Advice to ADHD moms

Posted on September 8, 2011 by

Over the past four years I’ve been coming to terms with the development of my youngest child, who suffers from severe ADHD, among various other things. I’ve written about this before, mostly to complain, as I know that there are quite a few ADHD moms who read this blog and we like to commiserate.

Today I’d like to take a break from whining and offer some advice and truisms that I’ve discovered over the past few years.

  • Blood is thicker than water. It’s quite likely that your relatives are the only people willing to associate with you, so maintain your relationships with them or you risk ending up completely alone.
  • You are not the only one whose child has climbed onto the roof of the house, car, or shed. It happens.
  • Let your kid play outside as much as you can. Thunderstorms are the only excuse for keeping him in the house.
  • Cut your husband some slack. He’s got his hands full staying sane and healthy enough to keep his job, so he’ll have a very limited ability to help you out or babysit. Get outside help for that and don’t always expect him to be your backup. He’s only one man.
  • I know you’re friendless, but so is your child. It is easy to forget that even they notice that nobody likes them, nobody wants to play with them, and everyone avoids them and stares at them as if they were a freak of nature. Even preschoolers can suffer from the awareness of this constant rejection. This wears them down over time, so watch for signs of depression.
  • It is possible to be thrown out of special ed. It happens.
  • Watch their diet. You know what I’m talking about. You and I both know that his bowl of cereal is going to come back to haunt you for the rest of the day. It’s not worth it.
  • Take care of your own health. Stop laughing, I really mean it. I know it’s incredibly difficult, but you need to watch your own diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
  • Your house is a constant mess, but don’t stress about it. People with neat houses generally don’t have kids like yours. Sorry to have to point out the obvious.
  • Don’t compare yourself with other moms. They don’t have your kids, so it’s apples to oranges.
  • Cry regularly. But not in front of anyone else, as that upsets them. Just have a good cry, wipe your eyes, and face the day refreshed. Free stress relief.
  • When you hear people talk about how ADHD doesn’t really exist, or how it is caused by diet or television, just ignore them. They were not in the delivery room, and they’re lumping your child in with all of the kids who are hyped up on soda and Teletubbies.
  • Give your kid a hug and a kiss. They can’t help being the way they are, so don’t get mad at them for it or take their misbehavior personally.
  • Stop feeling guilty! Realize that children with ADHD used to be culled off at a young age, so congratulate yourself that you’ve managed to keep yours alive thus far and can add them to the “ADHD epidemic” statistics. It’s an accomplishment, so pat yourself on the back and take a nap to celebrate.
  • Smile at your spouse every morning. It’s important to break the mask of exhaustion and frustration you usually wear, so that your face doesn’t freeze permanently in that position. And he likes to see you smile, as it cheers him up.
  • Be patient. As hard as raising a child with ADHD is, just remember that you have the gift of time. It usually gets better as they age, so hang in there.
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