Life updates and what the last month has taught me

June 26, 2019

Just a few days ago, I realized that it had been a full MONTH (and now a few days more) since I last published a blog post! What the what?!! And although I have recorded podcast episodes, Instagram Lives and Facebook videos during the last month, it has bothered me a little not to have […]

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it’s been a minute!

Just a few days ago, I realized that it had been a full MONTH (and now a few days more) since I last published a blog post! What the what?!! And although I have recorded podcast episodes, Instagram Lives and Facebook videos during the last month, it has bothered me a little not to have shared anything here.

So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to catch you up a bit on what’s been going on around these parts and what I’ve been learning in the past month, with the hopes that maybe you’ll benefit too (or at least, that maybe you can relate).

Life has been crazy

First and foremost, I haven’t been posting because, well, life has been crazy. In all good ways, actually. But major, life-changing big ol’ deal ways. I’ll start with the biggie. Just under a month ago, we MOVED! We became homeowners and are now residing in our literal dream home in our literal dream neighborhood in our literal dream town (the same one we had been living in before). If you would have told me six months ago that this would be the case, I would have laughed in your face (but not like in a mean way! 😉 ) But God had different (and WAY BETTER!) plans for us and we could not be more grateful. Just the other night, my husband and I were sitting on the couch talking after the kids had gone to bed and he said after taking a moment to look around the living room: “we aren’t renting this house. It’s ours.” And I knew just what he meant. We were home.

Second on the list (but not at ALL less important, just less certain) is that things are looking good for us to be able to adopt our baby boy. I hesitate to even type that sentence because our foster care journey has been such a rollercoaster ride – we’ve had times when we’ve been sure of nothing, times when we’ve been sure he would be reunified with his biological family, and now, it appears very likely (but not certain) that we will be able to adopt him. It will probably take a long time, there are many court dates that have to take place between now and then, but the thought of him being fully adopted into our family is more than I can dare to ask or imagine of God. He is, in our hearts, ours. He will always be part of our family, no matter what the judge decides. But to be able to continue to be his mama day in, and day out, for the rest of his life…that is a gift I am only still beginning to wrap my head around. Your prayers very much appreciated as we go forward in this process, my friends.

Third, our little man just turned one. ONE. It was a magical, beautiful, heartbreaking birthday in which he had a visit with his grandma and he cried when the case worker took him away from me for the visit. Then, I started crying because by law, I’m not allowed to take him back and comfort him. Then they left for the visit and I cried because…this poor sweet boy. His poor grandma. His poor parents, their extended family. This poor world. Ugh, you guys. I just sobbed. But then he came home and we had a beautiful family birthday party complete with his favorite food (macaroni and cheese pizza!) and a gorgeous birthday cake (2, actually!) made by a dear friend who is an artist and a baker and basically there’s nothing she can’t do. The world was right again as my older boys cheered around little man’s highchair and sang “happy birthday.” What a gift. It was only a few months ago when my oldest looked up at me with teary eyes and said, “Will we have him for his birthday? I really hope we do.” So we thank God for the gift of having him for his birthday. And all the other days, too.

What I’ve learned…

So what has this season of craziness taught me? A lot, actually. The biggest lesson I’ve learned caught me a bit off guard when I was at my oldest son’s end of the year class party. The kids had just finished presenting what they had been working on all year to the parents, and were now busy plowing their way through rice krispie treats and watermelon slices.

A mom friend whom I rarely see outside of the boys’ school came over to me and asked how things were going – she had always taken a sweet interest in our foster care journey. I told her things were going well, we were hanging in there and just settling into the new house.

“I honestly don’t know how you do it all, ” she said with wide eyes.

Inwardly, I laughed. This woman is a full-time working mom of two kids and always helps in the classrooms, and always seems to have it all together.

If she only knew, I thought. Let’s just say with all the life craziness in the past month, I haven’t always been my best self. And hello, I haven’t even written a blog post in over a month due to said craziness. And also on most days, I had been feeling too overwhelmed to care.

“Well, I definitely don’t!” I replied, thinking she was referring to my blog or online business, both of which have most definitely been placed on the backburner lately. Her comment immediately brought to mind all the ways I had fallen short in those areas lately. Funny how that works, right?

“No, ” she continued, “I just mean you have had SO much going on lately. The move, foster care, the end of the school year…I mean, just ONE of those things would throw me into a tailspin, but you always seem to do it with a smile on your face.”

I cannot tell you how much I felt seen and heard and validated in that moment. Thank you, my friend, for sharing those kind words of encouragement with me. They meant more than you know.

“Wow, thank you so much for saying that. I guess you’re right, there’s been a lot of big life stuff happening , and here I was feeling guilty that I didn’t sign up to bring anything to the party today!”

We laughed and caught up for a few more minutes, and it dawned on me just how hard I had been on myself, even without realizing it. Or not hard on myself, but just not giving myself as much grace as I know that I need in the midst of all that is happening in our family. It took the words of an encouraging observer to make me realize that we have been through an awful lot lately, and that we moms seem to be a lot more able to extend grace to other mamas, and maybe less able to give it to ourselves.

So thank you for reading my life ramblings, thank you for your grace, and let me be the first to extend it right back to you. Self-care can look a lot of different ways, that’s for sure. But for me, especially lately, it has been about the giving and receiving of grace.

Much love to you, my friends! I can’t wait to catch up with you again soon.

P.S. Get your FREE guide to reducing negative self-talk here!

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I'm Cathleen, your new (foster) mom friend.

I'm also a psychotherapist in private practice who wants to teach my fellow foster mamas the skills that ACTUALLY work to overcome stress, anxiety and overwhelm...'cause ain't nobody got time for that!

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