• Harlie Cloyd

DEAR MAMA, YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL

My heart is heavy, y'all.


As a foster mom, I'm bearing the weight of all the decisions that need to be made for my foster daughters, but that are ultimately out of my control entirely.


I'm reading all the books and listening to all the podcasts on raising children from hard places. I'm trying to potty-train, and make sure everyone is developmentally on track, and monitor counseling sessions. I'm documenting behaviors, and transporting to visits, and building a relationship with their birth mom. I'm advocating for the girls and pushing OKDHS and the courts to get things done as soon as possible. I'm writing letters and filling out adoption assessments. I'm fighting for their sister who is no longer in our care to find a safe, stable foster home.


And that's just foster care.


You may not be a foster mom, but I bet you can relate to a lot of this anyway.


You see, us moms also have to worry about child sex trafficking.


Who knows if there really is an elite pedophile ring. Regardless, child sex trafficking happens every single day right under our noses. It's big in the media right now, which is giving me a lot of anxiety. I was already doing my best to protect my kids against this atrocity, but now I'm wondering if I'm really doing enough? And it's not just my kids I'm worried about, it's the kids at the park without a parent with them, it's all the other foster children who are the most vulnerable when it comes to child sex trafficking, it's the foster teens who've aged out of the system and have no one to look out for them. I'm trying to find ways to advocate for these children who are being raped and sold.


I'm doing what I can at home too though... I'm trying to make sure I talk to my kids often about adults who ask them to keep secrets and try to touch them inappropriately. But not so often that they're scared something terrible is going to happen to them. I'm trying to make sure they know the names of their body parts and how they work. I'm trying to teach them bodily autonomy and how to say "no" to adults who insist on giving them hugs or tickling them. I'm trying to show them I will believe them and fight for them when they tell me about someone who's wronged them.


And there's the black lives matter movement.


I'm trying to educate myself, and be actively anti-racist. I'm examining my own prejudices, and trying to do better. I'm trying to speak in love to my friends and family who just don't get it. I'm reading about what it's like to be a black person in America. How can I do better for my black family, friends, and foster daughters?


And there's COVID.


My 4-year-old is starting Pre-K this year. Will her school year be interrupted due to COVID? Because change rocks her world. Are mask mandates the government's way of conditioning us to view compliance as civic duty or do masks actually work? I'm not a scientist, I'm just trying to use my best judgement to keep my family safe. Am I doing enough to boost their immune systems?


And there's my son, who we recently discovered is lactose intolerant.


I'm trying to make sure everyone in his life knows not to feed him dairy products. I'm trying new recipes and doing my best to make sure he doesn't feel excluded at meal times. I'm dealing with the diarrhea and sleepless nights when we screw up and accidentally order him a cheese quesadilla at a restaurant out of habit.


And there's my marriage.


We didn't fight for alone time together at the beginning of quarantine, so now we're playing catch-up. Where are we going for date night this week? Crud, I forgot to find a sitter. Well, it's too late now. Maybe it's for the best because we really should be saving money right now in case the world shuts down again. I guess we'll just stay home.


And that's not even touching on my endless daily to-do list: laundry, dishes, sweeping, toilets, home remodel projects, grocery shopping, cooking dinner every flipping night for 18+ YEARS... When was the last time my kids had a bath? Did I hug them today and tell them I loved them? We need more light bulbs and hairspray. How did the kids grow out of their clothes again? I literally just bought them some. Oh, and I should probably get back to not eating fudgy M&Ms and exercising more. And if I'd just spend a little more time with God, I probably wouldn't be worried about any of this... I need to make more time for reading my Bible.


No wonder I'm snappy with my family. No wonder my anxiety is through the roof.


I KNOW I'm not alone in this. So mama, this is for you...


YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL.


You can't fix all of the world's problems and do all of the other thousands of things moms do.


You aren't super woman, and you don't have to be.


You may feel like you're failing miserably right now, but I'm here to remind you (and myself) of the truth.


My good interactions with my kids and my spouse outweigh the bad most days. I do what I can to fight child sex trafficking. I cook mostly healthy meals and have only accidentally given my son dairy twice since the doctor ordered him off of it. I've done what I can to advocate for the girls as their foster mom. I am cautious with my family when it comes to COVID. We managed to get a date weekend recently, even if it was just to paint our entire house.


I guess I'm doing okay. And you are too.


Release the rest to God, give yourself some grace, and go get an iced coffee.


God is in the messiness of 2020, and we need to find peace in that.


Oddly enough, God spoke the word "peace" to me in January of this year. I didn't quite understand it at the time, but HOLY COW did he know I would need to lean on that word this year.


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27


Holy peace in Him. That's what I'm seeking.

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