Why I need superpowers
The last three months have been hellish at home.
School holidays = massive dysregulation and ramped behaviour.
New school term = massive dysregulation and ramped behaviour.
Mummy being laid low with a three week tooth problem……I think you can guess, no?
There has been shouting, fighting, breaking things, threatening to leave home, threatening to never leave home, tears and gin.
Not all of these have been just from the kids. The gin was all me! But we survived. Nobody got hurt. And nobody ended up in jail. Amazingly, we all still love each other.
With half term looming again I know that we will have some of these behaviours, albeit on a smaller, lesser scale. So I’m going to share with you my number one secret superpower to make sure we all make it through another half term.
Are you ready for this?
Do you have a pen?
My secret superpower…
I……….ask for help.
I know! Radical, right. I simply admit that school holidays are a bear, and I need help. Doing it all on my own is hard. It’s not all craft projects and snuggling on the sofa with Enid Blyton! I need help. And in the big holidays I need a bit of time away from my “delightful” cherubs!
It wasn’t always this way…
It wasn’t always this way! Our adoption report clearly states that our social worker’s main concern was my inability to ask for help. I always insisted that I could do it all myself, that the house would be immaculate, and that visitors would always have home baked goodies and home cooked meals.
I swear it nearly broke me. And if you’re trying to do the same, my best advise to you is Stop It. Now.
Now I know I’m really lucky. My mother in law lives 7 doors away….mainly because we moved to be nearer. And she loves to have the kids. As often as possible.
And I’m really lucky that we can afford to put the kids into activities sometimes to break up the holiday and give us all a break from each other. I also know that not everyone is that fortunate.
Top tips for using your superpower
So here are my top tips to flex your superpower for the upcoming school break (and every other day too):
Ask for help from friends
- Swap childcare with friends. If you’re having a great day, pick up someone else’s cherubs and take them to the park with you. You friend will be grateful, and they’ll be happy to return the favour when you need it most.
- Have a cook swap. Agree with your friends a short list of recipes that you’ll all eat, then all cook multiple batches of something, freeze in portions, and swap. You’ll end up with a freezer full of goodies that will save your bacon, your waistline and your budget on those days when the kids are still trampolining on their beds at 8.40pm and you’ve not even thought about starting dinner.Buy your biscuits at the supermarket.
It may sound obvious, but I was channeling my inner Bree Van der Kamp for the first two years of my kids being home. Every time friends came over for coffee, I baked. Scones, cake, biscuits. Not just one of them….all of them. And cleaned. The whole house! Madness. Nobody every complained about shop bought cake. Or a less than sparkling floor. Cut yourself some slack. It’ll be fine!
Ask for help from experts
- Check out your Local Offer for free activities. They’re a really great resource of groups, outings and help in your area. Every local authority should have one.
- Speak to your local Post Adoption Support Team. Again, your local authority or adoption agency will be able to point you in the right direction. At the very least they will come and listen, which sometimes is enough in itself. But they can also offer practical advice and support that you might just find invaluable.
- Adoption UK also provide a brilliant helpline if you need someone to talk to but feel really isolated.
- And if you don’t feel like actually speaking to anyone, they also have a forum. Sometimes it’s easier to type than speak…we get that!
- One of the things we hear most is that people genuinely feel that they have no-one to call on for help. And that is really tough. It’s hard to build a community, if you can’t get out into that community. But our kids go to school. And twice a day you smile at these mums, but often thats the limit of it. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. One of the most life changing things I did was offer to help a mum who was struggling to get one child to school when the other was sick.
Build your network
We didn’t know each other, apart from a fleeting smile in a morning as we dashed through the school gate. But she was obviously struggling, so I offered. Which was really hard for me to do. At first she said no, but I gave her my number. A week later I just checked in with her again. And then a couple of weeks later I collected her daughter on the way to school. 5 years later we are firm friends, and often do the emergency school run for each other when disaster hits.
And now, there’s another 3 mums in our network, who also are part of this amazing group of mums who support each other. With holiday play dates, too. ;-)None of these suggestions are earth shatteringly original. But sometimes, when we are on the front line of family life it’s hard to find a way out of the trenches.
Sometimes it’s really hard to ask for even the smallest amount of help. But, to quote Oprah, one thing I know for sure is that once you’ve asked the first time, it gets easier.
If you don’t want to ask for help…offer it!
I think you be surprised at just how glad people are to be asked to help. Oftentimes they can see that it’s hard for you, but don’t want to cause offence, or don’t know what help you need.
Offering to help another mum who is overwhelmed is your second superpower.
So why don’t we all put our superpowers to use this half term? Let us know how you get on!