Mr and Mrs M have been foster carers for over 15 years. They both work full time and have three biological sons – 13, 14 and 23 – still living at home. They also have one set of grandparents who live on the same property. It is a busy, busy home.
They have had many little people come into their hearts and home, some for a short time, some for a long time. Their current foster child, Little Miss Three, has been a part of their family for almost 3 years, and they frequently take in emergency placements for a few days up to a few weeks.
This is what an average day looks like in their home.
The average morning starts with Little Miss 3 yelling for her ‘Darl’ which just so happens to be Mr M. This normally occurs around 6:30am. Thankfully the M household have adjusted to this sort of morning and Mr and Mrs M have already been up for a while, enjoyed a cup of tea together and spent some time together and have completed a few chores to start the day.
To some, breakfast may seem like chaos. A mixture of adults, teenagers and a preschooler moving between the kitchen and the table preparing and eating breakfast, but you won’t find a single drink split or a crumb on the floor – unless you are anywhere near Little Miss 3’s highchair – where she has taken an explosive artist approach when it comes to eating breakfast.
Then begins the delightful madness of getting everyone ready for work, university, school, and daycare. Everyone bounces off each other to make sure everyone gets showered, dressed, packed, and presented at the front door at 8am.
Kisses on the check from Mrs M to the three youngest and Mr M loads them into the car for drop off. She then checks in with Mr 23 that he has everything needs for university before moving into the home office to begin her day at work.
In their home, both Mr and Mrs M work from home. They need the flexibility working from home affords so they can meet the requirements of their children and the department. It also means that they get to have time together during the day which is important for their relationship. A simple drive to the supermarket while the kids are out during the day is important ‘date’ time. Part of prioritising their time together is getting in someone to help with domestic chores as for them, the 10 minutes of vacuuming is better spent having a moment together.
3pm always arrives before they know it and the ‘kid collection’ begins – sometimes Mr M, sometimes Mrs M. It starts with collecting the big boys from school and bringing them home. This is ‘mum and dad’ time for Mr 13 and Mr 14. It is important that Mr and Mrs M get time with their teenagers without the sass of Little Miss 3. They cherish their afternoon teas with the boys (when the boys decide they are cool enough to hang with) and the boys need this time to remind them they are valued and loved.
4:30/5pm arrives and it is off to bring home Little Miss 3. And you never pick up the same Little Miss 2 days in a row. Sometimes the daytime nap has not happened, and she is a cranky little pants, some days she comes home covered in who knows what, some days she comes home with the biggest stories about her day, but she always knows she comes home to love and laughter.
While dinner always happens, it must work around extra-curricular activities. Sometimes dinner is on the run while the boys dash out to sports, sometimes it is everyone around the dinner table and sometimes it kids eat first while Mr and Mrs M eat in front of the television after everyone has gone to bed.
Now it would be remiss to not mention that there are appointments thrown in haphazardly every week – doctors, department, dentist, therapists, meetings, play dates – but they work together and make it work. Some days, when it is a mad dash day, stress levels get a little high but that happens in every family – foster child or not.
Is every perfect – no. Is every day easy – no. But is every day filled with love – yes!
And when it all gets a bit much, they get a delivery of chilli – because that is how I help xx