None of us get to choose the family we’re born into. Well, maybe Shirley MacLaine does, I don’t know. As for the rest of us, however, I believe we just make the best of things and deal with the clans we’re thrown into, no matter how dysfunctional. Take my kids, for example. Their lives appear as most average American kids’ childhoods, only perhaps with a tad more live entertainment at home and a greater likelihood of professional counseling in the future.
Having a mom with ADHD seems something that children would likely opt out of if given the choice before birth. Infants come into the world expecting the adults in charge to have it together to some degree. Even animals have this down and do what nature intended they do as parents. Dens and nests are kept tidy, meals remembered and prepared, and teachable hunting moments get worked into the daily schedule. Mama bear doesn’t leave a cub playing in the river because she gets distracted by a butterfly flitting past her nose and follows it for a mile out of curiosity, before realizing she’s near the den of a friend and wonders if that friend has time for coffee and trout. For the record, I only forgot one child, one time.
My ADHD symptoms at times work to the advantage of the children, the memory impairment in particular. It’s enough of a challenge to keep the names of four children and five pets straight. Remembering who I gave permission to for something, or if I gave it at all, is always a fun game at my house. Because my kids know I have the memory of a head of cabbage, they like to mess with me and really make me think I’m losing it by insisting I agreed to something I clearly have no recollection of. My identical twins switched high chairs on me when they were babies. They’ll all feel bad when it turns out that I have early onset Alzheimer’s and they’ve actually accelerated the rate of my brain deterioration.
Being on time for appointments and events does matter in the real world. Someone should do a study to determine how much time the average adult with ADD spends searching for car keys. It’s probably right up there with sleeping and eating. The kids know to tell me I have to be somewhere a good fifteen minutes earlier than actuality because I’ll be busy for at least that long before I leave home yelling at everyone to help me find my keys. I suppose I can’t blame my chronic lateness only on my wandering keys. No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to get out of the house when I need to be somewhere on time. My children should all consider themselves fortunate to have been born in hospitals instead of cars.
Organization can be vital to parenting multiple monsters and maintaining a smooth-running household, even essential to us ADDers. Filing systems, drawers, computers, and planners only work if put to use, or so I’ve been told. For some reason, important papers, like permission slips and teacher conference notifications, become mobile once they leave backpacks and enter the abyss that is my home. I try to keep up with these things, I really do. Like socks in a dryer, they just disappear, as if eaten by an invisible monster. Perhaps they’re following around my keys.
In spite of my ADHD issues, I do try to be the best mother I can be. Overall, my kids are fed (when I remember to take something out for dinner), clothed (when I remember the laundry), intelligent (totally from me), and well loved critters. Did I just call them “critters?” Speaking of critters, did anyone feed the dogs today? What about the cats? Cats are cute. I remember this cat we had years ago…