I love my kids, but some days I don’t like being tethered to them.
A huge part of my struggle in early motherhood was my ADHD, but I had no idea - even with a childhood diagnosis. I had five pregnancies over three years, and two resulted in my two living children.
Those years of wild hormonal shifts made it even harder to control my attention, energy, emotions, and anxiety.
I thought I would be better at this.
I spent my life caring for other people’s little, I ached for babies, so how could it be so HARD?! In reality, parenthood is hard for most people.
Nobody is a perfect parent, and that is a stinger that's never done with its work.
It didn’t occur to me, though, how my ADHD would shapeshift throughout motherhood. I wasn’t prepared for the sensory overstimulation of two kids 16 months apart. Nobody told me that taking the kids to the library for 30 minutes could WIPE me out for the rest of the day.
The more I was striving to measure up to my fantasy of being a good mom, the more I saw my limitations of being a mother with ADHD. It was painful. As my kids got out of the baby stage things improved, but the road was isolating and bumpy.
I now see my own childhood differently. I strongly suspect my mother had a brain like mine.
As my kids grow more independent and play together more, my overwhelmed brain has more room to center.
I did not realize I could prioritize that for myself while they were babies, but I needed to so badly. I needed other parents to remember the intensity of the little years with compassion and empathy rather than a trite, "it will be over before you know it - savor it."
It is okay if you are not savoring every moment. It is okay for you to take time for yourself. Your basic needs must be met, too.
I found my way of doing things to make life run more smoothly (spoiler alert: a lot of that work had to do with communication and therapy, not just tips and tricks and systems). I reconnected with myself to find the things that bring me joy in this season.
It is an ongoing practice to take care of yourself while caring for others, but it can be done.
Our days aren’t perfect, but they’re more good than awful. Understanding your story, healing wounds, and reconnecting with yourself can bring more enjoyment and order. You only need to start with one step.
What tiny step can you take this week to take care of yourself?
If you'd like to connect with other overwhelmed mothers, send me an email to get more info on The Park in The ADHD Enclave.