Parenting with ADHD
Today I’m writing for Momsrising in support of National Women’s Healthcare Week. Why do women need their own healthcare week you might ask? Head shaking—because if mom gets sick who will remember that you only like your macaroni and cheese with rotini pasta? Or that the reason you refuse to wear those perfectly nice pants is a matter of pride (those buttons are hard!) rather than outright defiance.
Women. Y’all need us healthy. But what is a woman/mom to do when her illness cannot be cured? I’m a lateish 30s, stay-at-home mom with ADHD. I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-twenties, long after college, long after I had successfully managed a department of people at a retail store and shortly after I started working in a detail-specific job research job.
ADHD gets overlooked in girls—for many reasons—but typically because they aren’t causing class disruptions.
Squeaky wheel and all that.
I hear parents talking about their frustrations with their ADHD kids all the time. The afternoon moodiness, the mealtime battles, the school work struggles.
I try to quietly speak up for the kids, to the parents that don’t understand why little Jimmy goes from calm to a weeping, raging mess around bedtime.
Because I understand what it’s like when your meds abruptly wear off.
I’m a mom, a stay-at-home mom, with ADHD. The mom runs the house, verifies sandwich crust removal, fills out permission slips, and makes sure that kids have wacky socks for spirit week.
I’ve got five fingers clinging to a leaking lifeboat plugged together with volunteer hours, housework, errands, and appointments. Three fingers desperately stretch out to grasp at the rotting rope of finding a new pediatrician, finding (and filling out) the two different sets of medical authorization forms, and scheduling an appointment with my own med manager before my prescription runs out.
And my oldest wore plain white socks on wacky sock day.
Doing the math: that leaves two fingers for actually parenting my children, being available in my relationship with their father, and anything else just for me.
I hear the internet mumbling already, “many women do all of that and work, too! What in the world?”
I know; I get it and that only serves to feed my own inadequacies. Sure, I shrug those inadequacies off like the details of, well, anything. Most of the time; self-deprecation is a healthy yang to a person that considers hubris a compliment (yup, that’s me).
But deep down inside? Between you and me? It is frustrating beyond comprehensible belief to be stuck forever wanting to just have two days where all of your thoughts, beget your actions, beget your completed lists.
It seems impossible to Lean In without Falling Over.
Take a quick google image search for “funny ADHD sayings” and commence to giggling. It’s funny, right?
Now let’s imagine those same funny sayings, but change it to… oh, let’s use autism. Does it seem a little less amusing to liken my brain issue to something so simple as a shiny squirrel?
Hey, I make those jokes too, and my brain created a viable argument for the association between healthcare reform and waffles while I was searching for the Women with ADHD link.
The harm lies not in laughing at a seemingly unrelated set of objects, but in the typically-brained (because y’all are no longer “the norm” in society) ignoring the possibility of a logical relationship.
I can go from a missed, feeding tick on my son’s back to TCE in the groundwater of Wake Forest, NC. Ask my husband, he listened to it happen.
To all of my ADHD moms—and I know you’re out there—for every forgotten wacky sock, for every misplaced form, your kids know you as the mom that will impulsively drop everything to go on a (mis)adventure. And that’s good parenting stuff right there.
Stephanie Lormand is a SAHM of two far too intelligent sons. She loves to write and take pictures, if only to preserve a moment's worth of thought. Read more from Stephanie at scattermom.com