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Monday, March 16, 2015

12 Tips for Moms With A.D.D. (Part 1)

I'm not going to address the fact that there are those who deny the existence of a psychological condition called 'Attention Deficit' (I left off 'Disorder' on purpose).  If you need evidence just videotape my life for a while and then make your decision!

Regardless of where you stand, I have become quite familiar with this territory and figure it might be helpful for others to glean from my experience.  Here are 12 tips for Moms with A.D.D.  If you need help understanding your child with A.D.D. I'd be happy to answer your questions from my own experience and memory of being a child with A.D.D.  Yes, putting two-and-two together - that means you don't grow out of it or recover - it is a lifelong personality style.  Everyone has some hiccups in their personality - things that don't fit with the majority culture - nuances that might make life difficult for us or others.  A.D.D. just happens to be one of those types of things.  Learning our struggles and addressing them can be helpful to cope with various challenges.  I'm always learning, failing, and re-learning and re-failing - and I'm okay with that.  Hope you are too.

1.  Teach Your Kids to be REALLY Responsible

I am so thankful that my kids are familiar and comfortable with me enough to remind me: "Hey Mom, it's cold today, don't I need a coat?!"  (No, I'm not embarrassed to admit this to the general public.  I am just so completely devoid of a detailed mind that these things fall by the wayside).  Another way to help yourself is to be open with your older kids (like, age 7 on up) about your struggles and invite their input, such as:  "We are getting out the door so late so often.  I have such a hard time getting your lunches and backpacks and papers signed etc.  I know you're not to blame for us being late.  Can you help me think of ways to be on time more?"  We were late so much to school and I asked my kids to help me.  And they did.

If your kid has A.D.D. too, then your challenges are greater.  But not impossible to address!

2.  Become a Commune-ist not an Individual-ist

I had to learn this the hard way.  I thought, "This kid fits best with this schooling option, this one with that one..." etc.  I wanted what would suit each kid the best.  Then I had four kids going to four different schools.  What a logistical nightmare and headache for me!  Don't do it!!!  Especially if you have A.D.D!!  What a way to stress yourself out!  I ended up losing my temper more - with everyone in sight (apologies to all those who had to deal with this).  I woke up one day and pondered my understanding of Communism.  Now, as a political structure - not so great.  But as a family ideal - now this was something to consider!!!  No more: "We will choose what's best for each particular child."  Oh Noooooooooooooo.  Now it was, "What's best for the family will have to be best for you.  You'll have to figure out how to deal with it."  I decided we would shift our family-style to commune based rather than individual based.  It has changed our family and we love it.  So glad to be done with the 4 kids in 4 schools episode of my life (just takes me a while to learn these things - I have a steep learning curve).  If you figured that out early - good for you.  I'm a slow learner.

3.  Toss Out Perfectionism

I don't really see myself as a perfectionist - maybe that's because so little of my life is perfect.  But it is troubling when I set out to clean a room and spend all day on one corner.  That corner becomes my perfection.  It is shiny, clean, tidy, organized and perfect.  Unlike me.  It gives me joy to waste an entire day on a corner of a room.  It just doesn't help anyone else.  It wastes time.  The laundry may be pushed back a day, supper is nowhere to be found.  But my shiny corner awaits!  I need to not do this to my family.  I need to call it what it is: a warped need for perfection somewhere in my life.  At these times I need to acknowledge my desire, re-group and toss perfectionism out the window.

It may not be as easily done as it is said, but these are just reminders - there are many ways to address perfectionism.  This is just a tip to make you think about possibly considering how perfectionism may be stealing your joy and that of your family.

4.  Learn Your Limits

I have extremely limited energy resources.  And Mental resources.  And time resources.  In general, I am a low energy person.  I cannot take on everything there is to do.  I see how much stuff goes on in every community I'm in and it exhausts me just to think about it!  I know my purpose in this season of life is really to give myself to my home and family.  There are wonderful blessings to serving others too - at Church, school, in the community and beyond.  But I try to assess my involvement in these things in the context of my primary purpose in my home.  Call me traditional or whatever, I just realize that I can't do everything, I'm not a superwoman and I admire those who do/can.

Once I learned that I did have limits I felt freer, more at peace, more in control of my life.  I had less panic and anxiety and gave less thought to what others think of me.  (There was very little of that to begin with!)  I recommend learning your limits - see where such growth will take you!


Click Here for Part 2:  Tips 5-8


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