What It’s Like To Be a Mum With ADHD

I never really dreamed about what kind of mother I was going to be, because I never really had the chance. I had my first child at 19, and ended up finding out what kind of mother I actually was before I even considered having kids. What I learned very quickly was that I was not the kind of organised, on-the-ball mum that many women strive to be. I am a hot mess mum, and a lot of that is on account of my ADHD.

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in college, and my son was still quite young. If you’re unfamiliar, basically it’s a condition that’s characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Although you hear about ADHD usually in the context of children, adults have it too. Some were diagnosed as kids, and others later in life (just like me). All of us have certain challenges that affect our daily functioning.

What being an ADHD mum really looks like for me is basically a hot mess. I struggle to remember the things that I should for my kids’ school and life routines, and I have to try and set up elaborate systems of reminders and lists to keep me on track. Even then, I have a difficult time, as I become overstimulated easily and can end up abandoning routines that help keep life running smoothly. I am lucky that my husband is basically the opposite of me, and can lend a hand in helping me shift my focus to where it needs to be.

Day to day, I have trouble coping with the competing responsibilities of general adulthood as I have a really hard time of effectively managing my time. The main issue with this is that I am very bad at planning ahead, and prioritizing things in a way that makes any sort of logical sense. It really feels sometimes like things go into my head, scramble, then guide my actions in a way where I am always struggling to catch up. Additionally, I get very irritable and restless with normal routines because honestly, I feel like I don’t truly understand them.

It has been immensely hard for me as a parent of a teen trying to preach the importance of time management and organisation, when I consistently provide such a poor example. The truth about being a mum with ADHD is late forms, running to the school to drop off things I forgot, and missing all sorts of theme days and events. My biggest fear is of my kids missing out on things because I cannot hold up my end of keeping their lives sorted, which is such a major piece of my job as a mother. So if I had to choose a hardest part of parenting with this condition it would have to be the guilt. I want to be one of those whiteboard, plan-ahead mums but in reality I’m just not wired that way. All the reminders, timers, and calendars will never change that.

However, there are some good things about being this kind of mum. I can be fun and free-spirited in an impulsive way that is probably not for every mum. I’m better with doing things like going outside and learning by adventure that sitting with structured activities, and I try and foster a great deal of independence in my kids. I’m certainly not at any risk of over-stressing my children with structure and routine.

I choose to view my role as an ADHD parent as simply bringing different things to the table. Although I still try my best to stay on top of things, I sometimes fail and I try to give myself grace. I’m not a perfect mother by any means, but at the end of the day, I love my kids, and no amount of imperfect adulting can take that away from me.

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