My Forum Comments
I can relate to so much of what has been written. My husband was diagnosed seven years ago in his early 40s, six years into our marriage. He has always felt different and inadequate, barely made it through school and struggled with addiction (thankfully clean and sober almost 20 years). I took on most all responsibilities early in our marriage, which led to resentment. We both work full time jobs, and today have two small children (and a small farm and two puppies) as well. I was a seething put of anger and dislike. As a poster said above, I did most everything, and felt like I had to nag or constantly remind, and eventually do everything myself (oh, martyr!) or it wouldn’t get done.
Our son, now six, has been a handful since he was 17 months old. He’s now six, and has finished kindergarten (which probably took two years off of my life). In April, after I had to jump through so many hoops, he was finally diagnosed with ADHD combined type and anxiety. I have learned SO much about ADHD since his diagnosis, mostly due to groups like this (and others) and podcasts. As I learn about tools and techniques to help our son, I see where I need to help my husband as well. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes this all pisses me off! It’s so much work and stress to be the partner (and parent) of people with ADHD! BUT…I can recognize and appreciate my husband’s gifts (so smart, so funny and loveable, sensitive, such a good dad…and see that his challenges are something he needs help – and grace – with. Time and organization are huge issues for him. Seeing things that need done are huge issues. I see a parent coach (to help with my son) and she pointed out that ADHD causes people to see all tasks horizontally, like a flat timeline, so that everything has the same importance. It’s my job to find ways to help both my hubby and my son turn their lists vertically, and assess what order to put things. For my son, it’ll mean helping come up with a checklist of 3-5 things that need done in the morning to get ready for the day (hopefully including peeing, brushing g his teeth and getting dressed), that we can put on his own little clipboard to check off each morning. For my hubby, it’ll be similar anytime he’s faced with a large project (defending our pastures, for example, OMG I thought I would kill him! – this was before our son’s diagnosis – but he couldn’t prioritize and estimate time on removing old fences, drilling new post holes, setting new posts, and stringing five new strands of barbed wire). Hubby is usually in charge of making dinner (a leftover from my high risk pregnancies), and that usually works out ok…with reminders of me about time when he gets distracted by phone calls and stuff. For the dishwasher, I bought a sliding “clean/dirty” magnetic sign as a visual cue. For spending – and he is impulsive – we have an agreement that we will not spend more than $200 (except for Costco trips and things) without a discussion. I just pointed out Friday, on our way to camping in the trailer we bought two years ago, that no, we don’t need to trade it in for a “better” model, and that he has a tendency to think something else must be better than what we have. I have to take responsibility for the fact that I tend to get worn down by his ideas of bigger and better and eventually cave. No more. I am grateful that he’s been a fantastic employee for many years and is very secure in his job.
Anyway, I would encourage those of you who are struggling to read more about the affects of ADHD, recognizing that it is a brain difference, not something they do on purpose “to us”. Give yourselves grace for your feelings – it is freaking hard on us who don’t have ADHD, too, in different ways than it’s hard on those who have or. Penny Williams recently had an excellent podcast about self-care for parents of ADHD kids, and I would suspect it would be relatable to those with ADHD spouses, too. (Her Podcast is Parenting ADHD Podcast…I think it was episode 62 or 63.)
I’m sorry, mama. My son was 3.5 when our daughter was born, and was finally diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety last month at almost age six. I can so relate to your exhaustion and struggle. One thing that helped me was remembering that we are our kids’ safe space, so, as unfair as it is, we see them at their most challenging. He may also sense that his world is about to change with the arrival of a new sibling. A resource I would recommend that has helped me gain insight and also some tools to try is Janet Lansbury’s Unruffled podcast. I listen in the car or whenever I can. She also has two books and a Facebook page. I have definitely learned that spanking and yelling get us nowhere with our son (and totally amp up the mom guilt). Plenty of outside time is best for us, where our son can scream and yell and explore to his heart’s content. I will say that our daughter, now 2.5, is a pretty tough cookie, having lived with a high energy ADHD brother who hasn’t been very gentle with her. He has never hurt her badly (and she has hurt him a time or two herself), but it’s been one of my biggest anxiety points since she’s been born. Lots of love to you!
I have this same struggle with my almost six-year old, newly ADHD+anxiety diagnosed son. Some days he does great, and then he’ll go through a streak where he has pee accidents once or twice a day. He throws a fit if we remind him to potty, or if we can see that he has to go but isn’t going (he tends to get wild and act out if he has to pee badly). It’s exhausting. I’ve even had to buy him more pants because most of his nicer ones are elsewhere (school or after care) in the laundry! Looking forward to seeing what others suggest.