Welcome to Mothering With ADHD (The Water’s Fine)
I was going to be a Mom! This was outstanding — and terrifically terrifying — news. Would I be good enough? Focused enough? Attentive enough? Could I balance it all? What I didn’t see at the time: Persisting in parenthood, despite my faults and foibles, is the best gift I could ever give my daughter.
The Welcome to Austin sign didn’t make me feel welcome. It made me feel stupid because I was supposed to be in San Antonio.
How did this happen? My ADHD brain had wandered, and I missed my exit. For some reason, Google Maps – my failsafe – had quit on me.
Stupid isn’t even the right word for how I felt. More like startled. If I hadn’t already been diagnosed with ADHD, I would wonder whether I was having a stroke or developing early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Instead, I sighed and notified my husband that I would be getting home an hour later than expected. He replied knowingly with a thumbs-up emoji.
Soon after, I would find out I was going to be a mom. This was on purpose and fantastic news… to me, worthy of more than just a highway welcome sign.
Yet the doubt was immediate: Would I be good enough?
Good enough is a funny term. You can be good enough for something bigger than you (like a tiny human growing in your body). Or the job you’re doing could be “good enough,” implying it’s not your best work, but it will do.
I’d come to learn (and be reminded constantly), that it’s this second “good enough” that makes me Good Enough for my daughter.
Good enough means forgiving myself when my brain wanders while I’m supposed to be focused on her.
It means wearing the pile of toys on the floor as a badge of honor: She had fun today.
Good enough is knowing I’m not perfect, but I’m showing up anyway.
It’s the relief she feels after I relax and remind myself, once again, that I’m good enough. In fact, I am Enough. More than enough.
I’m pretty new to this parenting thing, but it seems like kids pick up a lot. If she can pick up from me that I know that I am enough – warts and all – I think that’s giving her a lot to start with.
Unfortunately, awareness doesn’t equal action. My chest still tightens on weekends, when I would rather be lost in playtime but instead am mentally beating myself up over all the housework and errands I still need to do.
I still feel crippling pangs of guilt when I have to work another late night because I got too distracted during my workday.
I have so many Post-its with truisms and quotes by my computer that the meaning of each one gets buried in the visual clutter.
The good news if you’re relating to this? Not all is lost. Backsliding is a well-documented stage on the road to real change.
More importantly? There is no moment where you achieve Enough; you are already there. The trick is learning how to appreciate that fact — and live with yourself.
Updated on January 22, 2020