- Mental Health
What it means to be a Mom with ADD
I am a mom. And I have ADD. One of these things significantly makes the other worse. I just can’t figure out which one.
This is the first of a series of hubs I intend to write on adult ADHD (used interchangeably with ADD), and more specifically, ADHD moms. They have been inspired by a lot of different things and have a lot of different messages. Sometimes things will make sense. And sometimes they (the things, to be technical) will go off in long and winding trajectories, flights of fantasy and adjunctive commentaries that never seem to come back the original point. But always they will end with a point of some sort, I hope.
Did I mention the ADD?
On Being a Mom, Of Any Kind
Moms are gods, at least to their kids they are. They are the gods of etiquette, of housework, of safety and responsibility. They are the gods of time keeping and hygiene and emotionality and esteem. They are the all-seeing, all-knowing gods with eyes in the backs of their heads, the seers of future consequences, and the enforcers of said consequences. They are, at times, even the gods of war. They have a lot of power, and an even greater amount of responsibility.
No one wants to follow a false god, especially none who revere the existence one, superior, higher being. For kids, that notion of a “higher being” starts with their moms and dads, at least until dogma enters their lives. All good moms will question their ability to fulfill these demands at least once in awhile. But for moms who live with ADD, this question occurs daily, if not hourly:
“Who the he!! put me in charge?”
We try not to ask it out loud too often, lest we give ourselves (our incompetence as we see it) away. We struggle silently, hoping that we never get “found out”, sensing that somehow our resumes don't quite match up to the job. We suspect all the others moms, the ones who have their you-know-what together, have had some secret tuition on proper parenting that we weren’t privy to. Or maybe we were, but just weren`t listening.
We are the moms who, on top of chasing our kids, work doubly hard chasing our own tails. We are those moms who never get to the bottom of the pile, or who can't find where they put the pile in the first place. Despite our sincerest efforts, we just can`t get our you-know-what together.
We don’t keep a tidy house, remember appointments, or cope easily with things like paying bills on time or brushing our kids` hair every day. We miss important chunks of information laden with detail; we are impatient and impulsive, restless. We constantly teeter between the two worlds of under and overstimulation. You may think we talk a lot, but we know the words that escape our mouths are really only a fraction of what runs through our minds each millisecond. And no, we don’t know where you put x, y, or z because we don’t know where we put x, y, or z either.
If we were honest with ourselves, we would notice how much we really relate to every high and low, every mess, every oversight, every impulsive, bounce-off-the-walls show of character our little ones bestow upon our household. The outer two year old is not so different to the inner mom we know. Neither is the fourteen year old. The only real difference is we know better. We are the moms. The “gods” of order and family functionality.
Who am I kidding?
We are the moms on the fringe of this parenthood clique: the ones who get by - just barely – but we do it. If we saw our strengths for what they are, instead of what they appear to be against some imaginary barometer of parental competence, we would see that EVERY MOM has struggles and that we shine in spite of ours. Those other moms, the ones who run a tight ship, parent their children with courage, wisdom and serenity, and do so gracefully and adoringly – don’t exist outside our imagination.
All these quirks we judge as incompetence are really the flecks of imperfection that make us sparkle if we shine the right light on them. And if we could stop wishing we were “normal” moms, we would learn to bask in the glory of unconventional mothering and in that, be happier being ourselves. Happier moms make a happier world. After all, ``when momma aint happy aint nobody happy`(Tracy Byrd).
There is only one underlying philosophy that underpins and unifies all that I write about: Be the kind of mom you want to be. Now. In fact, be the kind of person you want to be. Now! Never before has now been more important than this exact moment in time. And the best way to become the kind of person or mother you want to be, is to first start embracing the one you are - ADD and all.