Military operation

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Parenting adopted children can be like a military operation. We have three children who actually like to be in chaos – ‘like’ may not be the right word but it is their comfort zone I suppose – the place that they are the most familiar with. So as much chaos as they can manage to create the better – although of course we know it isn’t better for them or us.

An example of this is first thing in the morning. Imagine the scene. You stayed up till 2am last night doing all the things you didn’t get time to do in the day so when the alarm rings at 7am you press that off button, turn over and go back to sleep. You are then woken with a start when a tiny hand nudges you to say they want their breakfast – AAHHHHH you spring out of bed look at the clock and realise you have half an hour to get the kids washed, dressed, fed, do all that for yourself as well, make the lunches, check the homework, read any school letters you forgot to read, get your own stuff ready for your days work, pile everyone in the car and set off. Of course if this were the scenario there would also be lots of shouting, hurrying children up who then insist it’s the right time to tidy their bedrooms, play with the cats and pick up any snails they see outside the front door, and then of course refuse to get in the car.

A familiar scene maybe for some of you – certainly it is for me. I’ve come to realise over the 4 years of having our children that as much as I hate the responsibility, my mood sets the tone for our day. If you take the morning for a start – if I am up and ready, done all the things I needed to do to make myself feel calm and relaxed i.e. had a cup of tea in the quiet before they got up, made the lunches, organised my own day – then I can calmly wake them up – set the tone of someone who is in control and organised – then the better all our days will be.

It is in fact like a military operation – where all the practicalities have to be done in the slickest of fashions whilst also paying attention to all the feelings and attitudes. This morning I watched a brilliant video to set me in a good mood whilst having my cup and tea – the change in how our morning routine went was amazing. Of course there were still a few flashes of chaos but I managed to keep order and move things along without a huge shouting match. Of course for our children as well it is vital that they feel that we are in control – that we can handle life’s pressures and can help them with their emotions. Not saying I get this right all the time as I don’t but I do know that looking after myself (e.g. going to bed early) and realising I set the mood has really helped me to create as safe and peaceful a place as I can.

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