The many faces of a ‘Foster Carer’ Countryside Carer - I’m struggling
01 March 2023
01 March 2023
The title says it all really and in my current frame of mind part of me even just wants to end the blog here and shut my iPad. But… the main reason I started this blog was to document the highs and lows of a fostering household, really, for my own record, for my own journal, as such.
I’m not really sure, if I’m honest, if there a single, one thing that is triggering me to feel like everything is difficult at the moment. I think it’s a combination of a variety of things that have all happened at the same time that has made me feel like things are insurmountable… that every day for the last few weeks feels like putting one foot in front of the other is impossible. I wallowed in this feeling for a good couple of weeks before actually thinking about what could be triggering it or what was contributing to this sense of doom and the feeling of just being absolutely awful at my job. Like many of us, when these feelings take over I guess I just accepted that I was rubbish and that I was a terrible parent, foster carer, teacher and everything in between… and then I made a list. I love a list. The teacher in me thrives on organisation and lists are what usually keep me sane. I made a list about what could be bringing me down, a list about what I thought could be affecting my mood. Rather than fancy it up and go all in-depth and mystical on you, I thought I would just share the list. As plainly and simply as I wrote it-
constant cold and darkness - winter is tough
Completing an EHCP referral for our eldest - drowning in paperwork
Being told an EHCP referral would never be accepted for our youngest - wishing I was drowning in paperwork
The astronomical hike in day to day bills/expenses
My husband’s new work shift pattern which seems to be designed to make my life so much harder
Battling with an ongoing situation regarding our young people’s brother coming to live with us
Staying on top of paperwork
Difficult, testing behaviour from our youngest
Dealing with a poorly child
Having to run a military operational type establishment to make sure everyone gets to school/clubs/medical appts
To be honest, I stopped there. I felt that was enough, enough to justify my low mood. How crazy, that as parents/foster carers we feel the need to justify any kind of mood
I can go through a plethora of emotions before breakfast is over and still, in my own house, before 8am, in pjs I still remain professional and pulled together. What we do on a day to day basis is unreal. Non foster carers love to ask me what I do with ‘all my spare time now you’re not at work’ and quite frankly, how I don’t strangle them is an absolute miracle.
‘Burn out’ is a phrase that I have heard a lot since COVID. Burn out of NHS staff, of teachers, of key workers and the truth is is that burn out is real. I’m not burnt out. Not yet. But I’m lucky enough to have a husband who gives me time to recuperate, a supervising social worker who allows me to moan (even probably unjustifiably, about anything and everything) and I have friends around me who let me know that what I’m doing is amazing. Sometimes it really is difficult to see the wood for the trees. It’s hard to take a step back and look at the incredible job we, as foster carers, are doing. I’m not humble enough to not think that our choices have changed lives and I will continue to bleat on about the importance of remembering that but also remembering that you are a person, with needs and limits and that these, like the young people we look after, need to be honoured, respected and most importantly, we need to look after ourselves. Because if we burn out, if we give up because the pressure or demands are too great then who is going to take our place?
01 March 2023