Does anyone ever feel like they are just faking being a mother?

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  joolee 1 week, 6 days ago.

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  • #132792

    roadrunner
    Participant

    I was wondering if anyone else feels like they are just faking being a responsible mother? I hear all the other moms talking about meal prep, scheduling all their kids events,cleaning, making lunches, organizing, planning etc. I listen and think OMG I should be doing all these things. I struggle just getting out of the house with four kids. I barely get to work on time if you live in a 15 minute grace period schedule like I do. I could not even think about cooking meals or meal planning for an entire week. I listen and nod but feel very alone because I really struggle to do these basic things and embarrassed that I lack these skills. My house is a mess and my kids eat basically junk because I pretty much only make Mac and cheese out of a box or spaghetti. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about planning anything!

  • #132840

    Penny Williams
    Keymaster

    You are definitely not alone! I have mom guilt that I’m not doing enough all the time (I don’t have ADHD). It’s totally natural, and then compounded by struggling with ADHD.

    What to Do When SuperMom Has ADHD

    Penny
    ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #134991

      looking back
      Participant

      Yes, I can totally relate! In trying to be the best mom to them I way over extended myself! My three daughters are all adults now but when the were little I was the primary caregiver while my husband worked, sometimes out of town for extended periods. I was involve in their elelementary school running an after school dance program, volunteering and as secretary of the parent/teacher group. They were in all kinds of activities outside of school. Looking back, I realize how hard and stressful that was and that it resulted in me being impatient, depressed and overwhelmed. I thought I could be the the “ Super Moms” I saw all around me! It wasn’t until we moved when they were 15,13, and 8 that I realized how over extended I was. Without all the obligations I had heaped on myself I saw that, for me, we all would have been better off if I devoted myself to being a more patient and happy mother. We all aren’t cut out to be “super mom” in the eyes of others! Now at age of 59 I work on letting go of the guilt and forgiving myself for my regrets.

  • #132950

    roadrunner
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply! Really enjoyed and could relate to the article. I told my husband last night about my struggle with keeping up with all the mom duties. He laughed and told me you have always been this way even before kids. “I did not marry you for your cooking and cleaning skills. I married you because you were different from all the rest. It would be so boring to have a normal wife and mother to our children.” Totally made my night!

    • #133164

      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Love that! What an awesome husband! He’s giving you grace, so give yourself some grace.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #133202

    KIM
    Participant

    I feel your pain! When I was in my 30s, I compared myself to all of the other mothers that had it perfectly together. They wore Santa hats when they volunteered a the parties, made perfectly beautiful treats to bring to school, were never late, never worked nights, and seemed to have it all together. It bothered me that I was not like them.

    Now I’m 56, and my kids are grown. Guess what – they have wonderful memories of their childhood that they still bring up. They don’t remember the imperfections, or that I wasn’t like everyone else. They knew that I loved them and spent as much time as I could with them. We had good times!

    Keep making great memories based on who you are. Just do your best. You are enough. <3

  • #134919

    kaboom
    Participant

    I know exactly, exactly how you feel. There are always memes or conversations about husbands who “can’t see things right in front of them in the refrigerator” or children who lose everything the minute they stop using it. But in my house, that’s me. I’m supposed to be the one who holds it all together, but my mind and my house are cluttered and scattered. I have always been like this but it has really taken a toll on me since becoming a SAHM two years ago. I’m in a messy house all day just trying to get my head above water. And then I carry the guilt and embarrassment of being home most of the day and still not having the executive function or attention/focus to really be productive. Sigh…

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  kaboom.
  • #134922

    HILARY FLOREAL
    Participant

    Good morning, you are not alone:) I have never felt like an adult! I have four kids and try really hard to hold it together, but sometimes even with medication, and being well educated and aware of my ADHD, I drop the ball:)
    I am 48 years old, I have two kids in their 20’s who grew up with unmedicated ADHD Mom and I have two younger kids 11yrs and 9yrs (all but my 11yr old have been also diagnosed with ADHD) and we have fun! I remember crying on a Sunday night when I served hot dogs and Kraft Dinner thinking I was a horrible parent, my mom always had a “Sunday Night” meal, turkey dinner, roast beef dinner, always fancy and we would sit and eat as a family and practice manners!!! Love it! My kids may get that now and again ( when my mom comes to visit!!!) but they thought I was the BEST mom in the world to make Kraft Dinner!!! If I really want Mom of the week I let them Ramen Noodle!!!
    I bet all the kids want to hang out at your house? You are the fun Mom that keeps it real! Find that ADHD child like sense of humor I am sure you have and laugh:)) Just think, while you are laughing at your “short coming”, you are getting plenty of oxygen that is going to engage your brain and get you back on task!!!
    Harper Valley PTA may not be your thing, but like Kim said, we create fun memories for our kids, even if some of them are at the expense of our short comings:))
    Also, build your tribe of “people”, focus on the things your are great on and enjoy doing, ask for help on the things you aren’t good at doing, we just created room in the budget for help cleaning the house, I work from home and thought I could do it, but turns out I can find a million things to do, and cleaning is just not one of them! Lots of tips and tricks out there to help us feel like “Adult” but don’t change, you are the cool Mom for sure!!

  • #134934

    MomPartnerPerson
    Participant

    I don’t have ADHD. I’m a SAHM and I relate to everything you’re saying. Don’t buy into the preconceived notion of how things should be. “Should be” is a four letter word in our home and has to be used very carefully bc I never want to pressure my guys (or have them pressure themselves) or make them feel that shame of “I’m different therefore I’m wrong”. You can always try and remedy things that YOU want to change. But only do it as a means to either make things easier for you or to make your family happy and do it realistically. Don’t aim for Martha Stewart. As mothers we beat ourselves up for far more than we’re actually responsible for. I found myself apologizing to my 3 yr old bc the sun was in her eyes. I have zero control over the sun and when I’m driving I REALLY can’t do a whole lot. Her dad (who has ADHD) looked at me and said “what do you have to be sorry for??” And then told her to close her eyes. Lol I love his brain and how he helps me out. My point is sometimes we beat ourselves up for things that we just don’t need to beat ourselves up for. She wasn’t dying. The world didn’t end bc I didn’t do something right away. It was a profound moment for me.

  • #134935

    Calibizaro
    Participant

    Don’t beat yourself up so much. ADHD isn’t easy to deal with, and being “perfect” is over rated. All kids really care about is that you spend time with them, that’s what they will really remember.

    When you have ADHD it takes a lot longer and more work to establish new habits and routines. Pick one thing that bothers you but you feel could be an achievable goal and would add value to your life or peace of mind.

    Even if it’s just “one really great meal a week”, or learning one new quick meal that is a bit healthier. Heck… maybe it’s just practicing putting your keys in the same spot every day. Even the small things can help us feel better. 🙂

  • #134938

    sarah101
    Participant

    I can totally relate, I have been there but with some work it does get better. I am in my 40s and still don’t feel like an adult but I learned that I don’t need to or don’t even want to be like everyone else. I love my individuality. For some tips, I try to cook at least 2 nights for 2 days. And one night I will make something like bagged chicken nuggets which takes a few minutes to make with bagged salad and I eat out one night. It doesn’t always work and some days I order out instead of cooking but it’s okay You have to do what works for you and don’t listen to negative stuff people say. You don’t have to change yourself to be like the other mothers. I bet you have a lot of things they don’t have like empathy, and I am sure your kids are happy not being stuck to strict schedules. Give yourself credit for what you do do, serving Mac and cheese doesn’t make you a bad mom, don’t be so hard on yourself. You have a really good husband that was really nice what he said about you.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  sarah101.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  sarah101.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  sarah101.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  sarah101.
  • #134942

    rubydwh
    Participant

    Thank you for posting this! I can totally relate. All this while I always feel as if I suck big time being a mom. My husband also thinks that my constant struggle with 2 kids is even worse than other moms with 5 kids. I felt like I never get things done and never spent enough time with them.

  • #134946

    sarah101
    Participant

    Don’t feel bad i struggle with one kid.

  • #134948

    Crislea
    Participant

    Hello everyone. Please advise, I need guidance! I feel like a phony when people think I have it all together. I don’t at all. I can so relate to all of you.

    I found out last year officially-that my son has ADD. I know its not the end of the world but the struggles that come along with is breaks my heart. I often cry. He is in the 4th grade. He definitely has all the creative gifts ADD has to offer but he is failing math and ELA for the past few years. He attends catholic school. I was able to get services and an IEP in place for him-although he takes a bus to the nearest public school to receive services. It is not helpful. I’m in the process of having him re-evaluated and getting him switched to a resource room rather than Speech/OT.

    His doctor/neurologist was hesitant (loss of appetite-side effect) but did prescribe Vyvanse for him. I have not brought myself to fill it yet. Does anyone have any feed back on this medicine? I’m so sad I may have to medicate my son but also feel I’m not helping him in every way possible if I don’t. I know all kids are different. Will someone please share an experience if you have had one before and after taking meds for ADD?

    The school which does not do much in ways of extra help I’m also so torn about taking him out of catholic school and placing him in public school. He has so many friends and has been there since pre-K. He will be sad.

    I also discovered in the course of this journey with my son that I have ADD. It explains a lot about my personality and my life. At 49 I kind of have an explanation as to why I acted a certain way in certain situations. Self discovery was a gift.

    • #135162

      sarah101
      Participant

      Crislea,
      There are many alternatives to medications. I have been researching this for a while and found that natural supplements can work even better than medicines without the nasty side effects. My daughter takes natural stuff. They have found that many kids with ADHD are deficient in magenism, this helps with focus, fish oil also works, vitamin B. They also have vitamins that have a few in one specially for ADHD. I can’t recall the name though.

  • #134965

    EddieJ
    Participant

    Be encouraged! You are not alone! I felt the same way when my daughter was growing up. My housekeeping was limited; we ate more McDonald’s Happy Meals then I care to remember, and I was late for everything. I felt like such a failure. I was a single mother and seriously considered whether I should ask my brother and his wife to raise my daughter because I felt so bad at it. Despite my shortcomings my daughter knew I loved her. I also did everything I could to make sure that she was exposed to other women who had the skills and qualities I lacked. Over time, I’ve gotten somewhat better with cooking and housekeeping, but I’m still not like the women who are excellent housekeepers and time managers. ADHD doesn’t go away, but you learn coping skills. Anyway, my daughter is a young adult and she without prompting often tells me how great a mom I am and how grateful she is for all I’ve taught her. Though I didn’t teach her much about cooking, I poured into her using the gifts and talents God gave me and she has blossomed into an awesome young lady! I’m sure you have strengths that benefit your children and they will be the greater for what you do instill in them.

  • #134966

    kamoye
    Participant

    Me too!!!! I feel terrible all the time especially about cooking good food for them.

  • #134989

    memacintyre
    Participant

    You’re not alone! Keep in mind too that even though other mothers are talking about this stuff, many (most?) of them aren’t doing it perfectly. And some may even not be doing it at all, but don’t want to feel like they’re “failing” at being a mom. Like lots of other people said, there are no “shoulds”. How many men feel guilty because the house is a mess or there’s no meal plan? Not many, but if they do a load of laundry or cook a meal, suddenly they’re a “hero”. I call BS on that – men are fully adult human beings who should feel as much responsibility for “family stuff” as women do. Don’t beat yourself up for things that aren’t even on the radar of almost half the population.

  • #134992

    saylorl
    Participant

    Roadrunner you need an ADD coach. I felt the same way five years ago and it has gotten so so much better since I got coaching. It did not cost a lot of money (5-6?sessions at $65/ea) and I now have a meal plan, almost always have clean clothes to wear and feel like I am getting more organized every year. I was even on time to more than half of my appointments last week ! If this is too much money for you, try googling Hannah help me. She has a program for moms that really really helped me as well and it was only $60 for a 30 day program. I think she has a lot of free resources too.

    Crislea your son will do better with medication. 80% of people with ADD benefit from medication. My son who is six started taking it and his papers from school went from being 90% blank to 90% filled out in 48 hours. The medications are not dangerous unless you have a pre-existing heart condition. Stimulants are actually the most researched psycho tropic drug all. There have been medical studies on them for 70 years. They actually have neuroprotective effects on the brain. There are over 40 studies showing this. Google “neuroprotective affects of ADHD stimulants”. Popular media loves to publish horror stories of people dropping dead, overmedicating boys, etc. It is a myth that we are overmedicating children with ADHD. 5-8 Scent of the population has ADHD and only 3% is medicated.

  • #134998

    mhamblin76
    Participant

    This is exactly how I feel. I try so hard to keep up what all the other moms seem to be able to do and just continue to fail over and over. I am just grateful that, at 43, I finally know why I have been struggling all.my life.

  • #135000

    kimberly.rae.90
    Participant

    Even though I am probably too disorganized to meal prep or keep a spotless home or keep it all together ALL the time, none of that really sounds all that appealing anyhow!

    I would much rather take that time and play with my 3 yr old daughter, or teach her something fun or watch her little toddler Youtube videos with her (even if it meant skipping doing dishes and feeding her mac n chz) than give up all that time with her to mealprep for the next month or research organic kale chip recipes lol. Not knocking anyone for being healthy or super prepared and organized! If you are capable, then all the more power to you! Not all of us are, however.

    Though I can relate, I probably have NOTHING in common with most of the other moms at my daughter’s daycare, but I do know this– that my daughter is fed, bathed and cared for and she is happy. She is smart and beautiful and funny and confident and I know I couldn’t have done THAT bad! So as long as my daughter is healthy and happy and thriving then how we got there is not really as important as the getting there.

    Don’t compare yourself because you are you and they are them and you are different from anyone else on this earth.. you’ll only drive yourself crazy with trying to measure yourself up to other ppl! If you have FOUR kids and they are all fed and happy and loved then you are already doing amazing! I would probably have a mental break down with 4 so I commend and admire you regardless!

    Plus, just the mere fact that you worry about whether or not you’re a good mom is what already makes you a good mom!!

  • #135005

    sstriegel
    Participant

    I am a stay at home mom of 5 children. As a mother of 5 kids who also has adhd, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect mother/parent. I have 3 kids with adhd, and one of them also has type 1 insulin dependent diabetes and Addison’s Disease(adrenal failure). My oldest daughter also has type 1 diabetes. Just keeping up with their insulin requirements, blood sugar checks, and Max’s hydrocortisone schedule is enough. Let alone keep up with teenage schedules, the house, and what’s for dinner. There are days when I feel like running away because the stress of motherhood is too much for my adhd brain to handle. But I put one foot in front of the other and get passed it the best that I can, because my kids deserve for me to be at my best. And that’s all you can do. My house isn’t perfect, and I don’t participate in the PTA meetings. Mostly because I think that the moms who are really involved are not that nice and overly judgmental. Motherhood is hard, but it’s even harder with adhd, while raising kids with adhd. It’s easy for us to feel that others are judging us. As long as your kids are fed, washed, and happy who cares what other people think. If this helps, one way I keep up with my house is setting aside 15-20 minutes every day to clean something. I keep a daily schedule on my iPhone calendar of what gets cleaned that day; floors, bathrooms, dusting, etc. And then once a week on trash night I go through my house with a trash bag and toss broken toys, papers, and clutter. And then once a season I do a goodwill donation day that is on my calendar. Since starting this 2 years ago my life is calmer and my house is presentable, NOT PERFECT, but presentable and calmer. Know that you are not alone, and you’ve got this! Your kids love you and you are a perfect mother to them. God Bless

  • #135008

    triciajoyarthur
    Participant

    Hello. What an honest question. I’m so impressed by all the responses, too. Mother + ADHD = One of the hardest combinations. I didn’t know I had ADHD until I became a mother… the demands suddenly became more than my neurological make up could handle without busting into mental health signs of distress. I feel ya, roadrunner, and I hope you will take a peak at a Facebook page I began for community around this very challenge… Search: Adhd and Anxiety Mom Society

  • #135016

    venus69
    Participant

    I am a 68 year old self-diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 68. I had 7 kids and couldn’t keep up, struggled just to get them up and get them to school,never could figure out what to cook for dinner, house always a mess, a garage full of dirty laundry that I would just walk in and stare at and walk out. Husband would yell at me and call me lazy and stupid in front of my kids. I believed him back then and my self esteem took a nose dive which just made the situation worse. There were some very rough times for the kids and I am sure they were traumatized by it. All have grown and left home and have their own kids now. I call them SURVIVORS because that’s what they are! I know now that I needed to be diagnosed and put on meds, just had no clue in those days.

  • #135102

    joolee
    Participant

    I have never related to a topic so thoroughly. I just had to respond to this thread. My kids are grown now but when they were little, I thought I was the biggest faker mom that ever lived. I was in my early 30s when I had two kids, only 19 months apart. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I was diagnosed with ADHD, so I had an explanation for my failures but still no cure. Luckily I was able to stay home with them for their early years, but that doesn’t mean I had it all together. I would show up to ‘mom and kid’ events without any snacks for the kids. While other moms were pulling out their perfectly portioned tupperware containers full of goldfish and celery sticks, I was sitting there empty handed watching my kids gobble up other moms’s food. There were times I didn’t even bring coats for my kids and had to endure the strange looks and questions from other moms. My house is always a mess (to this day). I do eventually clean it but it goes right back to being a mess pretty quickly. I have never been able to hold things together. Yes, I have been medicated off and on for 25 years now, but I still struggle with massive disorganization. Medication is not a cure, it just makes things a little more focused for awhile. Once or twice a year I have people over and that’s the only time my house gets thoroughly cleaned. I feel that this disorder is a major disability. I was never able to work full time because I give my all to things and can’t do anything else, so working part time allowed me to focus somewhat on raising kids. There were times my kids brought up my ADHD and why couldn’t I be a better parent like their friends had? That really hurt.

    I think there are these iron clad cultural expectations that mothers are the perfect managers and home keepers, and I also believe there is more leeway for men to mess up in this regard, and get away with it. If you’re a woman your house is supposed to be perfect. I always felt SO very inadequate in that regard. I still do. Thank goodness my 2nd husband is very understanding and does not berate me at all. He sees me go through my major breakdowns when I lose yet another important item, for the upteempth time. I lose things every day. Not just keys and my phone but other things I need. It never ends. I try so hard to be organized.

    I am not and will never be.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by  joolee.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by  joolee.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  Penny Williams.
  • #135120

    edwinj-adhd
    Participant

    Not as a mother, but as a father. I don’t pretend to be as wise as those that posted above, but I also feel some of what you’ve said. After 20 years working in corporations and small companies, I pulled the plug and became a SAHD and homemaker. I love it. Most days. Well, some days, but it should be most days. Like you, I cannot figure out how these beautiful moms at the bus stop do it. Some are working jobs, dressed to the 9’s, and have time to make pinterest-worthy halloween decorations. WTF? I do a pretty decent job, but not great. Surely nothing for facebook or instagram (what is this even? I’m too old). But after talking to one of the moms, I discovered that the outward face didn’t match what was going on behind the scenes. Life was hectic, they were having anxiety attacks, their self-esteem was no better than mine. Huh. That caused me to look inward. To see how good the good parts of our life are. To take pride in the small wins each day. A day when my ADHD son didn’t scream his head off and slam the door to his bedroom. A day where I didn’t yell at my either of my boys. A day when I didn’t wish I was the external image of someone else.

    So I say f*ck the others. Take a deep breath. Look inward. See the beauty you are creating. Those social norms don’t mean anything.

    Be well.

  • #135154

    joolee
    Participant

    Wow. I never knew there were so many like me! I always felt like the biggest faker mom ever. While other moms brought perfectly organized little divided tupperware containers full of snacks for their toddlers, I was lucky to remember to brink coats for mine. I always felt like an outsider, like I wasn’t as good as all these perfect moms. It got worse when my kids were in school because for many reasons in addition to my ADHD, I wasn’t available to volunteer for every last thing like the other mothers did and I know they judged me. A few times my kids got down on me for being ADHD! They wanted me to be more like their friends’ mom.

    My house was and is always a pit. I manage to clean it up the few times in a year that I have people over. But within a week, it’s a disaster again. I have just conceded that I’m never going to have a perfect house, and when I accepted that about myself I started to be a lot happier. Same goes for organization. My kids are grown now and it’s time to get rid of a whole bunch of junk so I can eventually downsize. Nothing is organized so it will take years probably to go through all the accumulated crap in my house. I have started this project several times, only to lose interest after a few days.

    Medication has helped me over the years, but it doesn’t take the disorder away. I feel it has been very disabling for me.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by  joolee.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  Penny Williams.

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