Being a Mom with ADHD
I was already a parent when I received my diagnosis of adult ADHD. Reeling with exhaustion and overwhelmed, I had sought help for what I thought was depression. I can remember that moment of complete shock after the doctor told me, before I began to wail that I couldn’t, I was a mom for Pete's sake, how was I supposed to raise a son when I had ADHD?
Clearly, it was not one of my finer moments.
When I look back now, I can’t help but grin at the poor frazzled woman I was then. I had no idea what I was about to get into. I've learned so much about being a mom with ADHD since then.
1. Routines Are Your Friends
Weekday morning and evenings, school routines and weekend routines, I’ve become a schedule fiend. While I still inwardly cringe when the word 'schedule' is spoken aloud, and suspect I’ll always will, even I have to admit that this is the very thing that saves my sanity.
I rely on the security that a routine provides, as does my son. It makes for a smooth morning for us both and much easier transitions. Bad days happen. But when they do, knowing what step comes next allows me and my son to reroute and move forward out of the chaos, instead of becoming stuck and floundering.
2. Being Consistent with Consequences is Tough
Duck isn’t a perfect kid, and he sure isn’t above trying to use the art of distraction to get out of being grounded. He’s gotten really good at it and sometimes he gets away with it. For a minute. The trouble with my ADHD is that I ride the see-saw of extremes.
I’m either, “Oh, it’s okay,” mom or, “To your room! Don’t you roll your eyes at me!” mom. No happy medium to be found. It was confusing for Duck, to say the least, and very frustrating for me, as I’d realize that I’d done it again. While there is no easy answer to this, I can suggest hanging up a consequences chart.
I list the most common offences; lying, having a smart mouth, not doing homework or his chores, etc. I put them in a range from bad to worst of the worst. Across from each one, I list a punishment. Ranging from the very simple, apologize sincerely and give a hug, or apologize and hand over his favorite wii game, to the more creative, apologize and verbalize understanding that the router password has been changed and only after a certain length of time and doing extra chores will it be given to him.
We’ve had this chart so long that when Duck does do something he shouldn’t, or vice versa, we both automatically look towards the chart. I kid you not. Having something like this in place does help. It takes some time and effort in the beginning, is certainly a habit that needs establishing, but I feel it’s worth it.