The Baggage & Motherhood Guest Writer’s Series gives a space for moms around the world to share their story of what life has thrown their way and how it has impacted them in their role as a Mom. This post by Brittany Grant explores how she find out as an adult that she has ADHD, and how being a Mom with ADHD has impacted her. She also shares some great ADHD-mom life hacks!
All of the posts in this series touch on the real life struggles of bringing your “stuff” with you to your most important job: Motherhood.
I am a Mom with ADHD
Google is a mom’s best friend.
Every little symptom and concern can be typed into that little search bar and you’ll be flooded with a wealth of relatively applicable
information. But what happens when Google fails you?
If you Google “ADHD parenting”, for example, you’ll be hard pressed to find a single piece that’s geared toward being a parent with ADHD rather than parenting a child with ADHD.
I was diagnosed at age 26, long after I became a mother. It was an earth shattering revelation for me. I had struggled with depression and anxiety for nearly two decades and had all but given up on getting an answer as to what was truly wrong with me.
Thankfully, my new therapist hadn’t. I don’t remember exactly how she uncovered that piece of the puzzle, but I do remember being completely baffled by the suggestion.
What do you mean, you think I may have ADHD? I was an excellent student and I NEVER got in trouble for fidgeting. Though in hindsight I definitely got in trouble for talking… whoops!
Intrigued, I went home and buried myself in research trying to make sense of this newfound information. As I pored over article after article, everything started coming together.
The years of annoying word vomit that flooded out of my mouth without a thought.
The impulsive spending.
Oh, so THAT’S why I’m always late!
The inability to succeed at anything I wasn’t completely obsessed with.
Most of all, the complete ability to hyperfocus on creative endeavors for days on end without stopping to eat or sleep.
Suddenly my whole world started to make sense!
Okay, so, real talk here. Parenting is hard for everyone, regardless, no doubt about it. But it is SO MUCH HARDER when you’re supposed to be responsible for these tiny little humans and you can’t even be responsible for yourself!
Every day I come face to face with the hypocrisy of it all. Reminding my daughter not to leave precious toys behind when I’ve lost countless things of varying importance over the years. Forcing her to go play after one or two episodes of TV, meanwhile I just binged watched 6 hours of Netflix instead of going to sleep. Telling her to manage her emotions and then having a complete meltdown because someone forgot to put a dish in the dishwasher. Really, I could go on and on with examples, but I’ll spare you the rest.
All that said, I continually remind myself that I am a warrior and I have the power to change my reality, no matter how challenging that may be. I won’t put on airs and say that I cope well even the majority of the time, but as with any kind of recovery program, I try to take things one day at a time.
And since it’s so hard to find any kind of resources on parenting with ADHD, I’ll take a stab at it and share with you my top 5 favorite ADHD Mom Life Hacks I’ve figured out thus far.
Top 5 Favorite ADHD-Mom Life Hacks
- Write EVERYTHING Down
Yes, I do mean everything. I always think I’m going to remember everything (because I have a great memory for things I hyperfocus on), but inevitably I’ve already forgotten just minutes later. We keep a whiteboard on the side of the fridge that makes it super easy to jot things down quickly!
- Use Reminders
So writing things down is great for little “same day” reminders, but if it’s anything further than a day in the future I will inevitably lose the piece of paper I wrote it on long before the thing needs to be remembered. For bigger things, I set reminders on my phone. This works particularly well for cancelling subscriptions or not missing my daughter’s soccer games!
- Set Alarms!
I’m sure it’s hard for ALL moms to get their kids out the door in a timely manner, but somehow all those other moms seem to make it early and wildly over-prepared for things. I am lucky if I make it there right on time and I can almost certainly guarantee I’ve forgotten at least three things. I haven’t yet figured out how to remember to bring the things, but I do manage to make it on time if I set multiple alarms at regular intervals (with buffer time built in, of course)! What does this look like? Basically, I calculate GPS time and work backwards from there. So if we need to be pulling out of our parking spot at 1:15, I have a “leave” alarm set for 1:00, along with a “get ready” alarm set for 12:00 (accounting for 50% actual getting ready time and 50% buffer time for all the distractions that will inevitably pop up during that time).
- Prep the Night Before
Okay, so maybe this is just because I’m not a morning person but I literally move (and think) at half speed when it’s time to go anywhere, so I work really hard at having literally everything laid out, packed up, and ready to go in the morning. The less I have to do in the moment, the better!
Are you sensing any kind of theme here? Time blindness is probably the ADHD symptom that affects my life the most on a regular basis. Hyperfocus can be great when you’re able to work it to your advantage (like a work project or organizing your kitchen), but it’s a double-edged sword because it also means you can spend three hours watching TikTok videos instead of doing something useful. Enter the Pomodoro method! In a nutshell, this idea involves using a kitchen timer to manage your productivity where you work for 25 minutes straight, followed by a 5 minute break. Repeat enough times and not only will you start to get an idea of how long tasks take, but it will also light a fire under your ass to actually get things done!
Honestly, I could probably ramble on and on about different hacks I use to survive motherhood with ADHD, but since ADHD also makes it incredibly easy to get overwhelmed, let’s just leave it at that for now.
Let’s be real here, we’re all just stumbling our way through it together, right?
So hit me with your tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way in the comments below; I’d love to hear from all you hot-mess mamas like me!
Brittany Grant is an actress, flight attendant, personal trainer, and mom of two, so she’s obviously not busy at all. When she’s not doing what she should be doing, she enjoys binging tv shows and TikTok videos while cuddling her cats.
Thank you, thank you, Brittany for sharing your story of finding out about having ADHD as an adult, and recognizing how its symptoms impact you and your role as Mom. And THANK YOU for that awesome ADHD-mom hacks to help our readers who also struggle with ADHD (although, to be honest, they can help any mom!).
SEE THE REST OF THE POSTS IN THE BAGGAGE & MOTHERHOOD SERIES HERE!