Tag Archive | theraputic parenting

Guilt free mummy time

*Stop the press*

I have managed to find myself in a position where I can write a complete post and upload it in time for this weeks’ #WASO link up – Okay maybe I should make a confession. The only reason I have a little time to myself is because I have had a toddler style tantrum over the fact the males in the hive seem to struggle lately with the basic concept of picking up after themselves, let alone helping out with minor household chores without spending double the length of time doing it because they are so busy attempting to annoy me so much that I take over the task myself (which I will admit is what usually happens in the end), however much to their dismay, their regular tactic backfired on them and mummy declared that she was going on strike and the 3 of them would have to fend for themselves.

Definitely not very therapeutic but miraculously the jobs were suddenly completed with little or no fuss and an hour later Bumble drew the shortest straw and carefully peeked around our bedroom door to waving the white flag.

I have been longing for just ‘5 minutes to myself’, so having a whole hour to myself was pure luxury (well it would if I hadn’t been so worked up about the males in the house).

The last few weeks in all honesty have been more than a little difficult and relationships with Waxy and school have been pushed to our absolute limit and Bumble and I are finding ourselves raising concerns and exploring painful questions about our family’s future if the current situation doesn’t change and support from Post Adoption and ASF is not forthcoming very soon, and as a result I have struggled to find opportunities to indulge in any form of self-care for myself and in the rare moments when I have found some space and time, something has managed to derail it.

Okay that is not entirely true. Last September as a birthday present, Bumble gave me a gift voucher for a whole day 1:1 photography lesson with a local photography studio in a picturesque National Trust village. Recently I have finally managed to make use of the voucher spent an entire day focusing on something that I enjoy and being able to switch off from being mum for a few hours safe in the knowledge that the boys were safe at school/forest school and Bumble has organised his work day around their timetable.

I had for the first time in I do not know how long, spent a complete day without any ties to ‘planet adoption’ and it felt wonderful. For one day I wasn’t someone’s mum or wife and the only person I needed to focus on was myself (oh and the wonderful lady who was providing my 1:1 lesson).

I surprised myself during the lesson by realising how much I already seemed to know about getting the best out of my DSLR camera and I lost count of how many times I sat listening to the tutor explain this, that and the other and my mind drifted off thinking about random photos I have taken with my camera over the time, while listening to a little voice in my head saying “oh so that is what happened, I didn’t even realise I could do that”.   Apparently each time I did this, the tiniest of a ‘shy’ smile kept catching the tutor’s eye.   At the time I passed it off as being amused at being “jammy so and so” and blindly blundering into lucky shots but in truth, the reason was so much deeper and more personal – I am not sure I can really explain it very well without coming across as wet or self-absorbed but I supposed after the rejection I experience day in and day out with my boys and the negativity that is projected at me from every direction over the years, my self-confidence and self-esteem has been all but destroyed and I now struggle to ‘sit with’ or believe positivity or praise that is directed my way (see I told you it would sound wet) but on the day for some reason my guard was down and my confidence was receiving a much needed boost (even if it was just for a few hours).

While the morning was focused on theory and a little bit of practical practise in the studio with my camera making exciting discoveries about the true extent of what it can really do and how some of the functions in it can do a WHOLE lot more than I could ever have dreamt it could.

buttonI don’t mind admitting I let out a little squealing of excitement to discover that a button which I had believe was only a zoom feature for viewing photos already taken, can in fact be used to take incredibly clever photos (I am still working on perfecting the skill of creating a decent photo using it for now).

The afternoon was spent strolling around the village and visiting the Abbey putting what I had learnt during the morning into practise and discovering that my amazing telephoto lens which only ever comes out when I am taking photos of the boys at the beach or when we are visiting the safari parks, can in fact produces absolutely stunning close up photos that even I would be mistaken for believing were taken with a macro lens.

blooming lovely

During the day I managed to get a few lucky shots, some that I didn’t quite achieve the composition that I had hoped for, and some…. Well let’s not talk about these ones and then we have the photographs that are still haunting me days after they were taken of a sweet elderly couple who I was mesmerised with as they walked through the cloisters together. I couldn’t help wondering about their story. Who were they? How had they met? How long had they been together? What had brought them to the abbey that day? – Okay I know I am a nosey devil but there was something about these two that was pulling at my heart strings and evoking bittersweet memories of my dear depart grandparents and the love and unconditional devotion they had for each other for nearly 60 years. In all fairness when they would come for a visit they did insist on taking an afternoon drive over to this village for a cream tea and a stroll around the abbey, so I supposed the place already holds special memories for me and the sight of this couple reignited them for me. (I really hope they won’t mind me including them in this post)

cloister

Listen to me jabbering on! What I have neglected to say is…… while the course was wonderful and I got so much out of it physically and emotionally. It wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t manage to take one single usable photograph because the biggest realisation of the day was not the fact that I can actually take some nice photographs.

LC

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Residents of the village including the most adorable puppy

 

It was the realisation that all this time, the answer to my self-care prayers has been under my nose all the time.   I have something that I can and already do uses as an excuse if I need 5 minutes to myself.

I can lose myself in my photograph and refill my tank before it reaches empty. We live in a beautifully areas, adorned with rolling hills, woods, rivers and meadows so while If I am lucky my four-legged and 2 legged muses will oblige and not run for the hills at the sight of the camera (okay maybe not Buzzbee, he only needs to spot the camera in my hand and he is posing away), I still have plenty of opportunities to find an excuse to escape the trauma and destruction that often fills my days living on ‘planet adoption’, for a few short guilt free minutes or hours.

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Mending broken bonds

I have been a little bit lax in writing posts in the past few weeks and those I have written have been…. Well, let’s just say….they have been written out of a rushed sense of duty to keep up with my posts and as a result they have been all over the place and quite frankly, from my perspective, they have been just a jumble of nonsense thrown into a blog post and have absolutely no substance or direction to them.

But, do you know what? In some ways, my recent posts have while saying very little, they have said a lot and reading back over them, it is hard for me not to admit that it is oozing with signs of secondary trauma taking a firm grip of the inhabitants of ‘the Hive’ as both boys completely unravel and the chaos that their trauma bond brings, moves to a whole other stratosphere.

Over the last few weeks Bumble and I have really begun to feel like we are drowning and second guess our parenting – “were we too strict”?, “did we choose the right battle”?, “what am I doing wrong”?. The list could go on forever and we both know that these thoughts were unhelpful, but when you are in the trenches, hindsight is not a luxury you always have.

One thing has been clear. Despite Beeswax boarding during the week and Buzzbee desperately missing him when he is away. Both boys need a break from each other. A break that is more than just the 5 days Waxy is at school. If anything, school is one of the biggest stressors at the moment and Bumble and I are trying to get his school to understand that (that is a whole other post and if you have read my past posts you will know how much “fun” I have with them).

Next week Waxy is going on a skiing trip with his school (huge anxiety that he is unable to acknowledge) and while he is away it will also be his birthday (cue; stressor number 2, he has never been away from Buzz on his birthday, and no matter what he tells his little brother, he will miss not having him them – although after he receives Buzz’s present he may be cringing with embarrassment (I will tell you in the next post what it was).

From where Bumble and I are sitting, it is very clear (albeit extremely complicated) exactly what is going on with the boys. Waxy cannot bear to acknowledge vulnerability and yes, we know he will miss not seeing Buzz for nearly 2 weeks, but his way of handling this is to push Buzz away emotionally (and physically). Quite honestly, he has been so horrible to his little brother that it has broken my heart to see it because I know that Buzzbee is the centre of Waxy’s universe and always will be, but it is too painful for him to admit that (and let’s face it, he is a raging, hormonal teenager too). The problem is this time he has really done some very really damage to their relationship and his rejection has had a profound and upsetting effect on Buzzbee who is not equipped to deal with it at this moment in time.

Buzzbee is now riding a colossal rollercoaster of emotional trauma and crushed self-esteem and self-worth. He has morphed into a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and while during the week he is manageable and able to let us (sometimes) support him and seek comfort from us. It takes him a day or two to settle back down and relax but the moment Friday afternoon comes around, his anxiety levels rocket through the roof again – fidgety, self-soothing humming, constant/unending rambling, hair-trigger temper, snappy and the air is once again every shade of blue. The anticipation of Beeswax’s return for school and the uncertainty of Waxy’s demeanour/mood is sending our already hyper –aroused 9 year old into emotional orbit. His amygdala is primed to flip into ‘fight, flight and freeze’ before Waxy has even walked through the front door, and if not handled very carefully the results are volcanic for both of them.

The weekend before last, was probably the hardest for them both in quite some time and while thankfully no-one was physically hurt (the only physical victims were a TV, 2 doors and a stairgate), the words that crossed both boys’ lips towards each other (and directed at Bumble and I), could not be taken back and for Buzzbee (who is very literal with his language), he took to heart every cruel comment that his big brother directed at him and firmly believed that this is what his big brother truly thinks about him. No amount of persuasion from us was going to convince him any other way.

In the past Jemima (DDP therapist we used to work with) would tell me off to trying to ‘fix’ things but this time I couldn’t leave it like this. I know the boys love each other and while their separate holidays may help them both, in the here and now, I knew it was in both boys best interest for me to ‘broker a truce’ and help them enjoy each other’s company once me.

With a 5 year age gap this can be quite tricky especially when you know the one activity they both really love doing, is one that at this moment in time is completely out of the question because it is also one of their biggest flashpoints with each other – I am of course talking about playing the Xbox together.

Thankfully this weekend gave my mum and I the perfect opportunity to trying do some damage limitation and provide the boys with an environment that is neutral to them both – The holiday campsite where mum and dad have their caravan. 20150308_073232

And, if we ignore the low level snapping, sniping and snarling each time our back was turned. I would have to say that the weekend had the beginnings of seeing positive steps to repairing the boys’ bond with each other. They can never resist messing about in the swimming pool or playing football together on the beach (or teasing me about my lack of skills) and a much needed trip to a small country life adventure centre to walk and feed the goats, help each other over the obstacle course before racing each other down the wavy slides (trying not to take nanny’s feet out from under at the same time), and quite honestly just letting loose together was what they needed and the weekend actually went off without any major hitches.20150307_112158

Having my mum there also gave me a tiny bit of a break from all the stresses of past, present and future battles – that and getting to see the cutest baby donkey I think I have ever seen, and yes his name was Eeyore.20150307_111741