Bad Mom? When Being A Parent Isn’t Enough

There are days when parenting gets the better of me.

 

Hell, if I’m being honest, it’s more like weeks, maybe even months, where being a parent takes every last bit of inner strength I have. I’m positive that there are days most parents have felt this way. Days when they feel like one more little thing, one more whine or “no” out of their sweet child’s lips they will absolutely lose it.

 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, that feeling like this for a day here and there, well, that’s normal. However, feeling like this more often then not, that seems excessive. I used to take pride in the parent I was, my skills, my way with my children, my ability to handle the things they threw my way. Now, I feel like a shell of my former SuperMom self—more like the villain battling SuperMom for control of the parenting realm. At this time, I am less then ideal.

 

How did I get to this point? When did this happen? Can it be fixed?

 

I am plagued with these questions hourly. The only answer that I can conclude is Man’s ADHD.

 

What comes along with this diagnosis, I truly wouldn’t wish on any parent. I am at a loss daily as to what to do for him, how to help him, how to help myself. ADHD turns my sweet, delicious, brilliant, happy Man into a ticking time bomb, and no one—I mean NO ONE—will swoop in at the very last second with the secret code to stop it from exploding. While Man was out of control out at dinner with friends this evening, I looked at my fellow mom friend, sobbing, and just said, “What do I do? I have absolutely no idea what to do with him anymore.” Her answer was perfect, “I don’t know,” she said supportively, “I think you’re doing everything you can.”

 

Yes, I am doing everything I can. Therapies, charts, doctors, reading and learning new information, working with his classroom teachers, providing him safe opportunities to play and learn—we do it all. But it comes at a high cost—the cost of my patience, my happiness, and my sanity.

 

I have a half of a blog post written busting the many myths about ADHD. However, I think there are only two real myths that require clarification. The first is the myth that ADHD is not real. Seriously people, it’s real; it’s very real, and it’s very difficult. I don’t really give that much of a crap if you think it’s real or not, but I need you to keep it to yourself. I don’t have the time to explain to you that my son’s actions are not due to my poor parenting skills and that no; he does not need a good dose of punishment to teach him.

 ADHD Wonka

The second myth is that ADHD is simply when a kid can’t sit still and pay attention. If you believe that, I’m happy for you, because you have not experienced what it really is, which is so much more.

 

For Man, ADHD means having no impulse control. Oh, that doesn’t sound so terrible, you might be thinking. Let me explain what having no impulse control means. It’s the inability to stop, think, and reason before performing an act. Any act. Especially the scary ones. So your child spots a random ball in the street; most often they stop and think: “Are there cars coming? Mom said not to run into the street. I will stay here and ask her to get it.” If they are old enough, they will stop, look both ways, and if the coast is clear, go and get the ball. A child with no impulse control would be out in the street getting that ball before I was even finished typing this sentence. Just this evening, I watched Man fill up his straw and spit it at his friend across the table. “All kids do stupid things like that,” you may be thinking, so what makes Man so different? The difference is that even after being reprimanded and punished and provided with an explanation as to why that was not proper behavior, he did it again no fewer then five minutes later. If we hadn’t upped and left the restaurant, he likely would have done it again, and again. No impulse control means NEVER EVER stopping to think prior to engaging in an action.

 

messyman

What? I wasn’t supposed to empty all of the toy bins at once?

ADHD also means having difficulty processing and controlling one’s emotions. Thus, once you have passed down the sentence, the punishment, the discipline that everyone thinks is so lacking in parents of children with ADHD, Man goes berserk. Again, you might be muttering, “My kid does that too!” Does your kid do that for 45 minutes at a time?

 

Let’s recap a small picture of what I have shared. A child with no impulse control, who does almost everything without thinking, then breaks down for an excessive amount of time over the punishment given. This happens all day, every day, from morning until night. I save him from himself, I attempt to teach him why he can’t do it again, I discipline the behavior, and then I stay calm as he has a tantrum for an excessive amount of time. I watch as my discipline fails. He will never be able to internalize, stop, and think, before doing the same action again and again. This is a small peek into my day with Man.

 

Did you know I have two children? I read recently that the siblings of ADHD kids are called “ghost children.” It is so true. At times, she is so invisible that when I realize she has been standing there, or that in leaving a destination because of Man’s behavior means she has to leave too even though she was perfectly happy and appropriate. I don’t have enough for my Man, which means that I have less than enough for my sweet Lady.

 

This has left me feeling like a less than perfect parent. How do I help him? How do I keep my cool? How do I give them both my all without emptying myself out? I have to be doing something wrong. It should be easier then this. I should be happier. I should feel better about myself at the end of each day.

 

fam adhd

Loving our Man.

13 thoughts on “Bad Mom? When Being A Parent Isn’t Enough

  1. You are not alone! I read this as if I had literally written it myself about my stepdaughter, Maya. I wish ADHD was a myth, every single day of my life. Unfortunately, it really it not, and I too was nonbeliever before Maya’s diagnosis. I cannot put into words how much you are doing for Man. Nobody can truly understand what it takes to be a parent of a child with ADHD. We are hitting a wall over here recently and it is really taking a toll on the family. I have constantly worried throughout my pregnancy and the last 8 months of my new daughter’s life that she too would pay for this diagnosis. She will never be a ghost child and neither should yours. FAMILIES are diagnosed with ADHD not just the children. Everyone involved needs respite. We don’t get ours and I see you don’t get yours either. I wish I could help you! 💚

  2. You ARE a good mom, or you wouldn’t be worried about it. I hope your load feels a little lighter by sharing it with us.

  3. I swear, you took the words right out of my mouth! Your son sounds just like my six year old with ADHD. I have a “normal” three year old too, so I know what you mean about the ghost child. You are a great mom and you need to give yourself more credit. I know it’s hard and you are always thinking of new ways to help your child, because that’s the kind of awesome mom you are, but you are right. There is only so much we can do. I write about my child with ADHD a lot at http://www.mylittlevillagers.com if you’d like to check it out.

  4. This is our daily life…sigh. You are a great mom and believe me, I know that feeling of what else can I do??? Hang in there. So glad I found your blog. It’s hard to explain our daily life to others who don’t have ADHD kids. It can be a little alienating to not have someone to share with.

  5. Our son is 4 and has not yet been diagnosed, but we fear what is coming. The constant poor decisions he makes (even though we all can see he is ‘smart’), the inability to control himself no matter how many times I say it, or no matter HOW I say it (even though instantaneously he is saddened by his own actions), the tantrums over seemingly nothing, the way he separates himself from a group during an activity (probably because he knows he can’t focus and do what the other kids are doing). I read your post and it is all too familiar. We have good days and bad days, and our bad days are e.x.a.c.t.l.y like you describe. My in-laws, and other moms, continue to comment about our parenting, and during a recent visit, “If you don’t take him down a notch, someone else will in life, like in high school, because no one will stand that.” I am terrified for him, and for all of us. Hugs to you, mama.

  6. Reading this was like taking the thoughts right out of my head. I totally understand ghost child and my oldest daughter is the victim. She is 11 years old and we recently had her treated for ADD. Which went undetected for the last couple of years due to being that ghost child. So my guilt is absolutely thru the roof. It happened as i was reading an article on ADHD and came across a women’s article explaing how girls are harder to diagnose because alot of girls dont have the hyperactivity. This was true in our case. The lightbulb went off as i continued to read and the tears and heartache for not seeing what was right in front of me. She is being treated and is doing better. But the guilt remains. Its a constant battle regardless, because I will always wonder if im doing enough for my babies. But knowing im not alone in this, brings a level of comfort that we are a sort of team, a dream team! Thank you for sharing. Keep your head up, your doing great!

  7. This made me cry, something I rarely do. I feel all of these things and more as a mother with my two amazing, creative, funny, and brilliant boys who also happen to have ADHD. We 3 have lots of struggles together and it’s a great day if we all get to school and work on time without a challenge. In this age of social media Perfect Parents are in your face as long as you allow them to be. Truth is, there are no perfect parents, there are no pefect children. Parents at school drop off used to tell me that I was an amazing mother, our struggles were evident, they still are. Yet, since my boys do not appear to have”grown out” of their ADHD, I don’t hear those supportive words so much; I don’t care. You are doing a great job and I’m guessing you have more strength than you know. Keep writing, I love your perspective.

  8. I also cried reading this posting. I have a Man and a ghost child. My Man also has learning differences including dyslexia, dysgraphia and executive function challenges. Every day is long and there is only so much energy I can find to handle the conflicts. Mostly I worry because I want my Man to feel good about himself but how can he when he is constantly redirected and the center of drama. And I want my ghost child to know she is worthy of all the attention in the world but yet she never seems to get any.

  9. I was a “ghost” child, the younger sister of an ADHD brother.
    I write this to tell you that I grew up much like your daughter but never did and do not resent my mom for her focus being so taken by my brother. I saw it, I knew how much effort he took to keep him on a path that would turn him into a successful member of society (And he is- he’s a logger which is in keeping with his temperament. Although, not going to lie, he’s had multiple injuries on the job- it’s probably not the safest career choice for someone with ADHD 😉). The lack of attention actually taught me the independence and resourcefulness that has served me so well in life. It’s definitely been an asset through multiple deployments as a military wife. The bottom line though, I knew I was loved and that she gave me everything she could. That’s what matters. I’m sure your daughter feels the same.

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