Having trouble keeping up with chores? Always late or missing appointments? Maybe you’re two seconds away from curling into a ball and crying? I’d bet you answered all of the above, and you’re deep into Mommy Overwhelm.
I know that feeling when the baby’s crying, the kids are arguing, the phone’s ringing, the oven timer is going off, and you’re standing in the middle of it like a living statue.
Frozen by indecision and a sense of loss that bores all the way to your soul. But what if that feeling could be prevented? What if there’s more to the story than being an overwhelmed mom? There’s a chance none of this is your fault and that there’s something you can do about it. Let me explain…
Normal Mommy Overwhelm
All mothers can feel completely overwhelmed at times. Many won’t ever tell you or let it show. It’s easy to get stressed out and fed up when you have more than one life that you’re responsible for. Mommy Overwhelm can happen if you have one kid or six.
Here’s what it looks like for your average mother:
- Sleep deprivation
- You haven’t slept longer than an hour in almost 3 days. You’re not even sure if it’s morning or night anymore. What’s your name again?
- Empty Village
- Your support system consists of you, you, and maybe the hubby if you have one worth his salt. It truly takes a village so if you’re going it alone or in a duo you’re bound to feel overwhelmed
- Self-care is a dirty word to you. Being a good mom means sacrifice, right? WRONG! This is why you’re feeling burnt out. You have to take care of yourself before taking care of others. It’s life 101.
- Taking on the Farm, Zoo, and Nature Preserve…
- Yes, you’re doing too much at once. As moms, we feel the pressure to do it all. Successful careers, perfect homes, Pinterest perfect parties/crafts, and fulfilling marriages equal #momgoals. It’s not realistic, and if you keep chasing it, you’ll be stuck feeling overwhelmed.
Now, what if this list doesn’t apply to you? You’re past the newborn stage and getting the right amount of sleep. You’ve got friends and family that help out as often as they can. You take care of yourself to the best of your ability and are not focused on unrealistic goals. So why do you still feel like your life is entirely out of control? Keep reading…
Mommy Overwhelm and ADHD
Feeling overwhelmed as a parent is inevitable for a woman with undiagnosed ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD magnify the already difficult aspects of motherhood. If you don’t know you have ADHD, then you don’t know how to combat its adverse effects. This leads to mommy overwhelm on steroids. Honestly, I think overwhelm is too small a word to truly describe it. Check out these Symptoms of ADHD in Women and keep reading for classic signs of ADHD fueled mommy overwhelm.
Signs of ADHD Fueled Overwhelm:
Chores are the devil, they never end, and I’m done doing them!
Does that sound like something you’d say? Do you want to shout it from the rooftops, but know you’ll never follow through? Sorry, kiddo chores are the devil, but you still have to do them. That being said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may not be able to do them. You’ve tried to force yourself on multiple occasions to just get up and do the laundry, but you can’t. It’s like some unseen force his holding you in place every time you think about it. That’s the ADHD. It can literally stop you in your tracks when faced with a dreaded task. Read ADHD Frustration Shutdown for more info.
Never-ending to-do list
Much like the chores. Your general to-do list causes you mommy overwhelm all by itself. There’s always something that must get done, and it always feels like it has to get done RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s that pesky ADHD again. You, my dear friend, can’t prioritize to save your life. Don’t feel bad; I couldn’t do it at first, and I still struggle with it from time to time. You can fix this one now by training yourself to set smaller goals to make smaller lists and schedule in some brain breaks.
Forgetful and Never on Time
You either forget the appointment completely or show up late. There never seems to be a time when you both remember you have an appointment and show up on time. You blame it on mommy brain or lack of organization. Sometimes you’re late because the kids refused to cooperate that morning or an important file was left on the kitchen table. Sounds pretty typical, right? Everyone has those days… but you don’t have this problem occasionally, do you? This happens EVERY DAY, and you’re beating yourself up for it. Well, stop it! It’s not your fault, and here are a few life hacks I picked up that you can start using today.
Too much sensory input
Remember earlier when I mentioned the nightmare scenario where the baby’s crying, the kids are arguing, the phones ringing, and the oven timer is going off? That’s a recipe for a meltdown for anyone, but for you, it’s so much more. For you, this scenario is debilitating. All normal functioning will stop because you literally can’t find the thing you need to focus on. Normal mommy overwhelm may result in a small outburst of anger/frustration, followed by steps to handle each problem in order of importance.
If you have undiagnosed ADHD, a few different things can happen:
- You can freeze up like I mentioned earlier. Everything keeps happening around you, but you can’t decide which one to handle first. You end up stuck because the overload on your senses makes it even more difficult than usual to prioritize. This may result in a panic attack and the need to be removed from the situation to recover.
- You have a giant outburst of anger and frustration that doesn’t help you or your kids. You start dealing with each situation but with anger as the fuel to push past the paralysis. You do whatever you have to do to make all the noise stop even if it’s not the best course of action. Then you feel entirely depleted once the dust settles.
- Crisis Control kicks in, and you get a rush of clarity. You head straight for the most critical thing and handle it all quickly without really thinking about it. This one may not happen if you’re undiagnosed and haven’t learned to harness your superpowers. Yet, occasionally we discover a skill by accident, so this is still a possibility. Nevertheless, I doubt you want to be in this scenario to stop feeling overwhelmed.
Read more about ADHD Superpowers and how to harness them. Also, if you’d like to know more about ADHD, check this out: What is ADHD? – A simplified definition. There you’ll learn why attention deficit is a bit of a misnomer.
Think You Have ADHD?
It’s tough to get motivated when you have ADHD. It’s even harder to stay motivated. So when you finally get yourself pumped up enough to start a task you’ve been putting off… Nothing kills you more than being interrupted. Unfortunately, 98% of being a mom seems to be interruptions. For the average woman, interruptions are an annoyance. For us, they are mommy overwhelm inducing parasites. We already feel like we’re never doing enough, motivated enough, or even competent enough in some cases. So when we’re finally accomplishing something, we set out to do…
Stopping feels like the world shattered, and we’re less likely to pick the interrupted task back up.
It took too much to get started the first time, and we just don’t have the mental fortitude to do it all over again. This cycle leaves us feeling unmotivated, exhausted, and utterly defeated. Don’t worry, though. Like all the other symptoms, it can be managed with the right tools.
I hope this doesn’t have you feeling more overwhelmed than when you started reading. I want this to give you hope instead. If you’re suffering from ADHD fueled mommy overwhelm, then there is treatment available. There are tools and tips and a community of equally overwhelmed mamas right here. I’ve been where you are, and I’ve managed to come out the other side happier and stronger. You can too, just stick with me, and I’ll show you how to live AMAZINGLY ATYPICAL.
Note: This list or any other list is not a substitute for evaluation by a mental health professional. If you believe you or someone you love may have ADHD, then contact your healthcare provider today. There is no substitute for an accurate diagnosis. Check these resources to find a provider near you: Clinics List.
With that said, I hope this has helped you understand your struggle. You’re not alone in this. Keep pushing through mama, keep being your awesome self, and keep believing that things will get better!
Until next time…