To bring more awareness and understanding to our Building Healthy Families program, I wanted to write a post showing you
Most of the moms in the program are single moms, doing all that they can to make sure they have what they need to make it through the day. Some of them have school aged kids that they get ready and sent off for school in the mornings, while still balancing the younger kiddos they’re at home with. They can’t afford to put the young kids in daycare, but they’re unable to get a job if they have to stay home. Their kids typically have big behaviors due to trauma and needs not being met in the healthiest ways, but they don’t have the knowledge of how to best handle those behaviors. They end up feeling overrun and defeated. They are constantly keeping everything going around them with little to no support. Many of them have toxic family members they have had to cut out of their lives (for the sake of keeping their children), or they have family members unwilling to step in and help, or maybe even no family at all. Therefore, all of the weight falls on them to get through each day, while also dealing with the effects of generational trauma of their own.
On top of the day to day, most of them are stressed and struggling to make ends meet. With little to no support and the inability to get a job (most due to having young children in the home), they often find themselves struggling with financial insecurity. They struggle to keep up with bills, keeping food in the home, and being able to provide the fun things for their children. They don’t have money to spare when emergencies happen, and they certainly don’t have money to spend on their own self-care and enjoyment. This only adds to the mountain of stress they already feel.
Having these struggles often leads to the moms feeling inadequate and this has a negative effect on their self-esteem. They begin to lack motivation, they fall victim to anxiety and/or depression, and the only thing that keeps them going is knowing that they have to for their kids' sake. They are tired, burnt out, and don’t know where to turn to for the help and support they desperately need, and most of them are too ashamed or scared to ask for help.
HOW DO WE HELP?
Through the Building Healthy Families Program, we are able to wrap around them and offer them mental, physical, and emotional support. Sometimes all it takes is someone who is finally willing to give them a space to be seen and heard when they have no one to lean on. I sit down and visit with my clients each week and it is evident that they desperately need that space to let everything out, which also frees up mental capacity to help tackle other stressors. I always tell them my line is open if they feel overwhelmed and need to talk between our visits. I have taken calls at night, helping to walk them through how to handle a situation with their kids. In a few conversations, I’ve been one of the first ones they’ve told they’re pregnant and overwhelmed with the news. I have had many phone conversations that end with how thankful they are that they were able to talk about their feelings and emotions with me after a particularly long day.
We are able to provide them with diapers, wipes, clothes, formula, and even beds and newborn baby items to help meet some of those physical needs for their children. We’ve had churches and volunteers offer to provide groceries for these families, especially around holidays.
We talk with them about trauma and the effects it has on both them and the kids. We help provide them with resources to prevent inflicting other trauma onto their kids and give them the tools to start correcting some of those actions.
We are able to bridge the gap between them and other resources they may not be aware of, such as housing, food assistance, bill assistance, etc. I have helped fill out applications for these resources, taken them around to apply for jobs if they’re able, taken them to appointments, or even just taken them to run errands that need to be done if they don’t have a means of transportation otherwise.
I’ve been present as an advocate for two of my families in court to support them in the fight to keep their kids. The support we offer to each of my families looks different for each of them. They all have their own individual struggles, but we have the same heart and goal for each. Our hope is always to provide them with the appropriate tools and support in order to strengthen them and get them to a place where they can thrive WITH their children!