8 Coping Strategies for Mums with ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disruptive condition. When not well managed, it can even be a disability. It can have numerous potentially devastating effects on the quality of life of the sufferer as well as their loved ones.
For a parent with ADHD,a combination of self-care and appropriate parenting strategies can make child-rearing a joyful and rewarding experience. For a mother, this balance is even more fragile because meeting the needs of the family can leave her with barely enough time to devote to herself.
The following strategies can prove useful for mothers juggling ADHD and parenting.
1. Put Systems in Place
One of the major things that sufferers of ADHD require is evolving organization systems. This system should cover filing of important documents like birth certificates, identification documents, cleaning lists, a working financial budget and meal plans. It also helps to always be prepared by having many extra copies of important documents, as well as passport photos as this will help save time when the need arises. The systems should be adapted as your needs change.
2. Learn to Delegate
Being a mom doesn’t mean having to be a super mom. Certainly not all of the time. Learning to delegate tasks even to your little ones can help teach them important family and personal values as well as reduce the number of tasks on your plate. You can for instance, teach children at an early age the importance of putting their things in one place. Teach them to pack their bag and arrange their clothes for the night before school or a day out.
3. Mood Management Strategies
One of the challenges adults with ADHD face are a see-saw of emotions. This can greatly affect the interactions with children, the spouse and other caregivers such as the help. Learning the things that affect your mood and developing strategies to cope, such as not arguing when angry, knowing which battles to pick, breathing to calm down, will help you manage your emotional energy as we well as reduce the friction between you and the people around you.
4. Learn the art of rational thinking
Learning to think rationally can not only help manage your mood, it can also help with problem-solving strategies. Identifying the problem and assessing the options and resources needed to solve the problem is an example of thinking rationally. Looking for evidence for and against what you feel can help with managing negative thoughts and improve your mood.
5. Learn to manage your expectations
Although not a symptom of ADHD, women with ADHD sometimes have high expectations of the people around them. Since it is very easy to lose patience with ADHD, a mother may forget that the child does not see things as an adult does. Assessing where your expectations are unrealistic can help with readjusting.
6. Enlist the support of your partner
Women with ADHD get easily overwhelmed. This is no exception to mothers. Without communicating clearly to your partner, you may find yourself not only overwhelmed but tired and resentful.State to your partner how you feel without being attacking and ask for some help. Be specific and use “I” statements. An example can be, “I feel really overwhelmed today. I can’t attend the PTA and make it for my medical appointment. I would like you to pick our son from school today”.
Clear communication can make the difference between shared partnership and an unsupported, tired and resentful mother.
7. Manage your Stress
For a mother with ADHD, high-stress levels increase anxiety, reduce patience and can increase the risk of depression. Managing stress involves knowing what is within as well as out of your control: plan, delegate, take deep breaths, and take walks. To cope with stress, eat a healthy diet that favours proteins and nutrient dense foods. These keep your blood sugar constant and protect your nerves.
8. Put Yourself First
The beautiful gift of motherhood expands our capacity to love and sacrifice in ways that we previously did not know. Sharing your time and energy with everyone around you can leave you with nothing for yourself. It is therefore, important as a mother with ADHD to learn to rest and make time for things that make you happy. Go for a massage, read a book, write a book. A healthier mother is a happier mother.
Related: 10 Techniques to Manage Anxiety with an Autistic Child