Wednesday, August 08, 2012


When you start Fostering you're so focused on the job the danger is you neglect your own health and welfare. 

The children consistently have a thing about food, so you stock up on the "comfort" stuff, resolving you'll wean them onto fruit once they're settled. Suddenly it's chips with everything for tea. They want you to eat what they're eating, so it's no more fresh fish and side salads for you. 
You find yourself cooking eight sausages instead of the six you need, just in case, and end up sharing the extra with your partner. And snaffling the left-over chips. Ronald  McDonald is back in your life, as is the Pick N' Mix counter at the Multiplex for Toy Story Eleven. 

If you do get an evening with friends, you deserve it, so it's a big curry, a couple of bottles of red and the token one of white (for non-drinkers, yeah?).

Going for a long healthy walk over the weekend is out, unless you count the trip from the car park to the Multiplex via McDonalds. As for finding time for the gym...fat chance.

You start waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the job. You go around next day tired and with a headache. You send a shirty email to someone and regret it, and are rude to a Hindu who phones from Mumbai to sell you pet insurance.

I ballooned ten pounds, was on Jacobs Creek every night, and beta blockers, sometimes, in the day. I'm not proud of this, nor ashamed, actually: I've steadied the ship, but remain basically unfit - it still seems more important to get fostering right.

But actually, if you think about it, if this applies to you too, we're getting something important wrong. 

This was a topic at a recent Blue Sky training session, that we all have to take our own health and well being seriously.

The bottom line is that we HAVE to view ourselves as even more important than the children. Meaning; if we fail ourselves or our own families we'll not only screw ourselves up, but end up failing the children too.

I have genuinely found that the best way is to be honest with your Social Worker, your partner and yourself. Jeez, your Foster child is likely to be honest enough with you: mine said to me back then, out of the blue: "You've got a tummy. I don't mind it as much as your morning breathe."

Try to look after yourself as if you were your own Foster Child. This is the best bit of thinking I have ever come up with on my own, so I hope it's worth a second thought.

Mind, if, as a Foster Carer you find out how to drop 10 pounds, re-discover clear skin and generally ooze health like the annoying Perle de Lait women, please, please, tell me how.

Meantime, memo to Blue Sky: please stop putting out biscuits for every support meeting. 

The Secret Foster Carer


  1. Isn't it interesting how we often forget about ourselves when thinking of others. We're really enjoying your insights and look forward to the next instalment.

  2. Wait for a complaint or accusation to strike....a guaranteed way to lose a couple of stone :)

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  4. That's funny, made me laugh, so true.
    It's the bit of the job you just can't be prepared for. Thanks for flagging it up. We should blog about it. What's your experience? Keep yourself anon if you want, but this is the kind of thing carers should know about.
    The Secret Foster Carer