Cupcakes, cookies, cake, or ice cream for dinner. Kind of a parent’s worst nightmare, but a kid’s dream, right?
In my house, that dream becomes reality on at least a monthly basis.
I’ve been reading about compassion fatigue and secondary PTSD in foster and adoptive parents. When someone you love is hurting so much and lashing out at everything, it’s pretty easy to start feeling run down. The joy goes out, even little things seem like an effort, and you feel like you just can’t. I’m certainly familiar with that feeling, even more so after T and B both blew in and out of our lives like destructive forces of nature.
These feelings certainly aren’t exclusive to foster parents though, I think everyone gets run down sometimes. Non Euclidean Sofa, wrote a particularly poignant post on this recently. Impressive for a piece of furniture. In their post, they write about how adulthood can just beat you down until all you want to do is nap! I believe everyone ever can relate to that.
Therefore, in my home, I have my own way of avoiding or mitigating this “burnout”. As I make a sit-down, nutritious dinner for my eclectic family nearly every night, I have determined that it is an area where there is some wiggle room. Roughly once or twice a month, always after a very hard day, we have cupcakes for dinner. Or ice cream. Or any ridiculously unhealthy store bought junk-food, chock full of refined sugar and preservatives. Bonus points if the very sight of it gives you cavities.
I plop down this buffet of ill health on the counter and tell my kids to go crazy. No fighting to get everyone to sit down together, no insistence that everyone at least try the veggies. The only rule is that they must put any dishes in the sink when they are finished.
Not only do the kids go nuts for it (Mom’s gone crazy again! Eat before she comes to her senses!), it gives me a small break in the exhaustion and monotony. Even if we end up in the ER that night (always room 22, pediatric psych!), or someone breaks something in a rage, I can hold on to the memory and taste of cupcakes.
It’s my own little way of remembering to not take life to seriously. Yes, there are times when everything sucks beyond belief and my kids hurt in places I can never reach, but at least we can have some fun. At least we can have cupcakes for dinner.