The Forgotten Moms:: Mothering is Never Temporary

The Forgotten Moms:: Mothering is Never Temporary

Let’s be honest, friends. We’re friends, right? I had entirely different words all written. I wanted to tell you about how Mother’s Day flat out stinks sometimes. It hurts to feel like you live among the forgotten. As you browse through aisles of cards for seemingly every type of mother looking for the perfectly inappropriate message for your sister and enough sweet for your mom without retching, you never find yourself. Hallmark hasn’t yet recognized the category of Foster Mom. And in all honesty, most of society hasn’t. We’re viewed as temporary, glorified babysitters, baby stealers—and those are the kind terms.

Living Anonymously

The Forgotten Moms:: Mothering is Never Temporary

I by no means entered into foster parenting with rose-colored glasses, but I was also unprepared for some of the onslaught. Entire chat rooms are dedicated to bashing us and the system we work so hard to improve. Our family units live in anonymity with our lives as parents hidden from the outside world. Fun moments and hard times secrets to those outside the trusted circle. Smiles are frozen on phones, forbidden to be shown to anyone else. We are the only ones who will ever know or often witness the happiness children felt while they were with us. However, we’ll hear the echo of their laughter long after they are gone.

But then, someone else comes. And they need you, too. You open your home and your heart and you let them cry, or yell, or hug. You mask the pain you feel for their situation as best you can. You can’t help but feel a little anger in the pit of your stomach, but you’re filled with compassion as well. Because you know you already love them and one day, you’ll miss them so much you’ll ache worse than the flu. And somewhere, a mom is already feeling that pain because she said goodbye before they came to you.

Torn Between Worlds

They’ll hate this day because it will remind them that they aren’t celebrating with their “real” mom. They feel torn because they love you and they want to thank you too, but that brings on a sense of betrayal for the family that’s waiting for them. And even though you’ll try not to, you’ll feel hurt, too. Because it’s Mother’s Day—and you want to have the homemade cards, odd-looking breakfast, and stuffed animal they’ll inevitably steal and keep in their room.

Then, a little one will slam into my shins, wrap his toddler arms around my legs so tight, and say, “I’ll miss you so much, Kirsten.” Me too, bud; you have no idea. And I’m reminded that Hallmark doesn’t make me a mom. My husband probably won’t remember to celebrate or get flowers because that isn’t his thing. No amount of helium balloons or colored construction paper is needed to validate who I am or the role I play during this chapter of their lives {not saying that I cry any less when I receive mama drawings}.

Love You Forever

Not long ago I completely lost it emotionally. Total breakdown on Zoom {because that’s the norm these days} with my friends about how I just wanted to be better with this placement than I had the last. But I was still receiving notes that said “stop working” or scrawled contracts of when to stop—and I felt terrible. But schooling, connecting, and meeting deadlines was killing me. And like most moms out there, I felt like I was screwing it all up—again. But here’s the silver lining to foster care:: new kids come and you get a do-over. New days start and we try something different.

Recently, M and I discussed what it meant to be a good mom. Turns out a few hugs, hair braids, dance parties, kind words, and sucking it up to throw my whale-self down the slip-n-slide goes a pretty long way. And if you’ll excuse me, I’m needed upstairs because I do the best voices for Dragons Love Tacos. I may just be “mom” for now, but I’m going to love those stinkers forever.


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