Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Domestic Enemies of the Mom with ADHD

When I got the email with this guest post in it, I was very happy because I know a bunch of moms with ADD or ADHD  - and you know what? They're all pretty awesome. Here's a brief blurbitty blurb about today's special guest blogger:

"Nicole is a stay-at-home mom of two adorable children under the age of five who has a particular/involuntary affinity for that's-what-she-said "jokes".  When she is not wiping someone's nose or scrambling to make dinner, she enjoys reading, writing on her blog, and watching reruns of her favorite television shows.  Both she and her husband have ADD, making life rather chaotic most of the time and their house in varying states of disarray always."  

So I proudly present to you... The Domestic Enemies of the Mom with ADHD.


A lot has been said about moms with kids who have ADHD, but what about those of us who have ADHD ourselves?  We have a whole host of domestic enemies and here they are, in no particular order ...

Enemy #1: The House
Oh, what? You wanted that idyllic two-story with landscaping filled with flowers and a great yard for your kids to run around in? Great!  Guess what, that gorgeous house comes with a million little things to do. And guess what you're not good at ... keeping track and actually getting around to doing a million little things. Good luck!

Enemy #2:  Social Media
Isn't social media great? Keeping in touch with every last person you've ever met, learning the minutia of their daily lives, reading what they read, watching what they watch ... wait! Remember that house you live in and those kids you are in charge of and all that other stuff in YOUR life? You have to tend to that, too. I mean it's great to see these people doing what they do and all, but ... ooh! The girl that sat next to me in civics in 9th grade just posted a funny video of a dancing pig! MUST ...WATCH. (five hours later ...)

Enemy #3: Television
Back when we had cable, television was a clusterf**k for me.  Try watching just one show.  It's like a frickin' can of Pringles ... once you click, you can't stop.  And even now that we got rid of cable and I just watch shows online or on season compilation DVDs, it's still impossible to yank myself away from it.  Because, you see, the flip side of the deficit of attention is that often you'll go into what is called "hyperfocus". In this blissful state, someone could come in, steal everything in your entire house except the thing you're focused on, and you'd never notice.  It doesn't even have to be a good show (e.g., Battlestar Galactica ... I'm looking at you, honey); if it's on the screen, you're in a trance.

[Note: Lydia here. Is anyone else like - holy crap get out of my brain? And I do not have ADD. I think? Because wow, this is me.]

Enemy #4:  The Shower
It's probably different for everyone with ADHD, but for me the shower is a cave from which I might not return.  Maybe it's the warm water, maybe it's that I'm actually alone for a brief period of time, but for whatever reason that place is a total time suck.  Seriously, I could use all my available energy to focus on shampooing, thinking to myself, "Shampoo, shampoo, shampoo, shampoo" and the next minute I'd realize my brain is suddenly thinking, "I wonder what is going to happen on New Girl.  I love that show!  Uh, the way Nick kissed Jess ... heaven!  That look in his eyes, the smolder ..."  And I'm lost.  Twenty minutes later, pruney and defeated, I leave the shower hoping it'll be different the next day. 

Enemy #5: Broken Mental Filter
People with ADHD tend to have a difficult time thinking before they speak.  Which, in an ADHD mom's case, means that I often say things to my kids that I probably shouldn't.  For example, one day my three year-old daughter asked if Pinocchio had a big penis just like his nose.  Instead of just letting it go and pretending I didn't hear it, I asked her to repeat herself then launched into a brief speech on how nose size does not correlate to penis size, particularly in this incidence.  (Although I really should applaud myself for the answer I gave.  What I wanted to say was, "That is an AWESOME question!" and then laugh for an hour.)

(Right about here I got distracted by my kids or something.  Four weeks later ...)


Enemy #6: Projects
Look around your house.  Look at all those projects you've started and finished over the course of your life.  Okay, now take half of those projects, particularly the ones that took multiple days and/or a trip to a story to get something, and leave them half finished.  Oh, and leave them sitting around to laugh at you, mockingly, every day.  Or, do what I do and create a little unfinished project support group area in the basement under the stairs.  Don't worry, guys, I'll get to you ... someday.

Enemy #7:  Appointments (daily and otherwise)
Life necessitates an incredible amount of appointments, both social, professional, and personal.  Even dinner is kind of an appointment, one of those daily appointments that looms in front of you like a monster waiting to eat you alive.  (Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but ...)  The thing about appointments and other such obligations, particularly those involving kiddos (e.g., school), is that you are expected to get there or produce something at a certain time or by a certain date.  People with ADHD typically have an unrealistic understanding of how much time it takes to do certain tasks, so even getting out the door can be a nightmare on the best days.  Add in two kiddos under five, who act like they have ADHD because that is the nature of kids this age, and it's a recipe for disaster.  I don't know how many times I can apologize for being late, but I'm pretty sure I'm nearing my limit. 

Enemy #8:  Well-Meant Help
Yes, I get that you want to help me. I get that you think if I remove all distraction from my life I won't have ADHD anymore. The thing is, I will. My brain searches out distraction, and when it doesn't find any it urges me to create some. Even just having forty productive things to do is enough distraction to keep me from getting any one productive thing done. And just because you helped me get all organized and tidied up that one time and things fell apart again soon after you left doesn't mean I am not trying.  

It's just that if I get one new thing, be it a piece of paper or a toy from a gumball machine, that doesn't have a "home", that thing will sit on the counter collecting more and more "homeless" items like a magnet until it becomes the mess you originally came to help me with. Those things, even just the original one, stop me in my tracks; it's like being in a corn maze and coming to a dead end and not thinking to just turn around. For some reason, my brain just doesn't want to turn around.  I'm not just leaving it there because I'm lazy or out of spite.

Enemy #9:  Medication
I would love, LOVE to take ADHD medication. I have, in fact, tried on several occasions for extended periods of time to try taking it.  One in particular worked insanely well; I felt clear-headed and got tons of stuff done and moved at a normal pace through my day. And it broke my heart to have to stop it. But stop it I did because on that medication I became a raging b*tch. My typically mild-mannered self wanted to smack anyone and everyone that got in my way; I yelled at my kids more, said spiteful things to my husband, and generally had a cloud over my head the entire time I was on that pill. And not just that pill ... every medication I tried had the same angry effect. A lot of it likely has to do with my other issues ...

Enemy # 10: Comorbidity
ADHD comes with a lovely helping of comorbid (existing simultaneously with and independently of) disorders and ailments, a few of which I was "lucky" enough to snag myself.  Anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are commonly found in people with ADHD, and it makes life that much more difficult.  The anxiety alone is likely why I can't take any medication; stimulant meds tend to exacerbate anxiety.  And don't even get me started on the depression issue.  It's bad enough not being able to get everything done, but my brain also beats me up for not doing it.  Luckily, antidepressants don't aggravate ADHD or anxiety.  So I guess I have that going for me.
All of this sounds so much like whining, but really I just want people to understand that moms with ADHD are not trying to be a**holes by showing up late, we really want to get you that thing we said we'd get to you, and we really are trying.  It's all about understanding, right?

Read more from Nicole at:

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

Popular Posts