Lowering Expectations for the First Several Weeks of Adopted Kids Being Home

If you have any mom friends on Facebook you’ve surely seen the mom memes about how hard life is.  It’s difficult to take a shower, getting out of pajamas is an accomplishment, a messy house is not a concern.  I’ve laughed at these cartoons but have never related to them.  The truth is I bounced back really quickly with both of my biobabies. When baby #2 was four days old I strapped her in the carrier and swept and mopped the floors.  Not because I felt like I had to but because I was bored and wanted something to do.  That’s just my personality- I function best when I have a lot going on.

I had big plans for when the kids got home.  We were going to have a lot of fun and do a lot of learning.  We’d do some sort of physical activity each day, sit down for a few formal but fun lessons, have free play both outside and in, and be creative through music or art.  It didn’t take but a couple days home for those plans to be spoiled.  And it didn’t take long after that for the guilt to settle in.  Maybe they watched too much tv one day or maybe the entire day passed without any sort of lesson.  A million things caused me to feel like I was failing, like I wasn’t giving all these small people what they needed.

So I lowered my standards.  Now I consider a day successful if:

  • My baby was nursed when she needed to be
  • I didn’t lose my temper with the kids, or if I did, I apologized quickly
  • I spent significantly more time feeling loving towards the kids than feeling annoyed
  • I comforted the kids when they were upset

That’s it.  Anything else- learning time, a phone call to a loved one, a blog, laundry, Dancing with the Stars- that’s all icing.  Yesterday we were all tired and it was rainy and we watched 2.5 movies and I even fell kind of asleep during one of them. But that’s what we all needed, and it was a successful day.

The kids need to learn their ABCs and shapes and colors and a bazillion other things.  And they will, in time.  And I will help.  But what’s really important right now is that they are learning how to be in a family.  That they know they are loved unconditionally.  That they understand that nothing they can do will make us give them back.  That they know we are there for them when they are sad or scared or mad.  That they can trust us.  That they are in our family forever.

The best way for me to  teach them these important things is by removing any stress that comes with higher expectations.  So I am now what I once considered a “lazy” parent, but I am totally okay with that!

These pictures aren’t related to this post but I thought I would share:





1 Comment

Filed under First Weeks Home

One response to “Lowering Expectations for the First Several Weeks of Adopted Kids Being Home

  1. yes, this
    when my little guy came home after two years in an institution and with some significant challenges and delays there was nothing we could work on but bonding and learning what it means to be loved, nothing else could be learned until he felt safe, and it took all that he had to work on those things, there was no space, time, energy left to work on learning language for example, or colors, or puzzles, or anything, so all of that, ALL of it, went on the back burner, for a loooooong time

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