Positive Parenting

Like Mother, Like Son

My child and I are both weird, in a good way. They are ADHD symptoms, not flaws!

a puzzle piece falling into place illustrates the author's realization that her adhd symptoms match those of her child

“So, Miles,” I start. It’s an unusual moment because he’s flopped on the couch in the den, not behind the closed door of his room. He shifts his eyes from his phone to me. “My doctor told me something interesting today.” I have his attention and need to keep it, so I get to the point. “I have ADD, too.” His eyes dart to mine. “Yeah. Got medication. Same as yours.”

Even after years of my struggling to diagnose Miles, and reading everything I could about symptoms and solutions, I didn’t expect my doctor to see attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) in me. Yet it makes sense. It makes pieces of my puzzle click into place, and allows me to re-examine behaviors I’d thought were flaws.

“That’s why you’re so weird,” Miles says. A slow smile crosses his face. “Like me.”

“If you mean smart, hilarious, and creative,” I say, “then, yeah, ADD is why I’m weird like you.”

[Self-Test: ADHD Symptoms in Women and Girls]

We are alike. It makes me wonder how I never saw it before. He misplaces his glasses, I lose my keys. We talk a lot when we’re excited. Neither of us is good at hiding disinterest, so we fight the habit of changing the subject in
the middle of someone else’s story.

We miss details sometimes and obsess over them at other times. All traits that, in Miles, drive me crazy. I see now they are the same ones I need to forgive myself for.

I think of how intent we both are when we love what we’re doing — how we lose all sense of time when we’re focused. We’re fun, passionate, and emotional, quick to anger and frustration, but also quick to apologize. These are symptoms, too—wonderful ones. Not flaws.

[Free Parenting Guide for Moms & Dads with ADHD]