Confessions of an ADHD Mom: 10 Truths I Hide from Even My Friends
Dear friends, you are not the mom-shaming types. You don’t judge me for my impressive lack of punctuality or my uncanny ability to forget birthdays. Still, there are aspects of my ADHD parenting that I may never share with you one-on-one. Here they are.
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19 Comments: Confessions of an ADHD Mom: 10 Truths I Hide from Even My Friends
So happy to have found this article, and I hide in my bathroom from my 2 ADHD kids post dinner to get a breath. I’m a solo parent, with a 3 and 8 year old who have ADHD,although they present differently slightly. But everything you wrote is beyond valid for me. My 3 year old is a nonstop hell RAISER and my 8 year old has to be yelled at 10 times from a foot away just to get her attention. I could never have predicted how emotionally (and physically) taxing raising ADHD children would be, even though I have mild/moderate ADD myself. Oy, it was extremely comforting knowing there are others!
Thank you very much. This is our household to a T…
Only difference : one adhd girlchild (13) with additional odd.
This is literally me except the hour and 7 minutes. I probably get just the 7 minutes being I’m a single mom with a full time job and an hour commute. Two out of my three kids have ADD & ADHD. I also have ADD so it’s a hot mess! I thought I was the only one. My son stopped peeing in the front yard just before the summer lol. He always did it before I could say anything. I just wanted to say thank you for this article…it came right at the right time. I was in despair over the calamity in my home last night as I was getting to bed late after getting chatty kids to bed.
It’s so important for ADHD kids and adults to play to their strengths and interests. As an adult, I can say that interrupting my hyper-focus mode is downright painful. I have at least 2 nephews with ADHD Innatentive type, both struggle with being prepared and on time, but in hyper focus mode they operate at genius levels. We need to stop trying to fit kids into a standard size box and let them show us the breadth of their true capacities. Make it fun, interesting, and they can create amazing things.
As professed by many people with neurotypical children, parenting can be challenging. Add in ADHD into the mix, and our parenting struggles are not just different – they are multiplied, many times over.
Like your other blog posts, “Confessions of an ADHD mom” resonates with me on many levels, being both emotionally raw and hilarious. I applaud you for your courage in so candidly sharing your ADHD parenting dramas with the world. These intensely personal stories have further inspired me to write about, and, finally share my own experiences with raising my three ADHD children.
In the past, despite countless promises not to, I would constantly repeat myself and yell – a lot. My neighbours probably hated us for being so loud too. However, with daily meditation I now better manage my emotions, avoiding unnecessary conflicts, and feel less stressed at the end of each day.
I also no longer feel so lost, or, alone in my parenting struggles. I am eternally grateful for the internet. Not only for access to relevant information, but, also enabling me to connect with parents like yourself and growing global ADHD communities. I look forward to reading more entertaining ADHD parenting, Elizabeth.
Why is this tagged as if the mother has ADHD? She doesn’t. She’s a neurotypical mother parenting ADHD kids. This is horrible and shouldn’t be on a site for ADHDers!
Look, parents, I don’t care. You do NOT have it worse than the people who actually HAVE ADHD. We’re the ones who get told ALL THE TIME that we don’t measure up. And this essay blames all of this mother’s difficulties on her kids.
No thank you.
I re-read the article, and okay, so the author was silent as to whether or not she is neurotypical or not. However, who are you to judge and play the same superiority game?? Come on… Based on what I read, if she doesn’t know it yet, she will find out someday that she is in fact not neurotypical, and that is what is at the heart of her yelling and feelings of not measuring up herself. Parenting is not easy, no matter what. We are all diverse in our own ways, and no one is helping the world or themselves by trying to be a “neurodiverse martyr”. I thought the article was written from the heart of a mother doing her best, and needing some support to keep on keeping on, in the face if critics who think that she can, somehow, do differently, but offer no solutions – that includes you! Good luck with your martyr path – I guarantee there are folks who have it are struggling more than you and aren’t criticizing others to try to feel better.
Oh, and in case you didn’t catch it, yes, I myself am neurodiverse and raising a neurodiverse family…
As a neurotypical mom with a child and a spouse that has ADHD, this isn’t easy on anyone. This website has helped me tremendously in understanding their experiences which have made me a better parent and spouse. Articles like this one make me feel like I am not alone. None of my friends have kids with ADHD so it is hard for them to understand my experiences so it really helps me to hear stories similar to mine. Parenting a child with ADHD is not the same as parenting a neurotypical child, to be frank it is a lot harder. I want my child to grow up feeling like ADHD is not a detriment but it is an advantage though so I will do whatever I have to do to try to make that happen. As a mom, it is hard to see your child struggling and being treated unfairly by others who don’t understand ADHD. We have had multiple family members dismiss ADHD because they think it is not a real thing. It is a different set of challenges for me then the challenges for my child and spouse but the way we see it, we are all in it together and it is not a contest to see who has it worse.
I also think it is important for those who had ADHD to understand how it impacts those around them and their relationships. When my spouse was diagnosed, he had no idea how much his ADHD was impacting our relationship. When he understood that, we were finally able to work together on improving our relationship and make positive changes. I also relied heavily on this website to understand how my behavior was contributing to the problems we were having. If we didn’t take the time to understand and empathize with each others experiences, we would have been doomed. I am grateful for his ADHD because it ultimately made us have a closer in a way we probably would not be if we were both neurotypical because we HAD to put in the work.
I have not been in your shoes, but I know it is hard and I know society treats people with ADHD unfairly. I see how much more frequently my child is in trouble because she can’t fit into the right behavior box at school. I see how it doesn’t much matter to them that her brain is different and that is why she acts the way she does, they still see her as just being defiant. I see that she doesn’t have many friends and sometimes this makes her very sad. I see how my husband being told constantly when he was growing up that he just wasn’t trying and always being in trouble effects his self esteem 40 years later. I may not have experienced it myself, but I see the struggle in everyone who has ADHD. I am so sorry that you have constantly been told you don’t measure up because that can be so damaging. No child or adult should ever be made to feel that way just because their brains are not neurotypical. Parents of kids with ADHD will support you, advocate you or empathize with you more than anyone else will. I don’t think this article is meant to make kids with ADHD feel bad about themselves, it’s for parents of kids with ADHD to understand that they aren’t alone. If any parent is on this website, I can bet that its because they love and and care about their child tremendously and want to make sure they are doing everything possible so their kids don’t grow up feeling like they don’t measure up. The more we understand each other, the better off we are. I hope you can get the support and understanding that you deserve.
I’m an adult, and have ADHD. My wife and I have 3 amazing children, 2 of which have been diagnosed ADHD, and our youngest probably will be too (he’s too young for a diagnosis at this point).
As both a parent of ADHD kids and someone with ADHD, and the lucky husband of an amazing wife and mother, I can tell you that yes, parents with ADHD kids (and especially those with an ADHD partner) do have it rough. I think it’s very important to understand the challenges of raising kids with ADHD, whether the parents are neurotypical or not. Communities like this are arguably just as helpful for people who need to understand it better as it is for people with ADHD.
You suggest that we get told all the time that we don’t measure up etc – ADHD parents face the challenge all the time of wondering whether they’re measuring up as parents when their kids are running amok, when they’re constantly cleaning up after them, when they’re coordinating and organising activities, visits to the doctor/psych/therapist, educational assistance, when people question whether ADHD is a “real diagnosis”, or whether they’re just stuffing their kids with medication, etc… to suggest that neurotypical parents with ADHD kids “don’t have it nearly as tough” is myopic at best, and downright ignorant at worst. I’ve learned to adapt and cope with my ADHD, with help from medication, and if I had to testify as to who has it tougher in our household when it comes to raising kids with ADHD, it is my wife hands-down.
I firmly believe that parents of ADHD kids have a better grasp of what’s going on in ADHD minds than coworkers, friends, and even other family members, and this site is exactly, precisely the place for a post like this.
Thank you rtchau! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Take away one kid and our situations sound similar. My wife is the only neyrotypical person in our home. What does that mean? It means I’d we reduce the universe to our home, she is the neuroatypical odd woman out. I grew up with it, I understand the good and the bad, and I know my kids will turn out alright in the end. She, on the other hand, has had to adapt, and worries about the future of her children as they struggle in some areas. She does not blame us, and I do not think she would change us. At our house, ADHD is our superpower, not our Kryptonite.
I would also ask everyone to go easy on Karalianne. We do not know what she has been through or how she has been hurt. (I am assuming “she” 50/50 shot, right). We all have been in that dark place and know how lonely ADHD can be. I still constantly feel like I am on the outside looking in most of the time. I choose to focus on the fact that it gives me a greater sense of objectivity when analyzing situations. While I disagree with her perspective, I can understand the place it comes from.
I think the article was great! I found it relatable, and I AM a parent of ADHD children with ADHD myself. I used to think of it as a curse, but have found the gift within it. We are all at different points on that path to self discovery. Let’s all help each other get to where we are going. Karalianne, you measure up. You are good enough. Do not allow others to make you focus on the weak areas of your neuroatypicality; find your strengths (everyone has them) and build on those. Peace.
I’m the nuerotypical Parent of an ADHD teen and an ADHD spouse. ADHD is neither a gift or “Superpower”. I have yet to find the positive within it. Non-ADHD parents shoulder the vast majority of the burdens of parenting, bread-winning, tutoring and running a household. Frankly, I’m impressed this writer has generally developed some good functioning for her family.
Wow… I hope you find some wonderful gifts in your child and your spouse. As much of a burden as ADHD loved ones must be for you, perhaps you can take time periodically to focus on yourself so you can regroup and enjoy the positive aspects, like energy, curiosity, compassion or other common appreciated traits of many ADHD people.
What exactly do you think you’re going to get out of the “I have it worst” debate? An award? Validation? An easier life? The answer is nothing. You will get nothing in return for winning a title of “mom who has it worse.” So quit trying and saddle up and instead of chasing a stupid title, develop relationships with people who may understand what you’re going thru. You mind find a different outcome.
I thought the post was great. Gave me lots of insight. Anyways, it’s not just us who deal with ADHD, it’s also the people around us. And I never subscribe to the “ You have to at least have it this bad and it has to look this close to what we have to complain or vent your frustrations.” Let’s just let everyone vent. Not good to keep it in.
And it’s hard to say it’s always worse for us. For one, no one has ever told me I don’t measure up. In some ways it has actually made things easier for me. Easily getting bored pushes me onto new problems, ideas, and solutions. My brain doesn’t function on the same wavelength, and thus I’m less inclined to fallow peer pressure. Forgettfulnes has actual lead to me using a certain reminder system that keeps me incridaibly punctual ( though I need to get better with tasks).
I don’t see how this is blaming the kids, it’s Like if a mother says “The baby kept me up all night,” would you say the mothers blaming the baby? I call it assigning the cause. And let’s face it, some kids are just easier (or maybe just diffrent) to raise.
Lastly, I’m pretty sure this has always been an inclusive site, not just for the people who have ADHD, but also the people who want to understand it, and those who’s loved ones have it. Let’s support everyone.
Yes!!! Just what vmaugey said in the comment above: Thank you for making me feel normal!
OMG!! Thank you for this amazing article. I had to laugh out loud because I was reading about my life. I go through every single point you have mentioned here, DAILY! except for putting my boys outside as we live in a flat in London, England so a) we dont have a backyard and b) the weather is crap most of the time. I have to admit that my sanctity is giving them technology as they are both incredible at it and it really keeps them happy.
Thank you so much for making me feel normal in my atyplical world.
Thank you for having the courage to write “Confessions of an ADHD mom”. That was the article I wished I had the courage to write. Almost every single point rang true. The one that didn’t was about letting my child run around outside. I wish I COULD do that, but because my 14 year old son has a connective tissue disease, he is often too fatigued to run around outside, even if we had a backyard(we don’t). Because he has so many other medical problems, some things that might work for ADHD can’t be done. There truly is no road map to follow. I never know if his behavior outburst is due to :1-ADHD 2-Fatigue from EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome ) 3-Fatigue from post-mono syndrome 4-Adolencent drama (my son calls it “ being an angst-y teen) 5- My over reacting because I’m a single mom who is also a guidance counselor and a psychotherapist( I tend to overreact a lot!). I wish I had a lot of mom friends to talk to, but, sadly, I don’t. I’m so exhausted when I get home from taking care of other people’s children that I have little to give to my own (highly gifted) child. I have one mom friend who sort of gets it, but I’m afraid to say too much for fear of overwhelming her. Life can get pretty rough sometimes, but it is the loneliness that is the worst. Thanks for showing me that I am not alone. My son, too, is “culturally behind” due to my having to restrict video games to a bare minimum. He is so academically advanced that he is often focused on school work, and he has friends who are similarly focused. Thank goodness he has friends. That has been a long, long journey, but, strangely enough, middle school was a fantastic turning point for him. His friends do play far more video games than he does, but he has finally accepted it this year, and he is ok with it. Now my deepest secrets are out in the open, thanks to your article. I feel much lighter.
My son has EDS too. As one doctor recently explained to a doctor he was training, “He has the real deal.” Everything symptom or commorbidity that can accompany EDS does. He’s also gifted. Then the ADHD. Any one of these things by itself is enough for any parent to manage. It is exhausting. I also keep most of it to myself because I’m afraid of overwhelming friends. I’m also a single parent. Our similarities are uncanny. Thanks for posting. I have no idea who you are, but I wish you were my neighbor lol!!