Planning for Children with My ADHD Husband

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    • #39851
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user Auroranorthof55 in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      Hey there,

      This is my first post and this feels like a doozie. My husband and I have been together for almost 14 years. We are in a good position in life and children seem like the next logical step as it’s something we both had wanted.

      I’m terrified to have children with an ADHD partner because simply, I don’t want to essentially be a single mother caring for an infant and a very hairy infant ( a little humor is good for me). I do not believe that my husband is capable of being a parent. Household chores are almost solely my responsibility and any mention of him needing to help more turns into a fight. He talks about how overwhelmed and tired he is with work and uses this as an excuse to not do chores, cook supper, go out etc… I mean, what the heck is he going to be like when there is a little baby?!?

      We have cats and dogs and he can barely remember to give them water and feed them regularly. His excuse: they don’t ask. I feel like I’m running this household alone and I’m tired. The thought of adding in a baby makes me so anxious.

      I’m not sure what I’m asking here. I guess I want to know everyone’s experiences with planning to have children with an ADHD spouse. Is this even a smart thing for me to do or am I protecting my sanity for choosing not to?

    • #41145
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user Labradorim in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I guess I’d say don’t ignore your anxiety. It is telling you something important. He will be as he has been, just as you are and will be. Then add in sleep deprivation, a million new things to do, and a million other things you can’t predict if you have a child.

    • #41147
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user Survivor22 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      You might also want to consider what life would be like should your child also have ADHD.

    • #41150
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by ADHDmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Sounds like a heart-to-heart about what each of your roles and responsibilities needs to be in order for you to be willing to have kids is in order.

      An ADHD Coach could help a great deal — helping him craft tailored routines, strategies, etc to be more productive and take on the responsibilities he needs to with success.

      And a little on what to do when it feels like your spouse is more like your child:
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #41152
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by nexus7722 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      For what it’s worth, my ADHD husband is a GREAT father, but horrible with chores and with details, which can sometimes be scary. Our 18-month old hit his head on the tv cabinet because my husband zoned out and didn’t see him fall.

      That being said, if he has a routine schedule, he is good with childcare and really wonderful father. I will say… and this may just be with my husband… introducing a baby was really really hard for him in that his symptoms just exploded. I think it was the huge increase in chores and the lack of scheduling.

      Honestly, if you both want a child, wonderful and you’ll make it work. If either of you is on the fence, though, don’t do it. Even without the ADHD, parenthood is the most exhausting (but wonderful) second job you’ll ever have.

      As the parents of a young toddler, we are always exhausted and I’m always stressed trying to (let’s be honest) also parent my husband. Both are worth it. But, boy, I’m tired. <3

    • #41155
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by TE3824 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Ugh – I hate to add fuel to the fire here but you MUST understand that you are exactly right in your thought that you will be a single parent of two children (baby and husband). If he’s like mine – your husband will help when told but NOTHING will occur to him without direction. The early years where instinct is everything (because the kids can’t tell you anything) are very hard. As the kids get older (school age) it gets easier because you and the kids become a team and you need his help less and less. And they can ask him directly when they need something (and can’t find me – they always try to find me first). Having said all this – he loves the kids and they love him. When he finds something that he’s interested in with the kids he is wonderful. Honestly they don’t really know that he has ADHD – they just think that if something needs to be done you go to Mom and that sometimes you can bug Dad enough that he’ll do something fun. As they’ve never known anything else they just think this is normal.

      I work full time and I think this is part of the problem (we need my salary). It’s simply too much to manage the house, the kids, my husband and myself while working full time. I lost my job for a few months and it was the happiest we’d been in a long time. With the kids in school and me not working I had enough time to pick up all the things that he routinely drops and because I wasn’t working I could do it without resentment. But this was only because the kids were in school all day. If I had been at home with kids it would be the same as working full time.

      Managing a house and taking care of kids and managing his ADHD is too much for most people. If you really want to have kids with him please consider ways now that you can have lots of help. You won’t get it from him – you’ll get lots of promises (because he likely truly does want to be a good father) but he won’t be able to follow through on them. Can you afford a babysitter for a few hours every day? Do you have family that can drop the kids off to on a regular schedule? Trust me – these are critical to surviving kids with someone with ADHD.

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