ADHD Parent

I have to remind myself I’m a parent with ADHD. I considered myself mildly ADHD. For over 40 years my alternative coping strategies mostly worked.

Then my first child. Then the second. That’s when my struggles tipped.

I’ve been thinking about my biggest hurtles lately trying to find ways to cope. This isn’t a post to fix ’em, more a post to share the struggle.

Split Focus: Sensory Indecision

My first realization of the new world demand was holding my new born daughter while my 3yr old son was slowly falling backwards off a swing. Having to make that split second decision not to drop the baby while my son dropped onto the wood chipped ground. Did I make my decision based knowing he would be safe on softish ground, or was I frozen?

Now at 5yr and 2yr it’s always a battle for who gets your attention, with all the banging screaming and repetition that comes with that.

How do I pick, who do I pick, what should I pick, if any? I think I’ve come to the conclusion for me it’s the idea of sensory indecision. So many inputs coming at me, plus the inputs inside my head, it becomes overloaded. To much. And it it a paralysis of sorts.

All Focus: Context Switching

When the kids are at school I get to sink into the work day. One of the other hardest times for me is 4pm – when I say “Oh crap, time to get the kids!”

I never give myself the right heads up, or ramp down. I always forget.

Over the course of the next few hours I go through the motions. Trying to listen, to start planning dinners with my partner, walking kiddos around the neighbourhood knocking on doors to play with friends. But in my head, I haven’t switched gears.

I’m still thinking about work. Problems still running around in the noggin that need a solution.

When someone brought up the term “context switching,” I thought “Ah Ha! That’s what it’s called”.

Remember those kids vying for attention? Yah, they don’t care about context switching.

Add to that, they are experts and context switch mid sentence a thousand times a day; the dramatic emotional changes, the here-there running from place to place; the labyrinth of pre-logical minds. It’s a mine field of switches to keep up with. My mind ends up feeling dazed and confused like a rag doll smashing about holding onto the leash of a bear.

No Focus: Deprivation

I’ve tested my will power enough to know I’ve got the chops to go cold turkey on most things, and if it weren’t for that, I doubt I would be able to come close to do this.

I’ve been able to ignore a lot of the impulses.

Through selflessness and love for my family I have been trying my best to stay snuggling on the couch, making their lunches, getting them dressed, going for walks, instead of tinkering or doing whatever that “other thing” is roaming in my mind.

I used to think that was a good idea. Why wouldn’t it be better to be with them instead? I’m starting to wonder and reconsider. I’ve been depriving myself, that voice, for too long.

Some of those thoughts and impulses were things, in hindsight, I loved. I miss them. Some of them I could only do in small doses. Some I needed big swatches of time. But either way, they have been left undone and slightly neglected.

What to do. What to do.

“Maybe when they get older” my friends and I all say ( for many reasons ), “they’ll calm down, and you’ll get back to some balance”

“Maybe. Maybe.” I say.

But I don’t think that’s my answer. To wait 5 or so more years?

So what am I doing about it? This blog.

It’s one of those voices I’ve been ignoring. If it hasn’t been a work report, and to do lists, birthday invitation, or practising words with my son, it hasn’t happened. So, crack the knuckles and get cracking I go.

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash