I’m not a mom. I choose not to be and one of the many reasons for that is because I think that I’m impatient with kids. Truth is, that’s in my head. I’m really nice and don’t lose my cool out loud, I just think it, and appreciate when people refer to their kids as “less than perfect”, shall I say. I never want to be that parent that drags their kid around and get short with them, yelling out of frustration, getting angry over things that aren’t worth getting angry over. As it is, I sometimes do that with my dog and I feel terrible about it – especially because she can’t speak English and when she verbalizes, I guess.
(An aside: She’s really smart. She DOES answer me if I ask her multiple-choice questions such as “Do you need to go to the bathroom? Is it dinner time? Is it bedtime?” The way she answers is by cocking her head when she hears the right word.)
Turns out, one symptom of ADD is a short fuse.
I babysat a lot as a teenager. One summer, I helped the next door neighbours at their cottage on the weekends. It was a great gig until the boy was being bratty, I snapped and called him a “moron” and understandably wasn’t asked back. (I don’t remember past that, but clearly, they drove me home.)
That’s the only time I didn’t keep my cool when babysitting. When my young (under 10) nephews test my patience I’m as nice as can be because I imagine them in therapy years from now dealing with their aunt issues, whether said concern is warranted or not. I ask them to “please” stop and tell them how they’re making me feel. I relate it to them. I was a very sensitive child (an empath, while I’m using labels) and I still remember how horrible it felt when adults were impatient or short with me. I don’t want to make a child feel that way.
I’ve been thinking about parenting with ADD – because you know, Mother’s Day is this weekend and I wanted to share timely content.
Here are some tips for you, from this former babysitter, aunt, and non-parent.
1. Carve out some “me” time
…especially at the start of the day.
Wake up earlier than you think you need to, even by 15 minutes, and do a meaningful ritual. Examples of activities to choose from: Journal. Meditate. Do yoga.
I discourage ADD-ers from having too many morning routines, so pick. My guess is that journaling could be the most useful, as you can write your to-dos, your concerns, your feelings and more. You can bitch about your kids. Dump your brain onto the page.
My mom, who ran a business when I was growing up, used to get up early and do Jane Fonda videos.
Keep a notebook or multiple notebooks with to-do lists. Online, I like Evernote. It allows you to organize your notes into notebooks and your notebooks into notebook “stacks”, so you could have one stack called “family” and create notebooks such as “schedule”, “activities” and “to-dos” (with reminders). You can create one notebook per child if that helps. You can have a notebook that contains meal plans, one for errands. etc. You can also share notes with your partner.
3. Keep a family calendar
Google Calendar, or iCal if you’re Apple users.
I see this one in families all the time.
Use the multiple calendar feature, assigning calendars to “chores”, “extra-curricular activities”, “social” or anything else that makes sense to you and your situation. Colour code them. Some of us LOVE colour-coding.Share them with your partner and your children if they’re old enough (keeping track of your teenager’s plans). Print copies and stick one to the fridge door.
Share them with your partner and your children if they’re old enough. Encourage your older children to enter their own plans. Print colour copies and stick one to the fridge door.
4. Don’t multitask
That seems difficult for parents but if you can, hold off the child that’s interrupting you.
This is the picture I’d use to depict this, but I won’t pay for stock photos.
5. Date Night
If you’re in a relationship, make date nights a priority. You should do this anyway. If you like going out for dinner, hire a babysitter for the evening. If you want a quiet evening in, send your children for a sleepover. Have child-free time to reconnect with your partner.
Please don’t try to be Super Mom (or dad) and go easy on yourself when you mess up. You will mess up. You will feel shitty. Your child(ren) will be fine. You won’t forget the big stuff and if you briefly do, you’ll be reminded. (“Mooom, I’m hungry!” “Mooom, I have no clean socks!”)