can take the children, right. And so you don't really have to rely on family and friends or you know, somebody who the agency finds, but then also having that time together. And if you didn't have any children before, then and you just popped up with 123 children in your house, you know, the next day, it's hard to kind of find that time to be with each other. So that's a really big barrier, because you're also taking care of those kids together or, or one parent is working, and the other parent is taking the child to doctor's visits, and biological parent visits and all these things. So then you maybe don't even see each other until you go to bed.

31:29  
Well, and and, and even just as commonly, both parents are working, one parent is, is taking and usually it is one parent who is doing most of the work as far as taking the kids to appointments or whatever. And then you come home, and you still are working because you're parenting these kids, at some point there, you can go days without passing more than a few words other than you do this, you do that to your partner. And yeah, that's just not good. In the long run. You want to talk about burnout, that that will be the top reason you end up quitting.

32:05  
Definitely. And I think that that can create a lot of friction, especially in your parenting, right? Because if you're not good with your partner, then it's not gonna relay into into the parenting, right? Because you're, you're so mad that they didn't take out the trash or you're so mad that they didn't, you know, do whatever that they, you know, didn't do that. It does create a little friction there. So,

32:30  
oh, yeah. Because it puts more work on you and you're already feeling overworked. And you're feeling that there is no time to do all that's being demanded of you. And, and so that when somebody when the person who is supposed to be your partner in this doesn't take out the trash, or walks out of the kitchen with and a half the pots and pans still dirty. You just want to scream? Exactly,

32:54  
yes.

32:56  
Which is, is is really, you know, fundamentally not a healthy situation for for anyone. Yeah. We want to take a moment to thank one of our sponsors who support makes this show possible. That sponsor is Spence Chapman as a recipient of the Human Rights Campaign, all children all families seal of recognition. Spence Chapman is committed to the quality and adoption and is proud of the many children who have placed in loving, stable, same sex households, Spence chastens, international adoption program in South Africa and Colombia, encourages applications from all types of families. Visit Spence hyphen, shape.org, backslash LGBTQ adoption to learn more. You mentioned reaching out to fellow foster parents. One thing that I think is important is if you have the ability to join a support group, either foster or again, adoptive parents as well, too, that is a great way to meet others who understand and can help nourish you is because you don't have to explain what you're going through. How important do you find support groups?

34:16  
so important? I mean, and sometimes it takes families a while to kind of get into it like, Oh, we gotta go to that support group on a on a Wednesday night. And and sometimes it's hard to make it to that right when you're parenting these kids. But support groups are so important. And I think having some sort of connection to somebody who's also going through the same things as you are and you don't have to say like, Oh, I'm so tired because of this. It's just kind of, it's there. And we know we know everything that's happening. So going to those support groups and creating a little village within the Foster Care Resource parent, adoptive parent world is so important.

34:59  
Yeah, app. salutely support groups don't have to be I think there is a place certainly for in person, but they don't have to be in person to provide the the sense of community and that sense of, of normalcy that somebody gets my life experience. Yes, yes.

35:19  
And when we were speaking about the couples, I think another practical tip for couples would be to set up kind of, you know, like at the gym, when they have different circuits, setting up some little activities, you know, maybe five or six different activities that you can find with, you know, household items that keep the children busy, right, and you can still be in the room, and you're there with your partner, and you can read a book, you can watch something on TV, you can talk about your day. So it just it creates, you know, open communication and kind of a quality time, even though the children are still in the room.

36:04  
Yeah, that's a that's a very good suggestion. And even though this is not the supposed to be what we say, if this is not the general party line, I say one of the main reasons that you should be very selective about screen time and TV time for your kids, is that I think it can be used as a babysitter when you do it selectively. So don't do it indiscriminately know that you're going to need a break. And if you're, you have a child who loves you know, we'll watch something, we'll watch a cartoon and and sit there and actually get engrossed in the cartoon, or we'll play a game. And you can count on that as a 30 minute break. Use it for that, which means you don't use it at other times, because it won't, number one, it won't work as effectively if they have it all the time. And number two, we don't want our kids to be totally inundated with screens.

37:00  
Yes, exactly. And I think another big one is music. We have a big music family. And I think putting on some some great music and dancing to the music can create that time with your partner and with the kids. And then it'll also tire them out so they can go to sleep on time.

37:18  
a twofer. Wear them out and get a little, a little screen time. And and also just a little enjoyment. You know that adding music and dancing just brings a spark of happiness to the whole family, which is where we're talking self care for parents. But self care for the family unit is something to say as well. I think we we we don't do enough of that when we're in the midst of what I call hard parenting. We forget about nurturing this having fun.

37:50  
Agreed.

37:51  
Yeah, that's definitely something that gets lost in translation.

37:55  
Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Angie Jones for being with us today to talk about self care when parenting harder to parent kids. I really appreciate your time.

38:06  
Thank you so much, john.

38:07  
Let me remind everyone that this show the information given in this interview is general advice to understand how it applies to your specific situation. You need to talk with your adoption or foster care professional. Thanks for joining us today and I will see you next week.

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