Parenting

“My Mom Has ADHD:” Stories of Growing Up with an ADD Mother

If your mom has ADHD, then maybe your childhood was teeming with creativity, clutter, energy, forgetfulness, hyperfocus, and missed appointments. Here, ADDitude readers share their stories of growing up with ADD mothers.

Family is sitting on a sofa playing with dogs and talking. Mother, father, sister, brother, parents, kids, children, daughter, son.
Family is sitting on a sofa playing with dogs and talking. Mother, father, sister, brother, parents, kids, children, daughter, son.

Mothers with ADHD are dynamic, socially anxious, creative, disorganized, passionate, emotionally sensitive, and sometimes all of the above at the same time. No two moms with ADD are alike, but many of their children recall similar snapshots of growing up under the umbrella of neurodivergence. Here, ADDitude readers recalled their childhoods raised by moms with ADHD, and how they’re managing the relationship today. Share your story in the Comments section below.

“Life was exciting and still is. I consciously choose to embrace her love of life, novelty, and love of learning. The positive chaos we lived in made me and my siblings resilient and open to change.” — An ADDitude Reader

“My mom has undiagnosed ADHD, and I was only diagnosed recently as an adult. I was homeschooled by my mother, and I never realized how much I needed and appreciated the unique accommodations she made until I went to traditional school. As an adult, I appreciate the things that make my mom creative and unique. This allows me to empathize and offer encouragement and understanding. It allows me to be patient with her as I’m learning to be patient with myself.” — H.W., Colorado

My mom was always running late and very chronically stressed out. Unfortunately, at the time my mom needed help the most, mental health and ADHD carried such a stigma that I’m sure she felt that she couldn’t get help. I pushed myself to seek help for the depression and anxiety I was experiencing, which ultimately uncovered my ADHD. I wish my mom had had the same help I did when she needed it most.” — An ADDitude Reader

“I had very little routine as a child. When mum was home, I had to look after her. She needed constant reminders for things and experienced a lot of anxiety and rejection sensitive dysphoria. I remember watching their mood swings and deciding that I just wouldn’t ever be angry.” — An ADDitude Reader

[Free Download: When Mom Has ADHD, Too]

“My mother and I would constantly butt heads and fight over things. I now realize we were trying to communicate as if we were neurotypical. When this epiphany hit, I started communicating with her as if she had ADHD like me. We have been closer now that we do this!” — An ADDitude Reader

“Routines were chaos as a child — both parents have ADHD and were very much in denial about the impact of this on their parenting. Since finding out I have ADHD, I have a new view on my relationship with my mother and this allows me to have more understanding and forgiveness for her. She was just trying her best with no understanding of the barriers that ADHD caused her.” — Vic, England

“Mum seldom sat still; she always had to move around and be doing something. This didn’t impact me, as I assumed this was how all mums acted, but it drove my dad crazy. Honestly, I don’t think she ever wanted kids, but times were different then. After seeing her photo album from before she became a parent, I am convinced she got pregnant by mistake and was forced to marry. She was young, very good looking, had many friends, traveled, and seemed to be living the ‘vida loca.’ Then she had to swap this for the life of a traditional mum.” — An ADDitude Reader

“My mother is undiagnosed, but I was deeply affected by her disorganization, dysfunction, and impulsivity in my childhood — and today. She wants very badly to be a helpful part of my life, but she cannot stay focused when I’m talking to her. Knowing more about my own ADHD has helped me become more empathetic, but it’s very hard to feel close.” — An ADDitude Reader

“My mom had undiagnosed ADHD while I was growing up, a fact she is coming to terms with only now that I’m navigating my own diagnosis. I know she felt ashamed that she couldn’t figure out how to pay bills or send Christmas presents on time. Now that I’m accepting my differences, my mom is getting to learn about herself, as well. We now have a new language around how our brains work, and we are learning together how to embrace, rather than resist, our unique mental landscapes.” — Caitlin, USA

“My Mom Has ADHD:” Next Steps

 


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