When You’re A Mom With ADHD
Give yourself some grace… Have you heard this phrase a lot lately? I certainly have, and I’ve been wondering just what it really means to give myself grace. It feels like an excuse to be lazy or not to finish something.
When is it considered giving yourself grace and when it is giving up?
I couldn’t shake this feeling that there’s a level of acceptable self-grace. So, I did a deep dive into my inner motivations, and here’s what I came up with. Hopefully, it’ll get you out of the grace spiral too.
Why you need to Give Yourself some grace
We’ve got two problems that have us feeling this need to do more and do it perfectly. Those two things are motherhood and ADHD. Both things send our anxiety skyrocketing whenever we take time for ourselves or tell ourselves it’s okay that something didn’t get done today.
We’re driven to feel like we have something to prove to ourselves and to other people.
I can do everything and more, and I can finish it all perfectly and on time. That’s the story we tell because we spent most of our lives being told we’re lazy, and we never complete anything. Then we had kids, and not only did we need to overcome our ADHD, but we also needed to do everything all at once, or somehow we’d screw up our children.
Well, that’s a bunch of nonsense. You know it, and I know it, but neither of us is really ready to let go of that story, are we? That’s why the whole world seems to be telling us to give ourselves some grace, cut ourselves some slack, or just relax… because we desperately need to do it.
Our anxiety level is too high when trying to do all the things. We end up not accomplishing any of them (at least not well). We’re just chasing our tails hoping we get somewhere, and it’s not working… at all.
So, I’m taking the advice of the masses and slowing down, reevaluating, and plotting a new course.
Getting past the ADHD
This is the harder of the two to tackle, believe it or not. ADHD and anxiety go hand in hand for most women. It seems like we can’t have one without the other.
Managing our anxiety can only be done by controlling our ADHD and vice versa.
So how do we let things go if we’re always worried that we’re just giving up again? Unfortunately, it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of self-discipline, but it can be done. You need to start by reframing your thoughts to include the fact that you have ADHD.
Being undiagnosed for so long, you’ve learned to tell yourself that your struggle is your fault, but it’s not. Stop calling yourself lazy and telling yourself you never finish anything. Start telling yourself,
“I have ADHD. I am not lazy; it is just harder for me to get and stay motivated. I didn’t finish things before because I didn’t know about my ADHD, or how to control my anti-motivators. Now, I can finish anything I put my mind to because I’m learning the tools I need to be my best self.”
I hear the pushback already… You’re fussing at me and saying, “that doesn’t make it true,” but I beg to differ…
I believe saying it enough will, in fact, make it real. You have to keep saying it until you believe it. You have to say it every time you tell yourself the opposite and every time you start to think it’s not true. Say it so many times you stop remembering a time when you didn’t say it… and then say it some more.
It won’t be easy, and it will feel wrong and foreign at first, but one day… You’ll say it because you mean it. This is step one, and while you’re working on it. You should also be working on step two…
Getting past perfect parenting
You can’t give yourself some grace if you’re obsessing over being the perfect parent. If you know me, then you know I don’t believe in “perfect parenting.” However, I’m convinced that you can be a good parent without being obsessed with being the perfect parent. I also know that wanting to be a good parent can be an obsession within itself.
You’ve created these tiny, helpless humans and been tasked into making them into fully functioning, happy, healthy adults… and there’s no instructions or one size fits all guidebook.
Yet, there’s an abundance of advice and suggestions that you try to sift through to find the thing that works best for you. I’m not going to give you more random advice on parenting. This is advice on being you.
And guess what, this is the easy part. Those faces adorable faces that look like you but not quite… You want to see more of them and enjoy them, right? Well, my only advice is to just that.
If you keep doing more and pushing on and never stop moving… You’re going to run right past their childhoods. You’ll miss all those precious moments, and you can never get them back.
The next time you lose track of time playing with your kids and miss a deadline, put it in perspective. Instead of chiding yourself for being late, congratulate yourself for showing up for your kids. They’re the whole reason you have a deadline. Everything you do is for your kids.
Problem is, if you don’t spend that time, that’s not how they’ll remember it. They’ll only remember you weren’t there with them. That’s why the easiest way to give yourself some grace is by spending quality time with your family. Not only do you deserve that time, but they do too. So stop regretting it and start using it to keep you going! Work will still be there, I promise.
Making sure to find a balance (or happy medium) and finally give yourself some grace
Yes, you need to find the magnificent middle (another fun term for equality) to indeed be okay with slacking a bit. Remember when I mentioned how to know the difference between giving yourself some grace and just plain quitting? This is that information… and I think it’s actually the hardest part.
Honestly, I still struggle with this myself, but here’s what I’ve been doing to get past it:
I’ve always put too much on my plate (it’s one of the curses of ADHD). Then, I think I’m a horrible person because I quite literally couldn’t do it all. I’ve come to realize that’s where the difference comes in.
Cutting yourself some slack is admitting that there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things you planned.
You have to just do what you can, and be okay with moving things to the next day, week, month. As long as you keep planning to do them and you keep working a bit at a time… you’re not giving up or being lazy.
A perfect example, I planned to write a post a day one week. I wrote 2 and edited 2 others… That’s far from my goal of 7 new posts for the week. I was beating myself up over having fell short of my goal when my husband says, “it’s a miracle you worked at all and you probably shouldn’t have. You’re still mourning your Grandma.”
Yes, you read that right. I kept my writing plan, even though my grandmother had just passed away earlier in the week. I thought I should stay focused because that’s what she’d want… but when I’m honest, I know she’d want me to be kind to myself.
I was just used to putting undue pressure on myself. I usually work better that way… but this time… I pushed too hard and turned myself into a nervous wreck. I was crying more often than not, and I should’ve just taken the time to grieve and grieve only.
Work was still there when I was feeling better… I should’ve taken my own advice. Moving forward, I still plan to give myself hard goals and push to be better. But, I’m also planning time off, focusing on one or two things a day, and letting myself feel whatever I need to feel.
Like I said, this is the hard part. You have to take a microscope to your own life and your thinking. Decide what you’re physically and emotionally capable of taking on for the day, week, month, or however far out you plan. Make realistic goals, and maybe a few that push you.
Then, be okay if life happens, and you don’t get it all done.
In a perfect world, you’ll complete your to-do list every day, but this isn’t an ideal world. You are allowed to feel frustrated and angry and curse the lack of hours in the day, but then take a few deep breathes and remember…
You don’t have to be perfect! It will all get done, and it will be done at the right time.
Woosah! You did it!
I gave you a lot of heavy stuff here. I hope you can take it to heart and learn and grow from it. I’m still learning myself, but I feel like I get better at it each day.
Just breathe, mama, and remember you got this. You’re a beautiful, talented, smart, motivated, successful, and overall fantastic person! You deserve to feel as impressive as you are.
Be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and life will feel so much better. Keep doing you girl and shine bright!
Until next time…