For Moms with ADHD – Why it’s OK to Ask for Help

Mimi Handlin, MSW - ADHD Coach for Women
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I became a widowed single mom when I had baby twins and a 3 year old. I was lucky enough to have some family and friends who were a tremendous help the first few years. But as my children grew older, it became increasingly up to me to manage everything. Whew! Talk about feeling scattered, anxious, disorganized, and overwhelmed. Thank goodness we all survived and they are in their twenties now. But just remembering those years takes my breath away.

Many women with ADHD, whether they are married or not, feel that same sense of being scattered, anxious, disorganized, and overwhelmed. My clients talk to me about the shame and inadequacy they feel. They compare themselves to super-moms and feel guilt at the thought that they might need some help.

If you relate to these kinds of feelings, please try to give yourself a break. (Even a little one!) Know that ADHD is a real neurological difference and the impact it can have on your life is huge. You deserve kindness, understanding and recognition for all that you do. Not criticism and self-blame

The job of raising a family includes many skills and tasks that do not come easily for moms with ADHD. Some of these are:

• Details – remembering medical and dental appointments, play dates, permission slips, vitamins, clean clothes, toilet paper, etc. etc.

• Mundane and boring tasks – grocery shopping, laundry, making school lunches (that my kids rarely ate), emptying the dishwasher, etc. etc.

• Attention challenges – such as sustained focus when your child is talking and talking to you or transitions of attention when you are pulled in a million different directions.

• Organization – of things, appointments, time, spaces, you name it!

• Stress. As you probably know, feeling stress and pressure makes ADHD symptoms worse. Since many parents with ADHD have children with the same challenges, a common stressor is the extra time, energy, and emotion required to raise a child with ADHD or other special needs. Another difficult stressor is feeling criticized and misunderstood when you are already giving 125% of who you are and what you can accomplish.

Just think how different life could be with a little help. Whether negotiated with your husband, another family member, or someone you pay, getting help does not diminish your worth. Instead, it allows you to more easily express the loving, unique, creative, and fun aspects of yourself – which can get buried under all the pressure, rushing, and stress!

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