It was 11:30 pm and I was so ready for bed. That morning started at 5 AM with a cranky toddler who had been up most of the night. There was no food in the house and we had yet to go shopping because I had been so busy that week with multiple doctors’ apartments. I lost several hours on the phone talking to the insurance company trying to get them to pay for what they are supposed to pay for. My daughter was going through a growth spurt and was hungry constantly and would only eat specific foods prepared in specific ways and tears would consume her if I got a piece of rice out of place.
She also threw my favorite makeup in the toilet despite not being potty trained and I had not worn lipstick in what seemed like months, so I have no idea how she got a hold of it in the first place. Dishes were piled up when my husband got home from work and dinner wasn’t even close to being on the table. Thank God for microwaves. We all just had a long, cranky day where nothing seemed to go right and that is why I was so ready to get to bed after a long bedtime routine and then a good hour plus cleaning the kitchen. That is when I noticed my wonderful, loving husband had dumped all the clean laundry on the bed for me to sort through and put away. He really is a helpful man.
Luckily he sensed that my day had been rough and jumped in to do the laundry so we could both have a place to sleep. My husband is amazing and he recognizes that despite the fact that I love being a mom and despite the years and countless pages of paperwork and all the money and hard work that goes into adoption, I can still have a bad day doing the thing I love most in the world.
I am so blessed that I get to be a stay-at-home mom.
When all my friends were announcing pregnancy after pregnancy, I was waiting. I was waiting for immigration paperwork. I was waiting for grant applications. I was waiting for fingerprints and background checks and social worker visits. I even had a friend that had two babies in the time it took us to adopt our daughter. Soon after we brought her home, that same friend announced her third pregnancy! Of course, I was happy for her, but it was sad the adoption took so long.
Many people think we are amazing or super generous people because we adopted our daughter. They think we are saints or something. We are just regular people that got to do this amazing thing and travel across the world to meet the most amazing little girl and be her mom and dad. After years of fighting for her, we got to bring her home. Most moms know that motherhood isn’t easy. Even adoptive moms have bad days, but sometimes it feels like we are not allowed to.
Too many people (some who we would consider friends) online or in real life do not like to see adoptive parents comparing or sharing a difficulty they are having with parenting. I have even heard people say things like, “Well you knew what you signed up for!”
No parent can truly understand what they are signing up for. That is true of birth and adoption. We may know some going in, but there is no class that can truly teach you what it is like. I wanted a child so badly. I was born to be a mom. I waited years and years and worked so many overtime hours to bring my daughter home. I wanted her. She was not a surprise and adoption is not something you do on a whim. Because we spent so much time praying and considering adoption and what type of adoption, I think sometimes friends and family do not allow parents who adopted to be honest about the trials of parenthood—or at least that is how it can sometimes feel.
I even have family members who do not see my adopted child as they do a biological child. To them, they cannot understand that I have the same challenges as other parents and sometimes more challenges that other parents do not have to contend with. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, but it was demoralizing to throw away my last connection to my before-child self in the form of ruined lipstick.
So, sometimes parents through adoption feel that they cannot share their bad days with friends and family. Sometimes they mean well and try to give advice. They offer ideas you have or have not tried but that isn’t really why you wanted to share. You needed someone to understand and say, “tomorrow will be better.”
All parents have bad days. I have the best husband, the best daughter, and the greatest support system, but I still have bad days. I have mornings when I wake up with a bad headache and a sick child in my bed and a hungry husband because I forgot to buy oatmeal. Luckily, he is a good scavenger when I desperately need to shop. I am my own worst enemy and allow my problems to pile up and I refuse to ask for help until I am completely overwhelmed, unorganized, and honestly drowning. I am afraid to admit defeat or that I am having a bad day. When someone asks how I am doing I will just say “fine.” I am often not “fine.”
Some of it is outside pressure and some is from within, so I am here today to say that it is ok for adoptive moms and dads to have bad days! That is some poetry I need to take to heart. Just because I wanted a child so much that I went through the long journey of adoption, it does not mean I do not have days when it is hard. Just because I seem strong on the outside, it doesn’t mean I am put together inside. Please, for all that is good in the world, do not look in my laundry room. There is a bad day waiting to happen in there.
It is true that sometimes we need to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. It is true that there is always beauty and I have the choice to have joy on difficult days. It is also true that I can have a bad day and call on the people I love—especially other moms—and we can love each other without judgment. Maybe there would be a lot less burnout in the mom community if we were slow to judge and quick to understand all parents have bad days every once in a while.
More Articles By This Author
Adoption is Not an Easy Process and That is a Good Thing
“No One Ever Asked” – Book Review
Open and Closed Adoption: What is the difference?
5 Ways We Celebrate My Adopted Child’s Culture During the Holidays