Managing ADHD in Life and in Motherhood – Part 2

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Being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult was eye-opening. I wrote more about my diagnosis and the difference between men/women with ADHD in What’s it’s Like to Have ADHD as a Mom.

The more I started to talk about ADHD, the more women came forward telling their stories, journeys, struggles, and coping skills. Motherhood adds a HUGE responsibility layer to life, which can be so overwhelming for moms with ADHD … but it can also be a superpower!

SCHEDULES AND LISTS tend to be common traits that many moms with ADHD share. Here are some coping mechanisms from actual moms with ADHD. These have added tremendous value to their lives and may be helpful for you, too:

-I turn on music and keep moving while I clean and tidy up from room to room.

-Setting my car keys and purse in the SAME spot every time I walk in the door.

-Working out – staying active is a game changer for my focus and mood.

-Keeping a routine (which can be hard with kids!).

-My biggest strategy is delay. I let a totally urgent impulse (usually a purchase) wait for a few days, up to a few months.

-Medication is really helpful, but it doesn’t “solve” everything. I am currently working on talking too much and going on long-winded tangents by saying only a couple sentences at a time when responding to someone. 

-Social media limits have been wonderful for me to set boundaries with myself- to get dopamine from somewhere other than my phone. 

-Shared calendar with my spouse ensures we are on the same page, so if something slips through the cracks with me, my spouse is on it. It also takes the pressure off of ONLY me. 

-Reminders app on my phone: anything from packing my kids’ swim bag to taking out the trash goes in there. 

-When I go in to work, I’m able to focus on work better. I have the opportunity to work from home but choose not to because I’m too easily distracted. 

-Weekly Planner: I don’t have a planner, but I print off a weekly planner sheet to plan the week. Write it in pencil- put it on a clipboard. 

-Instacart: I make my grocery list on Instacart and then go to the actual grocery store. The visual list makes it so much easier for me to shop in the store. 

-When I’m in a meeting or on a call, I have to have a little fidget in my pocket or under the desk- it helps me focus. 

-I need external rewards for folding laundry and household tasks. 

-The apps Headspace and Calm have guided meditation. I usually choose a really short one, and after a couple minutes, my brain in much calmer.

-I use an old-school pen/paper/sticky note/list approach. Writing things down helps me to remember them. 

-When my kids are loud or overstimulating, I take a time-out. I say, “I need time alone” and go to another room for a few minutes. Now they occasionally do this, too.

-Checklists: Lots of checklists. They help me so much and my kids have one for them now and it helps them, too!

-Finding a hobby I’m interested in – a creative outlet has been really helpful.

-Waking up before my kids. It allows me to get organized for the day and set my mind right.

-Socks & Slippers: I’m overstimulated by any crumbs on my feet, so I have to constantly wear socks or slippers on my hardwood and tile floors. 

-Breakfast: I make the same thing for breakfast everyday to avoid decision fatigue – the less choices I have to make, the better. 

a chalk drawing of a head with arrows pointing every which direction around it. The word ADHD is written below.

 

ADHD as a SUPERPOWER

Amid the noise, there are some really awesome qualities that come from having ADHD as a woman and a mom. Here are some strengths from actual moms with ADHD:

  • I can get hyper-focused with my kids with their Legos or a scavenger hunt. 
  • I go to put one thing away, and I’ve organized the whole closet!
  • I can go to the grocery store and know what we have from memory.
  • Solve problems creatively. 
  • I’m really good at 90% done. 
  • I look at problems differently than my colleagues. 
  • Makes it easy to jump from task to task.
  • My oldest was just diagnosed with ADHD- so I knew exactly what to look for an advocate for. 
  • Prioritizing what really is important.
  • Wild hair moments- we can just get in the car and go. We just figure it out as we go. 
  • I have energy to do things with my kids- especially something I’m passionate about. 

 

So, now what?

If you think you have ADHD, talk with your doctor! Just because you may get diagnosed doesn’t mean you have to take any medication. For me, having a diagnosis is more about peace of mind, being able to allow myself grace in certain areas, and to not feel guilty.

When researching ADHD, there were a lot of articles about relationship problems with significant others who did not have ADHD.  My husband was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, so he understands the symptoms and even how it feels. I’m sure it would be much harder if my partner didn’t understand how my brain worked- so definitely worth a conversation with the people close to you. 

I feel for the overwhelmed mom. The world demands so much from you. Medication, meditation, and coping tools are not the silver bullet. YOU ARE powerful and capable. The tools are just that. Tools. Experiment with them and find the mix that adds tremendous value to your life. 

I hope that my story can help someone who may feel overwhelmed a lot. Or like there is noise in your head all day. Or like you can’t keep up. Or you walk into a room and can’t remember why. Or you were late paying that bill again. Or you forgot that birthday party. Or you dread doing the dishes every time.

Same, momma. Same.

Xo,
Katy 

Follow Katy on instagram: @strong.as.a.mother.stl

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Katy Ferguson
Katy is on a mission to squash every fitness and nutrition myth out there! As a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, she believes in the power of fueling your body to thrive in the busyness of motherhood. Katy is a St. Louis native and a former Kindergarten teacher. Her love of fitness and nutrition runs deep – she has been in the fitness industry as an athlete for 10+ years and has owned a women’s only fitness business since 2018. As a busy mom of two littles (ages 4 & 6), she understands the struggle to find balance in life: workouts, nutrition, motherhood, relationships, social connections, and inner peace. “Let’s face it, results come from actions, not intentions. And I LOVE helping women find balance in this.” REAL change with nutrition and fitness happens when you ditch the all-or-nothing mindset. A great week for her would include: an early morning workout, a steaming hot shower, dark chocolate sea salt caramels, kisses & snuggles from her littles, a good burger, being outside, doing aerial silks, day dates with her husband, lifting weights, hiking, lazy evenings in front of the TV.

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