Parenting is HARD. This is not a cliché. This is not a whining mommy blog where I can't get my three year old to put on their socks (which was also hard, not to minimize the experience of people dealing with three year olds, I whined loudly on this blog during those times as well). No, this parenting of these children who are both my children and my blended children as they emerge from divorce and rocky pasts, and struggle through depression and anxiety and trauma and heartache is so much harder than I ever thought possible. I am talking the hardest fucking job I have ever had.
It is not the daily arguments or tantrums that overwhelm me, but the emotional sadness that they all feel at different times. It is usually staggered, but sometimes it's all at once, and it is a deep, deep sadness. It is an intense pull of emotional turmoil that they need to let out, and sometimes they do and they feel better. Other times they don't let it out but instead it festers into a dark and scary explosion, which splatters our lives with the heavy, sticky paste of raw emotion gone wild. It is both emotionally depleting and heart-wrenching for us to muddle through with them. Even when they express these emotions and feel better, as a mother I can't help but absorb those emotions in to my own being and hold onto them for my children, and it drags me down into sadness and misery right along side of them, as they seem to rise out of it I feel wasted and vacant.
The part that also saddens me is that they don't really seem to rise out of it. Most of our kids seem alright for a few moments, maybe a week or even a couple of months, but then we're back to the pit of sadness again, with threats of suicide and hurting themselves, trips to the doctors and therapists, and anger and crying that is often worse than the last time. The older they get, the more intense the emotional rise, and the harder the crash.
What is also alarming is that it is every single one of them. We have six kids, and not one of them is OK. I thought for a while that maybe they were feeding off of each other, and I do think that the amount of attention paid to a child in crisis does affect the overall morale, but these kids are individually feeling the pain of their lived experiences. There is nothing that either Jon or I can seem to do to ever make it better for any of them. We try and we fail, and although I believe that we are not terrible at this, I can't help but feel like a failure most of the time.
I get a lot of "those kids are lucky to have you" which, like adoptive or foster parents know, is not actually true. These kids would be lucky to have not gone through all of the shit that got us here in the first place. All of our kids deserved two loving parents from the inception who loved each other enough and were stable enough to create a healthy home. Our kids deserved to not witness the collapse of their families. Our kids deserved to not have terrible things happen to them. Our kids deserved to have a life free of emotional abuse. Our kids deserved to be able to express their emotions and have them validated. Our kids deserved all of this before they were so old that they were broken and harmed from it. All kids deserve these simple things from the beginning.
I hope we can get them all safely to the other side. I don't know what will happen or how their lives will pan out but as any parents knows, all you really want is for your children to be happy, in whatever way that is possible for them. I absolutely hate not knowing what to expect next. I wish I was a religious person who could pray loudly to my deity for salvation of their souls, but I don't believe in any of that, and I am pretty sure it wouldn't do much anyway. Right now we live in the trenches of parenting, and here we will remain for many more years. Here's to hoping we all make it out safe.