Posted by: amica | January 29, 2010

My Yesterday

Dear Newest Babysitter,

I know, I know! This traumatized kids thing is for the birds. More than that, it’s a bunch of bull that I, the crazy mama, have pulled out of my butt because there isn’t enough excitement around here. That’s ok because I don’t expect you to understand or know about therapeutic parenting or even care. What I DO expect is for you to earn the money I pay you for, I don’t know, DOING your job. This does NOT include allowing my children to roam freely about the house without supervision. It also does NOT include allowing my kids to manipulate you which is why I repeatedly ask that they be in their rooms until I get home. Because they WILL manipulate you. They WILL lie to you. They WILL push every button you have.  Teaming up with my kids and letting them play in the garage with the understanding that if mom drives up, everyone run to their rooms is NOT a good idea. Not only have you just proven to them that you CAN be manipulated, that you do not support me, that I shouldn’t be respected but you have also put my children in a situation that they were able to accomplish this. They now feel more shame and failure on top of all the negative feelings they already have. Thank you so much for not listening to me, not taking me seriously, and completely disregarding my rules. AND THEN this morning when I confront you, thank you for lying. Your lies in general are terrible and you must think I am an incredible fool to believe any of them but today, today you didn’t even make sense. I am now looking for yet ANOTHER babysitter and hopefully I will find one soon.

Dear Mr. Boss-Man,

When I need to take care of my children and you raise an eyebrow, it doesn’t affect me the way you are hoping it will. When I need to take them to therapy and you let me know how much my family issues are harming my career, I am not scared. I am sad. I am amazed. I am confused. Career? Sir, this may be your career just like the other fellas in here that have wives raising their children. But for me, it is a job that helps me with my career, which is being a parent. I need a job, it is completely necessary and I do my job well. Never have I asked for special treatment due to my family “issues”. But if you are implying that this place should be more important to me than my children, then we can never agree. I depend on an income. I don’t want to lose this one but never will anything be put before my children’s needs. So while you are worrying about this work, I am busy doing the Lord’s work. I am not playing hookey after a late night, I am trying to give everything I have to my 3 children. Trying to get them therapy and Medicaid and clothes and baths and neuro exercises and keep them in school and keep the house from being destroyed and trying to eliminate their nightmares and horrible thoughts about their memories and keep them safe and let them know they are loved and wanted and doing the dance of loving them without terrifying them with that love and trying to smile in the face of an angry hurting child that would love to hit me until they actually did and then be overcome with shame and failure and wonder how anyone could ever love them and try to do this the best I can as quickly as it can be done to avoid the possibility that one day they may not be able to live with us anymore and I can only visit them in a facility because it didn’t happen fast enough or good enough and then I am filled with shame and failure and sadness and grief at what can never be. So Mr Boss-Man this is what I come home to everyday and wake up to every morning and think about much more in the day than you want to know. Your smart remarks are nothing compared to the fear I have every moment of not being able to succeed in my career, to help my children heal.

Dear New (and now old) Therapist,

When you are asked if you are trained in attachment therapy, it is ok to say no. It is ok to be able to treat a large part of the population but not a smaller, more specific group of people. It is a waste of all our time for us to come in for a two hour session where you question me in front of my children. Where I sit and watch my son completely manipulate you and you totally fall for it. Then you turn to me and question my rules and why things have to be a certain way. No I can’t trust him to play in the front yard alone. I can’t trust him to go to the mailbox because he took matches and started fires. I know he wants to be more like a “normal” kid, I would love for that to be too but….it CAN’T happen. Why am I having to explain this to you? You are the professional and when I say stealing to my son is all the same whether it is a magazine or a TV it means I have to treat it the same too. I know kids like to sneak sweets and it it normal for them to do, but my son hoards food and steals from anyone that has anything he wants. He doesn’t understand the difference between  a cookie and a video game so don’t tell me (in front of him) to let him have cookies everyday and then he should probably stop stealing them. I wish it were that easy. And my daughter that lies should not have a point system where if she stays below her set limit of lies for the week I will take her skating. Let me break this down. My daughter doesn’t lie just to keep herself out of trouble. She lies because she can. She lies to take herself to another place because this one is too scary. She is riddled with anxiety and can’t just stop because it has a prize involved. Once again, I wish it was that easy. Second, point systems don’t work with RAD kids. I can give you 100 books and websites where you can learn all about that. Third, I know she loves skating. She loves going to many places but unfortunately I am a single mom of three children. And ALL 3 of them are unable to be unsupervised. A skating rink where there are tons of little boys for her to “play” with, for my son to be able to fill up his pockets, and a 3 year old that could get swiped at any moment is NOT my favorite place to go as the only adult. You want to see anxiety??? I know what works, what provides the safest environment for them and what I can handle easily. Don’t raise your eyebrow at that, especially in front of my children who at this point are BEAMING because you set me straight, didn’t you? They will be so sad to learn we won’t be back because for just a little while today, they manipulated another adult and watched their mom be undermined and to them, disrespected to the point that all their dreams were about to come true. They were about to rule the world. But I have to pull that rug out from under them, thanks. I can’t wait.

Dear H,

I know it’s been a long day – you have no idea how long mine has been. I know you don’t want to sleep in your bed tonight, or your room, and you want to battle this more than normal tonight. I suggest the radio and an uplifting book to fall asleep to but instead you thought puking in your bed would better convince me. Darling, the finger down the throat thing? Really? That’s ok honey, let’s strip the bed instead of getting the baby to sleep. There, bedding completely changed out, radio is on, kisses are given and…well you look happy now… you too.

The End.



  1. Ugh. TTops therapist was like that when she was in her last foster home. As we were transitioning her home, her therapist would do crap like that all the time to undermine us. Maddening isn’t it?

  2. I hope and pray your today was better. The search for competent sitters and therapists- UGH!

  3. you might want to send a K. Leslie workshop flyer to the therapist. sounds like she needs a clue.

  4. I really feel you on the “career” stuff! I’m lucky that my boss is totally awesome and understanding. She knows that I’m a hard worker, very reliable, but that family will always come first. No job is more important than the job of raising this little girl and making her feel safe and loved. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to face that kind of disapproval at work. I hope it gets better.

    And the therapist? Yikes!! We once had a mobile therapist through the local MH/MR center who was exactly the same way. Of course she didn’t pass herself off as an AT and in fact admitted she was in way over her head. I really think that the wrong therapist is worse than no therapist at all. Good for you for realizing and ending it before any real damage is done.

    The babysitter sounds like my (well-meaning) father. But I’m not paying him to undermine me!

    I so admire you for making the tough decisions and for doing what you’re doing for these kids!

  5. Oh, dear…

    I’m so sorry things are tough and complicated, but I can’t think of anyone who could handle this situation better than you. Your kindness, determination, and grace are amazing! I’m praying for you!

  6. I can come over and beat someone up for you (not H.)… Sorry for all the nonsense but you are and AWESOME mom!!!

    You are where we have been. We are so gunshy about babysitters that we tried one this weekend for the FIRST time since we moved to Texas a year and a half ago. As for therapists, we went through a lot of bad ones and settled for an ok one for a while but just haven’t been able to make that work for any period of time!

  7. Ohhhhh, the babysitter thing. Sooooo hard. This is a huge part of what makes RAD and traumatized kids such an isolating dynamic.

  8. Wish I could help.

    Hugs and prayers!


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