ADHD Parenting

The thing is, I was meant to have grown out of my ADHD. That’s what they told me when I was a kid, that I’d grow out of it. I did lots of behaviour therapy when I was in primary school and then, when I hit puberty, I grew out of it.

Turns out, that’s a load of nonsense. I didn’t grow out of it, I just learned lots of workarounds. But there was a long time where my ADHD wasn’t getting in the way of me functioning. I worked part-time to pay my college tuition while I still lived at home. And then I got to uni and needed to get re-diagnosed so I could get some accommodations — which I no longer needed when I entered the workforce so I promptly forgot I had ADHD again….

And then I had kids. Very adorable little agents of pure chaos. All the workarounds that I had went straight out the window!

I could no longer rely on leaving things out to remind me to do something with them — anything left out was just asking to be played with.

I could no longer turn up absurdly early to things [which I would normally do to overcompensate for being late] because the kids wouldn’t be content to loiter about.

I could no longer ride the wave of a hyperfocus; at any minute I need to be able to drop what I’m doing and tend to the new humans that I created.

I, someone with executive functioning difficulties, now needed to do all of the executive functioning for myself and two new humans.

Parenting is hard but, I promise, this is a bit extra. I keep hoping that I’ll get into a groove and free up time enough to play but it feels like I can’t motivate myself enough to keep going until I’ve fallen behind enough that the urgency kicks in. On some level, I know this will never happen because I will always be ADHD.

What has worked, though?

Routines. The kids need them and I need them. Not schedules or timetables, but routines. We always brush our teeth before getting into bed. We always clear our plates when we leave the table. Homework will get forgotten but at least the school bags get hung on the peg before after-school snack.

TV time tied to chores. When a chore is finished, that earns TV time for shows or gaming. It’s a time management tool and means that the work can be broken up into smaller chores for shorter TV time. It’s a lot more motivating than needing to do ALL of the chores before being able to play.

Talking about ADHD. My kids know that I get overwhelmed sometimes and, while they’re not always able to give me the time and space I need because they’re still only little, they definitely try to. When they struggle, I’m able to sympathise and empathise and tell them how I do things when I find them hard and I can regularly demonstrate things going wrong because of my ADHD and talk through what i’m doing to address it.

Good luck out there, fellow ADHD parent.