People often ask me if doing foster care is hard, and I always say yes. With our first cruisy baby, it was hard. With our two sweet little girls it was hard. With our current two year old tornado, it is hard. I once heard someone ask if adopting a child felt like a really long babysitting job and the clear answer there was no. Temporary foster care, however, can feel a bit that way.
Case workers come in and out of our home, courts convene, practitioners make assessments and recommendations, and care plans that we implement. We flex, and stretch, and acquiesce, attempting to give the most loving family care to a child the is still, essentially, passing through.
Given that the nature of foster parenting is different to "regular" parenting, I have had to change some of my expectations and do things differently than I have done with our permanent children. One way is to say yes to as many opportunities as I can to step back, and refresh and recharge my batteries.
My children are getting a bit older now so they hardly bat an eyelash when I am out for more meetings, events, and outings.
When my dear friend invited my down to Melbourne for the weekend, I didn't think it was a good idea since I was already booked to go to a women's conference the following week, and I am unused to leaving my children much at all. She took it upon herself to Skype with The Captain and together they convinced me that I should go.
Throwing stylish clothes into a weekend bag and jumping on a flight to Melbourne is such a luxurious getaway for this Sydney girl. My friend asked me what I wanted to do in Melbourne and all I could think was "eat good food"! Well, from the moment I stepped off the plane, my friend treated me to a weekend of ultimate pampering!
We started off at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
After eating our fill of the gourmet and delicious, we left the festival and set to browsing through upscale shops. Other mothers with young children know that meandering through shops where the merchandise is costly and fragile, is not a frequently enjoyed activity. One highlight was Marimekko, whose bright colours and towering shelves of fabrics delighted me.
Shopping wore us out completely, so we went for Thai massages before ducking into a fabulous little Italian restaurant for dinner and then a chocolate shop for dessert.
I don't have pictures from the second day, but after a breakfast of crossiants we ran to the local garden store in Albert Park. I could have bought everything there, had I space to carry it home! I rounded up supplies and planted in the world's fastest herb garden for my friend. She has been wanting to start to grow her own and I was delighted to get her started.
I cleaned the dirt from under my fingernails as we rushed to church to meet with The Captain's family. We enjoyed lunch with them before spending a little more time shopping in the city before heading back to the airport.
My friend did such an amazing job pampering me, and I was delighted to return to my family inspired, refreshed, and ready to face my busy week.
"Me Time" is important for us all, but especially so for mothers with young children, and especially for mothers caring for children that are particularly needy or intense. I didn't make time to do these types of things in the last couple of years (honestly, I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth with three kids four and under, and no family nearby to help), nor did I have the opportunity. These days I am learning to say "yes" to nice things when they come my way, and I am blessed to have a husband that views them as good opportunities and doesn't mind carrying the full load while I am off enjoying myself!