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A day in the life of a foster carer

Published on: 2016-07-06 09:56:00


day plannerIf people find out you’re a foster carer, they automatically think you’re some sort of child guru casting a magic spell on children. We met with friends at the weekend who introduced us to other people and mentioned we were foster carers and as predicted, they asked all the usual questions along with some less obvious ones. I always try to move the conversation away from being a foster carer as I’m not always comfortable with the sometimes intrusive questions, but also to protect the children I care for. Keeping the confidentiality of Looked After Children is one of the corner stones of being a good and effective carer, and hubby moved the conversation on to England’s performance in the Euros and the Referendum result… Neither conversation topic made for a light hearted evening!

It seems there’s a myth surrounding what a foster carer actually does on a day to day basis, and I can assure all the non foster carer parents out there that our day looks pretty much exactly the same as yours, except with more meetings.

First wake up call for M, put kettle on make coffee.

Second wake up call for M, bang on her door and remind her to have a shower. Wake up J who gets up straight away and tries to get into bathroom before M goes in.

Shout up the stairs to make sure M is up and listen for the shower going on. Get shouted at back and hear the bathroom door slam.

Breakfast on for J who eats toast watching the Disney Channel. Put toast on for M who’s had what is obviously a pretend shower as miraculously her hair is dry. Sigh internally and decide it’s a battle for another day.

M doesn’t want toast, she wants a veggie kale smoothie and why can’t we have the £129 smoothie maker she saw on Ebay? I’m so mean! M refuses toast and says she no longer eats bread. She switches the TV channel to Nickelodeon to watch iCarli just to make J scream at her and WW3 erupts in the kitchen. Hubby gets up for work, passes through the kitchen for coffee and leaves while I ask M not to tease J.

I remind M to check her books, ensure she has some healthy snacks (which she doesn’t eat) in her back pack and to brush her teeth. She glares at me and checks her mobile for the 20th time that minute and starts a new text message. I remind her that her bus leaves in 10 minutes and she’ll get another late detention if she misses it. J switches back to the Disney Channel and M snatches the remote control off him as she runs out the door.

Continue to diffuse WW3

Hurry M out the door, yell at her to come back for her backpack. She slams the door as she goes. Have a metaphysical conversation with J about why the stars don’t fall back into the earth and why humans no longer have tails.

Receive 10 text messages from M while she’s on the bus to justify her reason for wanting a photo booth at her birthday party this month; Sophie had one and Emma thinks it would be great and how Claire would snog her boyfriend in it and they could have photos….

Hurry J along to brush his teeth and remind him to get his reading book that we’d practiced with the night before whilst trying to explain how cows make milk and listen to how Spiderman could take on Iron Man any day ‘cause Iron Man isn’t a real superhero. I nod and listen and herd him into the bathroom and put toothpaste on the brush whilst trying to find a gap in the monologue about Spiderman long enough for him to brush his teeth.

Try to find J’s other trainer for PE and get him into the car with a coat, a gym bag, his school bag with his reading book inside it, his tie on and his trousers done up. Take J to school whilst trying to explain that Superman does eat vegetables as how could he be so strong, only to listen to the story again of how he got his superpowers and J would rather be bitten by a spider than eat peas, or broccoli or carrots or baked beans or tomatoes or salad or that horrible disgusting green stuff (I think he means spinach)!

Drop J off at school. Run back with gym bag.

Sit in traffic in the school run.

Arrive home. Have first cup of coffee and read note Hubby has left that he’ll be home early.

8:40 – 9am
Watch the news, drink more coffee, eat toast, turn on laptop.

9am- 1:30pm
Work from home, walk the dog.

Meet with Rose, my Supervising Social Worker for our regular Supervision and plan for J’s PEP meeting and M’s LAC review next week. Sign papers, talk about previous few weeks, concerns and potential issues and discuss upcoming training course in Independence, which would be useful regarding M. Arrange for yearly optician appointment for J.

Work from home, drink coffee

Sit in school run to collect J. Listen to J explain an in-depth and thought through reason why Spiderman would defeat Electro and Hydro-Man together. Give J a snack and explain the rules about chocolate before dinner again.

Receive 7 text messages from M on the bus home from school about dinner and why my choice is not desired. Explain that she cannot have takeaway and Subway is not an everyday option. 

Hubby comes home and supervises J’s maths homework, while M procrastinates and finally does homework but not before door slamming and loud music. Cook dinner with vegan option for M who then chooses roast chicken anyway. Hubby plays football with J in the garden while M shows me photo booth party options and why she simply must have one. We go over party budget again and she surprisingly accepts that there is no more party money and thanks me for organising it. We talk about how she’ll wear her hair on the day.

Everyone watches TV while I finish working

J organises his superhero collection again, this time in chronological order and wants to discuss the pros and cons of his decision whilst putting off bath and bedtime at 8pm, whilst M simultaneously chats to friends on Instagram, tweets and texts before bedtime. See through M’s sudden interest on the Referendum result at 8:55pm as a ruse to delay bedtime.

Record the day’s events in J and M’s official recordings, pack lunches for tomorrow, throw a load of laundry on and finish off work emails before watching TV with hubby.

Bed, to do it all again tomorrow.

Nexus Fostering

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