Doubt is a Bully

March 10, 2020 64 Comments

I am responsible for everything for this beautiful soul

Parenting is hard all by itself.  Just the physical aspects of being accountable to another human all the time are daunting. Even if my children are not with me physically and even if I am taking respite and self-care time, I am responsible for knowing that the kids are in a safe, reliable situation. I need to plan ahead for the financial, nutritional, social, emotional, physical, and educational needs of my children.

 

A large family!!!

When I stop to consider the extensive responsibilities that I have taken on to bring up these children, it can be quite overwhelming. What have I done? Can I really do this? What if something goes wrong? What if I screw up part of it (or all of it?) Why did I ever think I could do this? What if I harm these kids because I said ‘yes’ too many times?

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Grumpy

When I look beyond just the routine aspects of providing for a child, I begin to see that it’s not a rote or static proposition. Each child is different and usually has a variety of needs. Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Personalities vary. Life brings up illness or accidents. The increasing independence of these young humans begins to blossom into self-determination (otherwise known as wanting to do things on their own and/or approach situations their way (and not mine)). And other people in my children’s lives begin to have an impact on their choices and activities and attitudes.

I often find myself wondering how many more things will change. Why can’t things stay the same? How do I know I can handle the next stage? I shouldn’t be the one to raise them… the world is SO different from when I grew up.

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Beyond all of that, I am raising kids who are living with the effects of trauma in their early lives. The experiences my children had before they came to me complicate almost everything. They learned and survived things that have made significant changes in their bodies, in their emotional and mental health, in their learning, and in their social interactions. I am tasked with helping them unlearn some coping strategies and learn more effective means of going through their days. I am sometimes focused on eating habits, or learning disabilities, or intense anxiety, or nightmares, or self-confidence. I am always on the lookout for trauma responses to almost any situation in my children’s lives and I try to help them to name, rename and focus on healing.

Sometimes their stories about their past, the pain that arises without notice, the tears and the lashing out, the fear (oh, the fear!) and the grief overwhelm me. I start to wonder what I am doing on this journey. How do I know how to respond to each one? How can I empathize when I have not had that level of pain? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I’m not enough? What if their pain is bigger than my love and my skills? What will happen to the child? What if I’m not the right person to parent these special kids? What if they are missing out on something that another parent would do better, or what if I make things worse for them?

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This Week’s Schedule

Then there is me. Just one of me. I’ve had my own experiences in life that bring up my own responses. Plus, I have things to pay attention to in my own life…. Health appointments, friends, family, aging parent, church events, exercise. Some things are obligations. Some are personal preferences, hobbies, relationships and all those things that make our personal lives rich and healthy. The time management it takes to keep my things in line, as well as all that my kids need is very challenging. Because my children have needs above and beyond (and in addition to) normal kid stuff, we are always setting and resetting priorities. School and homework, sports and friends, counseling and doctors and dentists and orthodontists, dance and swim lessons and swim team, and meetups with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters, meals and laundry and chores… all of these are normal, routine, everyday life for many families. But I then have to add extra school meetings, extra doctor appointments, a lot of phone calls and advocacy in many different areas because of the special needs and trauma for some of the kids. I am constantly running through our daily, weekly and monthly schedules. I have to negotiate and re-negotiate meeting times, extracurricular transportation needs, appointments, and playdates.

At some point, almost every day, I find myself full of doubt. How do I know I’m not missing something? Will I offend someone just because I lost track of the schedule? I’m only one person! How can I keep going with little sleep and constant stress? What if I crack? How long do I have to keep this up? These kids deserve someone abler than me!!!

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Doubt is a Bully

I have slowly, over the past couple of years, come to realize that much of my self-talk when I get stressed is doubt. I doubt that I am enough. I doubt that I have the skills to help with all the trauma. I doubt that I have what it takes to keep up with the journey I have been given.

And doubt is a bully! It distracts me from the real work that needs to be done. It takes up space in my head and my heart that should be filled with determination and confidence. It makes me scared, though I KNOW that I am surrounded by community, love, and encouragement. It can freeze me in my tracks sometimes and can even skew my take on the resources and support that surround me.

Worst of all, doubt makes it all about me. I can’t…. I fear… I am bad at it… I won’t. This journey is not about me. It’s not about ‘saving’ these kids. It’s not about being ‘perfect’ for them. It’s not about providing the best of everything.

Each moment matters

What this journey IS about is providing safety. And I have a whole community who helps me surround these kids with safe places, safe relationships, safe activities. This journey is about providing hope. We can work through so many hard things together as a parent/child, as a family, and yes, again, with my community and my faith. And most of all, we can live in love. This means none of us (including me) has to be perfect, or has to do it all, or even really has to do anything. Each of us is enough, just as we are. We can love, support, laugh and cry together no matter what.  My faith tells me that it is not up to me to fix anything and I am not in charge of how any of this turns out.  I am only called to honor and use the gifts I have and to bring light and love into my little corner.  I can do that.

Family matters

No doubt about it!

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64 Comments

  1. Reply

    Bella Tolentino

    March 30, 2020

    Karla, this is so amazing. You are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing this blog post and your heart to provide these precious children with care and safety. Often times we do have alot of doubt.We need to remind ourselves that we are enough and if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it ♥️Looking forward to reading more posts from you 🤗

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 4, 2020

      Thank you, so much, Bella. I always enjoy feedback and it feeds my determination to just keep forward in my ministry

  2. Reply

    Lisa

    March 23, 2020

    IT’s pretty crazy how powerful our minds can be.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 4, 2020

      How right you are. Powerful with the negative thoughts AND the positive thoughts!

  3. Reply

    Elizabeth Mazza Reilly

    March 20, 2020

    I am adopted but I’ve never been in foster care. It sounds like your priorities are in the right place. Any parent like you will drop some balls but once they’re dropped just acknowledge it and move on with what you’ve still got! Great article!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I am good at apologizing to my children!

  4. Reply

    Noelle

    March 19, 2020

    You are so inspiring. I don’t know how you do it all, but I thinks it’s awesome that you are there to love these children. They don’t need a perfect person. They just need someone to love them. I am so glad to hear you have local support. I’m sure it’s very challenging and exhausting at times. We’ve been looking into adoption, so I love reading your posts.

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thanks, Noelle. I wish you love in the journey!

  5. Reply

    vanessa

    March 19, 2020

    I commend you for taking on a task that many wouldn’t. I’ve thought about fostering, but then doubt creeps in. Thanks for posting this! Its a great reminder about doubt.

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Yes. Doubt happens, but it is not useful!

  6. Reply

    Sydney Delong

    March 19, 2020

    Beautifully written! Doubt can take charge sometimes, and we shouldn’t let it!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thank you. I’m glad it touched you.

  7. Reply

    Liz

    March 18, 2020

    Self talk is such a powerful thing! It is crazy to think of some of the horrible things we tell ourselves…things we would NEVER say out loud to another person! This was a great read…thank you for sharing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thank you, Liz. Self-talk is crazy-making if we let it be!

  8. Reply

    Wella

    March 18, 2020

    You have such a good heart. Your kids will be amazing because of you. Thanks for sharing 🙏

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thank you, WElla! My kids are amazing with their own hearts and their own strength!!!

  9. Reply

    Kendra

    March 18, 2020

    You are enough. In fact, you are extraordinary! Much love and positive vibes coming your way!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thanks, Kendra. I really appreciate the support!

  10. Reply

    Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life

    March 18, 2020

    Beautiful realization. Love will win. It always does.

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      I totally believe in love!

  11. Reply

    judean

    March 18, 2020

    Don’t doubt yourself! You are a hero to many for all that you do! Always take care of you – there are others that cannot do everything you have on your plate – know that always doubting yourself is not good and not warranted!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 22, 2020

      Thanks, Judean. I do the best I can

  12. Reply

    heather J jandrue

    March 18, 2020

    I think you are doing an amazing job!! These children are so lucky to have you.

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 23, 2020

      Thank you, Heather!

  13. Reply

    Tiffany

    March 17, 2020

    Keep doing what you are doing!!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 23, 2020

      Yes, indeed!

  14. Reply

    Carmen

    March 17, 2020

    So right on with this article. Looking forward to reading more!

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 23, 2020

      Thank you, Carmen!

  15. Reply

    Lina

    March 17, 2020

    This is such an inspirational post! Doubt is definitely a bully and we all go through this. And none of us are perfect.

    • Reply

      Karla

      March 23, 2020

      Thank you, Lina

  16. Reply

    Sandi

    March 17, 2020

    Great story. What you art taking on is amazing. Keep up the great work.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Sandi!

  17. Reply

    Stacey Billingsley

    March 17, 2020

    Parenting is so hard! I feel doubt coming in in every facet of my life, actually. I get bummed, but then I try again. What other option is there if we’re determined not to give up.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Yes, yes, yes. Banish doubt and grow confidence.

  18. Reply

    Robin

    March 17, 2020

    This is so true! Self doubt is the worst kind of bully!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Yes! Any kind of negative thoughts in our heads can be the biggest bullies in our lives. But knowing how powerful that can be, changing the dialogue inside can be just as powerful!

  19. Reply

    Eva

    March 17, 2020

    Good outlook on life! I very much identify with the first half of this. It’s the reason I do not plan to have my own children. I will stick with loving and caring for my nieces and nephews. I used to volunteer as a cuddler in the local NICU and would love to get back to that. I almost feel obligated to contribute to helping kids since I’m not raising my own.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      I lOVE this! You are a nurturer at heart!

  20. Reply

    Cindy

    March 17, 2020

    What a great message and positive perspective. You got this!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Cindy!!!!!

  21. Reply

    Junell DuBois

    March 17, 2020

    So true! Doubt can be one of the hardest things to overcome.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Yes! I just keep reminding myself that confidence can be just as powerful.

  22. Reply

    Liz

    March 17, 2020

    Absolutely relate to this! Thanks for sharing your story, I feel you!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thanks, Liz. I suspect it’s a fairly common entity

  23. Reply

    Jennifer

    March 16, 2020

    Parenting is 24/7. So, there’s always going to be things that miss out being done. Well done, for taking on the extra love and responsibility.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Jennifer. It IS and ever evolving journey.

  24. Reply

    Karie

    March 16, 2020

    Doubt is a bully! I am going to remember that every time I doubt myself.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Good on you! Realism and doubt are two different things!

  25. Reply

    Christina Furnival

    March 16, 2020

    I love that you are so introspective and able to reflect. Doubt is something we all face, and it’s hard. Great job working to modify how your inner voice speaks to you.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Christina! I have worked hard over the years to be aware of my own thoughts and feelings as some of the things these kids go through (and put me through) are HARD!

  26. Reply

    Charlotte

    March 16, 2020

    So true! It’s so hard to change the way we think too.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Yes, Charlotte! What’s helped me the most is what I’m trying to teach my kids about their trauma and their feelings. If I expect them to work on thoughts and beliefs, I’d better do it too!!!!

  27. Reply

    Holly

    March 16, 2020

    I hope you free yourself from the bully inside you! Be your own bestfriend and tell yourself what you would tell your bestfriend! You are amazing, you have come a long way! Keeping you in my positive thoughts and prayers!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Holly. I am good most days. We are all more emotional these days, but enjoying family time.

  28. Reply

    Lisa Manderino

    March 16, 2020

    Love reading this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, and you’re welcome. 🙂

  29. Reply

    Tricia Snow

    March 16, 2020

    What a great way to put it. Doubt is the number one dream squasher!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Oh, yes, Tricia! Banish doubt! 🙂

  30. Reply

    Debbie

    March 16, 2020

    Doubt is a bully! You are doing a great job and making a difference!!

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Debbie! I appreciate the encouragememt!

  31. Reply

    Cora

    March 16, 2020

    I doubt there are many people who could honestly say they don’t deal with doubt at times. Keep your chin up and look to Jesus for reassurance. 🙂

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, Cora!

  32. Reply

    Lucy

    March 16, 2020

    yes, doubt creeps in and tries to take over when we’re at our most vulnerable but we are being the best parents we can be, and there is literally no doubt about it! what a beautiful family.

    • Reply

      Karla

      April 5, 2020

      Thank you, LUcy!

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