Are you feeling guilty about the dirty dishes in the sink? Or wondering why you just can’t find time to squeeze in a date night with your husband? Have you sat anxiously in a doctor’s office, squirmed in a meeting with your foster care agency, or jammed your butt into one of those tiny desks meant for small children while talking to your child’s teacher and felt like the professional that’s supposed to be helping you simply doesn’t get how hard it is to be a parent of a traumatized kid? You might want to try a care map.
Shaky Hugs did a great blog on care maps. She defines a care map as “a process caregivers and care coordinators undertake to visually (and mentally) organize all of the connections they maintain for the child or adult in their care.”
Why Create a Care Map?
1) Erase your guilt over the piles of unwashed laundry. The visual representation of all the relationships you must juggle validates that you are putting your effort into the right thing!
2) Have a handy cheat sheet. If you have 20, 40, or 60 specialists helping you care for your child, it can help to have their names and numbers all in one spot in a visual format.
3) Brandish it like a secret weapon when seeking help for your child. For example, your child’s therapist may think that the care she provides is the most central to your kiddo’s healing and has a hard time understanding why you didn’t fit in all of the at-home therapy she assigned you last week. Show her the map of all the different kinds of care and gently point out that the doctor, special ed teacher, bio parent, foster agency, etc. all asked you to do things, too! Seeing is believing. It will help open her eyes and perhaps even help her help you in managing those relationships.
Here’s Shaky Hug’s care map for her foster son C.