6 Signs an ADHD Parent Needs a Break

Love my kids. Love being a mother, especially THEIR mother.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not exhausted on an occasional everyday basis.  ADHD means there is extra energy in the household, more emotions to juggle, less sleep at night.  You get the idea.  It’s a perfect combination for doing things I’m not proud of, but surely I’m not alone.  We all have embarrassing moments, and what better way to handle them than to laugh at yourself.

So, in no particular order, here’s my list of 6 signs that I (a proud ADHD parent, and wife!) need a break:

#6 You steal brownie mix at Walmart.  Okay, it’s not what you think.  It had been a day of high emotions for our household, and I made a quick trip to Wallyworld thinking brownies would save the damn day. (Here kids, eat sugar!) I walked in, found said brownie mix, and freaking WALKED OUT.  I forgot to pay! (Who has the focus problem again?) I realized what happened when I reached my car and immediately felt like a criminal, then marched back in to fork over my $1.89. I remember thinking, Um, do I HAVE to wait in line, because technically, I was here before all of you, I just, well, stole my brownies 5 minutes ago, so…yeah.’  By the way, Walmart might wanna invest in some more security against Betty Crocker bandits like myself.

#5 You drive your kid to his game, and it’s OVER. Our life was all over the place at this time, we didn’t know if we were coming or going.  You can imagine the feeling of total mommy Loserville that set in when we showed up to the basketball gym for a 6:30 pm game only to find his teammates walking out, foreheads glistening in sweat because their game had just ended.  The look on my son’s face was a sure sign that we (Mom and Dad) needed to get our s**t together.  Like, yesterday.

#4 You offer a cash prize when playing the Quiet Game. Yeah, this might have been an all-time low for me. Mom of the Year behind the wheel here.  Surely we’ve all been there?  The talking in the car while running errands had been, well, constant. I remember the convo: My youngest asked how I met his daddy, and I gave him the brief version.  He asked 20 more questions, including how many boyfriends I dated before meeting my handsome hubby, and I answered them. Feeling like I was playing a round of Car Jeopardy (What is ‘At a wedding in Florida for $200 please’), I quickly suggested the quiet game.  In my family, the quiet game goes something like this:  ‘Ready….GO. (Crickets for about 10 seconds…and then…one of the kids: ‘WAIT! I wasn’t ready, Hey can we stop for frozen yogurt? What’s for dinner, by the way? Okay, do-over. Annnnnd, GO.’) We repeat that process about 6 times before I give up.  This time, I wasn’t caving.  So I brought out the wallet. ‘The quiet game just got serious, boys.  $20 up for grabs, who’s in?’ 

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#3 You fall asleep leaning over your cart at the grocery.  Seems like the perfect place to take a snooze, right?  Nothing like another shopper tapping you on the shoulder asking you to move because you’re blocking the canned goods.  I can’t make this stuff up, but it happened.  Why? My youngest was experiencing night terrors at the time, and I was doing my best to settle him down and get both of us back to sleep.  I was lucky to get a couple of hours, and obviously, Del Monte green beans aren’t super interesting when you’re running on fumes.

#2 You have a near-meltdown at the doctor’s office where they walked you and your child back to the exam room 40 MINUTES EARLIER, and haven’t been in since.  A child with ADHD in a room that is basically the size of a closet is a recipe for severe boredom (translation: Climbing the walls.)  I don’t mind waiting (although I could have knitted a small blanket by the time we were seen), but for the love, let us sit in the waiting room where you have a TV, books, and well, space. Don’t put us in a shoe box with shiny medical instruments that our child can’t touch and not expect a parent’s blood pressure to rise.

#1 You go to pick your kids up at school, and the receptionist informs you that students have already been dismissed for the day.  Yeah, that’s right, the bell had already rang.  The kids were on a bus, heading home, and their mother was standing at their school asking to sign them out like a freaking moron.  So, in a nutshell here, my kids’ school thinks I’m cray-cray.  I’m not, of course, but how do you explain not checking the clock and knowing when the school day ends?  I blamed it on lack of sleep and trying to put out fires at home while feeling like an Olympian if we all showered that day. (Do they give gold medals for that?) Something had to give, outside of my reputation, because I’m sure the school’s front office had a heyday with this one.

And that’s 6.

This is about the time I realized we needed some systems in place to conquer each day like a BOSS.  I was exhausted from winging it.  Waking up each day without a plan and hoping stuff falls into place isn’t the best preparation for life.  My kids (and later, my husband) were overwhelmed with juggling life with ADHD, and I was struggling to manage it all.   ADHD affects the entire family.

If you aren’t familiar with our story, you can check it out here.  And if my story sounds familiar, I would love to hear from you! We’re in this together!