Reply To: Frustrated I can’t do the most simple things as a mum. Any advice please?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Frustrated I can’t do the most simple things as a mum. Any advice please? Reply To: Frustrated I can’t do the most simple things as a mum. Any advice please?


First, you are not a bad mum! You are struggling and spending time looking for solutions precisely because you are a caring parent who wants the best for your family! Here are a few things that have helped me:

1. Diagnosis & treatment: I was diagnosed in my 30’s, before kids. I started medication therapy & tried several meds before settling on Concerta. I went off Concerta while pregnant & nursing which was really hard. Occasionally now I stop taking it and always go back on when I realize how unmanageable my life has become. Concerta also helps with my anxiety, since I can function and don’t feel so overwhelmed. Meds don’t work for everyone but for me it’s really helped.

2. Planning that acknowledges my needs & preferences: I try to balance day to day life with some routine & some spontaneity. My ADD brain hates to be constrained by something so mundane as a plan! If my ADD wasn’t “managed” I’d flow through each day from one spontaneous impulse to the next. Unfortunately this creates stress & anxiety since I have to interact with the rest of the world! I try to stick to routine for anything related to external schedules – getting up, ready, and to work/school on time. For things over which I have more control I plan loosely, to combine organization with room for spontaneity. I hate meal planning, and chafe at deciding what to eat for Thursday dinner on Sunday. Instead I cook a few big batches over the weekend of fairly healthy things we like and reheat and/or freeze well. Then we have choices, but avoid the drag of daily shopping/cooking. Cooking methods that don’t need precise timing are ideal – long slow oven or slow cooking, and I love my electric pressure cooker – it’s fast and I can walk away & forget about it without ruining the meal. I shop for fresh veggies (pre-prepped salad or convenience items ready to cook – cost more but save money over throwing away food I forgot to cook) & fruit to round out meals.

Morning Routine: Get as much done as possible the night before. My day is guaranteed to have a smoother start if lunch is made & clothes picked out. My ADD preschooler is going through a “dress by himself in outlandish outfits he chooses himself” phase, so I try to respect it. I let him watch a video while eating breakfast if he sticks to other parts of the morning routine which gives me a little sanity to get ready. Pick your battles and, even better, avoid them by doing the most stressful things in advance when possible.

3. Household chores: I’m a binger with cleaning, organizing, taking care of the garden, etc. so things usually go undone until I find energy & focus to tackle them. I would prefer to master a routine (like flylady) but haven’t achieved this yet. I focus on keeping up with cleanliness, despite the clutter (clean bathrooms, vacuum/sweep & mop floors, change bedding, laundry, etc.). I often have big piles of laundry washed & dried but not folded or put away, so it isn’t perfect, but less stressful than nothing clean to wear. I purposely bought a drier with a steam dewrinkle cycle and use it often. I never got into flylady, but really like the “slob blog” and related books by Dana White.

4. Be realistic: Stop reading organizing solutions designed by people who don’t understand ADD. They usually have the opposite effect. Read all you can about organizing for ADD (Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan Pinsky is good for everyday household organization – it completely changed my perspective on why most of the popular organizing strategies weren’t working for me).