Mums the word

Summer flowers

 

I’ve heard it said many times that those children who have experienced early trauma in some way tend to find the relationship with the ‘Mum’ figure the most challenging.  Due to the strong bond with our biological Mothers we, as humans, feel the impact of that separation greatly.  Of course separation from any parent is devastating and that impact is all the more if there has also been neglect, abuse and trauma associated with it.

Why do I mention all this now?  Well we’re two weeks into our summer holidays in our home and I am finding it particularly tough this year.  This will be our fourth summer together – the first was a case of survival, I felt quite proud that we got through the summer relatively unscathed (apart form a trip to A&E with one broken arm from a trampoline incident!).  The second year I felt more prepared and organised and it went more smoothly.  Last years again was ok – I don’t remember much about it so I’m assuming it was fine.  This year however is taking it’s toll already.

Why you may ask?  Well I’m beginning to see the point about how children like ours play out their anger and frustration on the Mother figure.  They are different with the Father figure and with other family members and friends.  The expectations they have on me (and probably I put on myself too) are greater.  The need for me to be present, be what they want, be able to show them the world can be safe, is apparent every day.

Maybe as they’ve been with us for more than 3 years now they are eventually letting their guard down enough to really let their anger out with us, maybe the feelings of stability are setting in a bit?  I don’t know and that’s the challenge isn’t it – we don’t know a lot of the time what is going on inside them – and of course neither do they!

So why am I sharing this here?  Well I guess I just wanted others to know out there, who may also be feeling battered and bruised by the relentless journey of adoptive mothering, that they are not alone.  At times most of us feel the struggle of trying to be a parent for the present as well as the past and the future for our children.  I have to remind myself constantly that their anger is not necessarily about me – it’s more likely about the injustice and unfairness they feel about their past before they even knew me.

How can we help them deal with this?  We can of course acknowledge their pain.  We can validate their feelings as much as we can.  We can help them with strategies of how to integrate their experiences, and we can go easy on ourselves when we get it wrong.  There are many times when I reach the end of the day and wonder how much forward we have moved today – or in fact have we gone back 20 paces?  Either way over time we are moving in the right direction.

I will endeavour to take each day at a time during this summer – that was my aim originally – not to think of the whole 6 weeks but a day at a time.  Yesterday was a bad day, today was a fairly good day, tomorrow we will see!  After all the present is all we have real control of.  How we respond in the moment to those expressions of anger and frustration from our children.  Each moment is a chance to do it better.  But again remember if in that moment you didn’t handle it well – then there’s always the next one!

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