Fostering children is challenging at the best of times, let alone during the psychological and physical rollercoaster of menopause. If you’re fostering toddlers or teenagers, you’ve got a large collection of hormones boiling in a pot, and it’ll explode in no time if you’re not careful. If this struggle sounds familiar or you can feel it coming, we’ve got you covered with the following tips for managing menopause and fostering.
The Challenges of Menopause and Raising Foster Children
Women are starting families later in life because the world doesn’t force them to start a family in their late teens/the early 20s anymore. Therefore, what’s happening is women are starting their menopause when their children are toddlers or teens. The same applies to foster parents, as newcomers may have explored alternative careers during their 20s and early 30s.
If you’ve got young foster children, especially toddlers, they’re going to be running around the house all day to burn off energy. On the flip side, it’s likely you’re struggling to sleep and trying to manage hot flushes. Further, if the dreaded joint pain starts to set in, there’s no way you’re going to keep up with a toddler.
For those of you with foster children going through puberty, you’re in for a difficult time building a relationship. Unfortunately, you’re going to be full of emotions ranging from mood swings to anxiety, which will only be exacerbated if you’ve got a teenage girl that will be experiencing the same emotions. Even though you’re going through the same motions, you’re years apart in age, which puts a barrier between the two of you.
Fortunately, no matter what age your foster child is, you can navigate the seas of menopause and come out the other side with a strong bond with your placements. The next four sections will offer you tips for survival.
Make Time for You
Taking care of your foster family is important, but you need to make time for yourself. Therefore, when life gets tough, don’t be afraid to call on your support network to give yourself some respite care. Further, if you’re feeling stressed out at work, talk to your employer and they may be able to offer compassionate leave. However, you will need to mitigate any loss of earnings, which many foster agencies can support with. For example, over at fosteringpeople.co.uk, they can offer an allowance to cover the expenses of food and other basic needs.
You don’t need to go on a physical holiday away from your foster home to create time for yourself. Instead, alter the schedules slightly and insert time to read a book, take a bath, work out, or whatever else gives your mind a slice of zen.
During menopause, your hormones are going to be out of sync, which will lead to mood swings and other symptoms. Luckily, there are ways you can balance your hormones including supplements and remedies, which can alleviate emotional and physical symptoms. The majority of remedies are natural, but you should still check with a medical professional if you’re starting any new treatments.
Talk About It
When you’re suffering, it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and continue multitasking the day away. However, you should stop for a minute and talk about your problems when foster life gets too overwhelming. If you don’t communicate with your family, friends, and employers, they’re going to have no idea what you’re going through. If you’ve got older foster children, you can set them aside and explain to them what’s happening and reassure them that it’s not a permanent change – you might find that they’re more forgiving.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re experiencing menopause, you must take care of yourself. It’s like the air hostesses always say – put your own oxygen mask on first. If you’re feeling fatigued because you’re not sleeping, you won’t be able to care for your foster family effectively. Therefore, you should call on family and friends to come over and keep guard while you get some much-needed rest. Taking care of your own needs on this occasion doesn’t make you a selfish person; it shows you want to be at your best.
Going through menopause and fostering a toddler or teenager comes with its own set of challenges, which need to be managed if you want to provide a high level of care. Therefore, set time in the daily schedule for some self-care, and remember, it’s always okay to ask for help.
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