Friday, April 13, 2012

License to lose it!

Giving myself license to act crazy, because I'm usually not so much.

For me, as the wife of one ADHD adult and mother of one ADHD child, it can be very frustrating to see over and over the same issues come up. Being the one that is constantly reminding them of things they need to do before they become problems can appear to be nagging, and yet if I don’t remind them they don’t do it and I get called out for not reminding them. Really?!?!

OK, so I wear that badge, “I’m the nagger”. And I also wear that badge; “I count to 100” to not get upset when they get upset at me. I do it because I know it is a lot easier for me to do than it is for them. It is a lot easier for me to remember for them, and in turn remind them. It is a lot easier for me to contain my impulses and emotions than it is for them.

And yet, I would do them a disservice to not expect that they try, even when it doesn’t come easy. I know that I do these things for them because I am the wife and the mother, and I love them. Others, why would they be ok with their forgetfulness or their outbursts? Yes, I want to work for a future where people know more about ADHD and understand how hard it is for ADHDers to do certain things, but they [ADHDers] also have to know those deficits and work every day at getting just a tad bit better at them.

I feel most days I am the only sane one in the household because everyone else is acting crazy, as my non ADHD 6 year old has an excuse of his own, he is 6 and can’t really cope as well with the chaos and simply joins in. No, I am not a saint, and I do not have tons of patience. It doesn’t come naturally to me to be so forgiving, and it doesn’t come naturally to repeat myself over and over.

My life before knowledge of the ADHD world was very different. I was constantly fighting with my husband over what I thought was his lack of interest in our conversations as he would forget. His forgetfulness caused not only arguments but also money issues. Nobody wants to get charged a late fee because someone forgot to pay on time. I have yet to find someone that wants to waste money on food that will spoil because you bought something you already had and didn’t consume it all in time. And yet I knew he was trying. I didn’t know how his hardest efforts still resulted in such a poor outcome, and I thought he wasn’t giving his all.

But oh what motherhood brought. I could tell my daughter really wanted to learn how to read. She would ask me time and time again for me to read her books. She would pretend she could read them since she was 3 years old. When she finally got to the point in school where they were learning to read words and then sentences she could not contain her excitement. And then at home she could not make it through a page without getting distracted or frustrated that she had forgotten what a combination of letters would sound like. I knew something was off. I knew she really wanted this, and yet she couldn’t manage to get there. What should have been a 10-minute reading assignment turned into hours with breaks as I knew she needed them. That is one of many examples, and more are yet to come up as she continues in school.

I have touched on these issues before, but many people have asked me how I do it. Me!! Not how they get through it, but how I swim along side them in their fight against the rapids. That is how I get to this part. The “HOW I DO IT”. I do it by constantly reminding myself that they will get better outside our home if we can keep practicing inside our home. I remind myself of all the times they thank me for saving them form forgetting an important document or homework. I remind myself that entering that electronic calendar entry for them made them get to their appointment on time. But the most important part, the one that all relatives of ADHDers should also do, is remind your ADHDers that you are also working hard and you may also lose your temper once in a while, and you may also forget once in a while. You may also choose NOT to deal with it one moment or one day because it is THAT HARD. And they should understand you with as much patience and love as you understand them.

I am most certainly not perfect, and I do want to run out of my home pulling at my hair and screaming my lungs out almost once a day if not more often. I give myself license to do just that once in a while. It has even turned into a joke in my household. “Mommy is screaming and turning red now, we must really have done it this time!!”. And then they bring me something comforting (after letting me cool down), like some ice-cream, a loving apology letter, or when it was a doozy a stiff drink. They get practice at putting up with Mommy more often than I would like to admit. And in my household, we have mastered the art of walking away to calm down and being ok with that. Never underestimate the power of alone time!

All four of us are crazy

I try to see it as putting up with each other. And since we do it so often, we do it so well now. In our ADHD household, practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice makes habit and that makes life easier.

Do you give yourself license to lose it once in a while? 

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

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