Warning: this post contains explicit and snarky language. If that’s not your jam, turn back now.
The life of an adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can sometimes be a struggle. We can find ourselves overwhelmed by the constant demands of our day-to-day lives.
Here’s a day in the life of an ADHD mom.
Most days, with ADHD medication and CBT techniques, I’m a highly functional and productive mom, and I get things done with very little or no anxiety at all. Today was not one of those days. It was a bad ADHD day where I couldn’t get my shit together — ALL DAY.
The frustration of managing ADHD symptoms with a tantrum-throwing 3-year-old and an eye-rolling tween daughter while ensuring I’m dividing my attention between the kids, my partner, and the dogs. Priceless.
7:30 A.M.: Aw crap, am I awake now? Can I just stay in my cozy bed for ten more minutes?
7:45 A.M.: I give myself a pep talk. I’ve got so many ideas for how fantastic the day could be! I’m going to do this, that, that, and more!!! I’m going to do it all TODAY! I’ve totally got this! I jot down a quick TO-DO List before I forget my goals for the day.
8:00 A.M.: Quickly check the weather to plan your day based on your toddler’s (VERY IMPORTANT) needs for activities. Make a quick checklist about your goals for the day before anyone knows you’re awake and you forget.
8:15 A.M.: Second, get dressed for the day. What was the weather forecast today? Just put yoga pants on. Where the eff do I keep my pants in this disorganized dresser!?! Third, take the toddler downstairs and hope to brush your teeth and hair soon.
8:30 A.M.: Make the toddler happy first with his many, many early morning requests. Ok, you want dinosaur oatmeal. Okay, you want play-doh out? I’m still making your oatmeal. Okay, you want Blippi on TV….still cooling the oatmeal you requested and then said was too hot.
9:00 A.M.: Remember to fill up everyone’s reusable water bottles; make sure everyone drinks enough water today!
9: 30 A.M.: Be sure to feed the dogs. Did the kids have fruit with breakfast? What kind of fruits do we have? Are they fresh? Do I need to throw them out? Do I need to buy more?
10:00 A.M.: Send the kids to play outside so I can start my daily morning chores. Me to my toddler: “Let’s get your shoes on so you can play outside?”
Okay, you’re making this way more complicated than this should be. Seriously!?! You could’ve been outside already! STOP WIGGLING and get your freaking shoes on!
10:15 A.M.: Oh, thank goodness, a moment of peace. I think I’ll catch up on my favorite show while I tackle folding this mountain of laundry.
10:30 A.M.: My 3-year-old: “MOM!” In my head: It’s okay; there’s no crying, no one’s hurt. It can wait a few minutes. I’m THIS close to finishing folding this laundry.
10: 35 A.M.: My 3-year-old again: “MOMMA!” “My truck BROKE!” Cue tiny frantic footsteps were running towards me. “My truck broke! My truck broke! My truck broke!”
Me: “It’s okay. Bring me your truck so I can fix it.” He brings it to me, and I do. He happily takes it back outside to continue playing.
11:00 A.M.: I will take a quick bathroom break while the kids are still outside playing. Then I’ll start working on making lunch.
11:02 A.M.: My toddler, waddling awkwardly into the bathroom, “MOM! I POOPED!”
Me: “Can I just go to the bathroom alone? Goddamnit.” Oh, did I say that out loud? Yep, I sure did. Great, now my toddler is running around loudly professing, “I “naking’ around GODDAMIT!” I look down, and the little shit doesn’t have any pants on. There goes my mother of the year award. At least he’s using it in the correct context. Remember to start saying “Gosh darn it” instead.
11:30 A.M.: I’ve got the toddler’s explosive poopy butt cleaned up, re-dressed him in clean clothes, and his shoes are back on to resume playing outside while I make the turkey and cheese sandwich (or whatever else) he’s requested explicitly for lunch today.
11:45 A.M.: Lunch is ready. I really hope the kids eat what I’ve made for them. I really need the toddler to nap today. Momma needs some quiet time.
Me: “It’s lunchtime. Come eat!”
My toddler: Screaming “NOOOOOO!” while running away, “10 more minutes!”
Me: “Ok, ten more minutes, and then it’s lunchtime. I’m setting a timer!”
12:00 P.M.: I announce the 10 minutes is up, and it’s time to come inside and eat. Upon seeing the turkey and cheese sandwich, my 3-year-old starts screaming, “NO! I don’t WANT THIS!” I’m so glad my toddler thinks I’ve ruined his whole life by making him the meal he requested 30 minutes ago.
Me: As calmly as possible, “This is what you asked for. Please just eat your food. You need to nap soon.” Sometimes I get lucky, and he’s persuaded to eat. Often he refuses, and I give in and make him something else; usually, it’s breakfast food for the second time today. Then I spend the next 30 minutes to an hour harassing my distracting child to keep eating his food every 5 minutes.
An ADHD Mom’s Afternoon
12:30 P.M.: I convince my toddler to go upstairs for “snuggles and storytime through impressive creative mom trickery.” Once upstairs, I spent 30 frustrating minutes fighting with him over what books to read, getting dressed for naptime, and what color sippy cup he wanted for his naptime milk. Finally, I get him tucked in and exit the room as quickly as possible before he can call me back for more ridiculous requests or “problems.”
1:00 P.M.: The toddler is down for a nap. I quickly cleaned up after lunch and finally finished the morning chores I started hours ago.
1:30 P.M.: Okay, the house is relatively clean and picked up; morning chores are done. What were my goals again for the day? I sit down at my desk to work on my blog and list my work goals to accomplish before my toddler wakes up.
3:30 P.M.: My 3-year-old is up from his nap. I get him changed, give him a snack, and get his shoes on to go back outside.
4:45 P.M.: My tween daughter comes home from school, immediately greeting me with huffing, puffing, and attitude. Great, it’s going to be one of THOSE evenings. Am I a terrible mom? How much of my child’s neverending dramatic story can I get away with listening to right now???
5:00 P.M: For a moment, the kids are entertained. I’m going to sit down and have a BREAK; I deserve it. I can straighten a few things on the way to sit. But now I realize how filthy this room is. While I’m in this room, I might as well pick up these clothes, wipe down these walls, clean the bathtub, and sort this closet. It’ll only take 30 minutes. I can sit afterward.
4:00 P.M.: Shit, I know I’ve forgotten something…In my head, “to relax, bitch. Do that with the same veracity you’re scrubbing the walls with.” I’m definitely going to take some “me time” once dinner’s over and the kids are in bed.
4:30 P.M.: Did I set anything out for dinner? Was I supposed to? Who’s in charge of cooking tonight? Did I eat? I think I did this morning…maybe. I might’ve had a snack this afternoon. Dinnertime? I’m not even hungry yet. I’ll be ravenous once the kids get to bed, and I can relax for a full 30 minutes (and it’s probably going to be bullshit leftover kid food from the fridge.)
An ADHD Mom’s Evening
5:00 P.M.: I throw together a quick dinner for the kids. Thank goodness we keep a frozen pizza in the fridge. I’m emotionally drained from managing other people and their BIG emotions today. While cooking dinner, I wonder, is everyone else having their “attention from me” emotional needs met? Did I hug them enough and tell them how proud of them I am? Have I been enough for them today? Am I enough in general?
5:30 P.M.: Dinner is ready. I set the table and called the kids to eat.
My kids: whining almost in unison, “I don’t want this!”
Me: Still trying to keep my cool, “Just eat what I made you!” I leave the room for a few minutes to squeeze in a few more household chores.
5:45 P.M.: I return to find that my daughter has reheated leftovers of her choice, and the toddler has abandoned his dinner and disappeared outside to play. After unsuccessfully pleading with my toddler to eat his dinner, he insists it’s “yucky” and requests something else. I cave and make him dinosaur oatmeal for the third time today.
6:00 P.M.: I spend the next 30 minutes to hour harassing my 3-year-old to eat the second meal I’ve made him for dinner.
6:45 P.M.: I’ve successfully fed both the kids dinner. I’ll spend the next 15 minutes attempting to trick my toddler into going upstairs for bathtime and bedtime.
7:00 P.M: I manged to either bribe the toddler into climbing the stairs, or he had to be carried, kicking and screaming the whole way. We get him bathed, dressed, and read stories, dealing with the nonsense of him fighting us every step of the way.
7:30 P.M.: The toddler is finally down for bedtime. Maybe I can finally sit for a moment. Just kidding! I return downstairs to a ransacked house that needs picking up, not to mention dishes that need loading, laundry still unfolded, plus vacuuming and cleaning up the kitchen and backyard.
Do my kids have clean clothes for tomorrow? Did they finish their homework? Their chores?
I love these kids, I know I birthed them, but they’re assholes. It must be genetic. Did I take time for self-care today? Did I attend to MY needs? Did I remember to shower? What can I do for myself before “adult bedtime”?
8:15 P.M.: I finally sit down on the sofa.
Me: “A straightjacket is just a hug you give yourself.” My partner gives me a perplexed look. “Fuck, was I thinking outside of my head again?”
Me: “Was that weird what I said just now? It was strange, right? Was it?”
Partner: As he laughs out loud, “A little bit, yeah; no more than usual.”
Me: “Fair enough. Yeah, I see that. I thought I was thinking INSIDE my head just now.” It’s really hard for me to tell sometimes, especially when the kids have gotten me all frazzled.
Partner: “Don’t worry, it was funny.” Yep, I won the partner lottery. He just gets me.
Finding Balance as a Mom with ADHD
Some days, being an ADHD mom is exhausting.
One of the biggest challenges of being a parent with ADHD is balancing your needs while also maintaining a normal life. Your own needs are a big part of this challenge. As a parent, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, as well as your child. You may also find it challenging to meet other people’s expectations, manage your time and balance your priorities.
An excellent place to start is with a schedule that works for you. You may need a very structured time management plan with appointments, meetings, and deadlines. Check out these other great resources from Drama Free Momma for staying on track.
It’s not easy and you’re not alone. There’s a lot of support out there for you and your family. If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that there is a growing movement of ADHD moms who are banding together to support each other as they navigate the challenges of raising kids. Keep scrolling for additional resources for understanding and managing adult ADHD.
Can you relate to the ADHD mom’s struggle? Let us know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! Be sure to follow @thedramafreemomma on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for more unique parenting insights, tips, and tricks, and don’t forget to subscribe for entertaining content every week, delivered straight to your inbox!
- 33 Helpful Resources for Anyone With Adult ADHD, Self.com
- ADHD Resource Guide, Healthline.com
- ADHD Resource Center, AACAP.org
- HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR ADULTS WITH ADHD, ADD.org
- Digital Shareables on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), National Institute of Mental Health
- Not Neurotypical: A Survival Kit for ADHD Moms, ADDitudeMag.com
- Free Parenting Guide for Moms & Dads with ADHD, AdditudeMag.com