ADHD Moms & Dads

Five Ways for Moms to Grab Some Me-Time

Your child has a constant thirst for knowledge — and so do you. It can be hard to balance your child’s interests with your own, but it is possible. You can develop new hobbies, and be a better mom in the process — here’s how.

A mom holding a clock to demonstrate her need for me-time
Woman's hands holding clock on pink background

My mother said that raising a daughter with ADHD was like feeding wolves: She constantly had to throw me more information to chew on.

Any growing child is hungry for knowledge, and the ADHD mind has a big appetite. Once we’ve devoured one topic, we’re starving for the next. This does not stop at adulthood. On my bookshelves, you’ll see everything from Charles Dickens to Noam Chomsky to a history of the Salem witch trials.

If you’re always having to feed your kids information, when do you get to explore new interests and have time for yourself? Here’s how to do it — five tips for squeezing more me-time into your day:

[Free Resource: When You Have ADHD, Too]

1. Tweet. Stop thinking of Twitter as social media, and start thinking of it as a never-ending stream of information about every topic on the planet. Got a minute before the car line moves forward on your way to pick up your kids from school? Hop on Twitter and see what’s trending. In 30 seconds or less, Twitter can tell you what’s going on in international politics, sports, space exploration — even what’s good to watch on TV tonight. Just be careful whom you follow; Twitter’s a buffet. You can waste your day on a bunch of junk.

2. Pursue similar interests. Talking your kids into learning something just because you like it probably isn’t the best way to parent. But children and parents occasionally share common interests. Find a subject you both like, and compete with your kids to see who can learn the most about the topic online. Watch a documentary together. (An search will help you choose.) Learning as a team keeps your and your child’s minds occupied and stimulated. And you’ll score bonus points in family bonding.

3. Invite friends along. Adults who have children keep different schedules than those who do not. It’s logistically tempting to restrict your social circle to other parents, but if you want to diversify what you learn, that could be a mistake. Every mom has friends who don’t have children, so make a date. They would love to join you for an afternoon with your kids.

4. Schedule your medicine-taking at a different time from your child’s. Some prescriptions have “slow down” and “ramp up” periods of a half-hour. Give yourself enough time so that your meds don’t wind down within the same time period as your child’s. If you both hit the valley at the same time, it makes for a rocky afternoon. And even the smallest argument can occupy the ADHD mind for hours. Stagger meds to avoid the problem, allowing you to focus on other opportunities the day has to bring.

[Overwhelmed Mom Syndrome — It’s a Real Thing]

5. Stay up a little later. Many moms wake up early to get their precious me-time. But, as anyone with ADHD knows, mornings are tough, especially if you are a night owl! Not only is it physically more difficult for many with ADHD to wake up, most of us are natural night owls. Yes, you need your sleep. But take 15-30 minutes every night for you-time. Flip through your favorite magazine, do word puzzles, or Google a topic you’ve always wanted to explore. Just don’t dive too far. Too much mental exercise will keep you up all night.

However you do it, as my mom would say, the wolves must be fed. And while good mothers — like mine — stand at the ready to toss their rambunctious kids more, you also have to think of yourself more often than you do.