It is hard to imagine a more difficult and demanding job than that of being a mother. Combine that with having ADHD and the usual challenges are amplified even more.
The Struggles of Being an ADHD Mom
There are many aspects of ADHD that can cause problems for moms with the condition.
- Executive function – Motherhood requires all the executive functioning skills – planning, prioritizing, organizing and following through on tasks. The ADHD brain works against making that easy.
- Attention – Managing children, household and career simultaneously requires focus and attention that can be in short supply for a woman with ADHD.
- Estrogen – Fluctuations in estrogen levels both during and after pregnancy, and later in life can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.
- Low self-esteem – There can the negative self-talk and low esteem that often begins for women with ADHD during adolescence.
Lacking of understanding and support from family and friends can be a problem, too. Many people still don’t understand that ADHD can continue into adulthood.
Also, for women there is the added problem of under diagnosis. Girls, because they typically have the inattentive form of ADHD, are often not diagnosed with the condition, and thus mature into adulthood not knowing why they have to struggle so hard with the challenges of life.
The other complication for women who have not been diagnosed is that anxiety and depression can be comorbid conditions of ADHD. An undiagnosed ADHD mom may treat these thinking that is the entire problem. Treating these can make her feel better, but the other issues of executive function impairment and attention problems will remain.
Help for ADHD Moms
If you are a mom and believe you might have ADHD, there are several important steps you can take to improve your life.
- Seek help – There are numerous self-assessments you can take that point you to the need to see a trained clinician for evaluation and diagnosis.
- Get treatment – There are a wide range of treatment options including medication, therapy, coaching and support groups. Exercise and nutrition can also help with your symptoms. The key is to get started and get help.
- Communicate with those close to you – Talk to those closest to you about your ADHD and how it impacts you. It’s alright to be vulnerable and ask for their help. But you don’t need to apologize for your ADHD.
- Develop coping strategies – Everyone’s situation has unique elements. You need to find the strategies that will help you establish the quality of life you want deserve. Joining a support group for ADHD moms can help you connect with others who understand what you are going through.
Also, ADHD has positive aspects for moms. As Benjamin Cheyette, MD and Sarah Cheyette, MD remind us:
“ADHD helps make many moms fun, creative, inventive, and empathetic. It’s not all bad. In fact, a lot of it is really really great! But it can be a little extra challenging. So for all the ADHD moms out there, today we salute you!”
Indeed, here is a hug for all that you do in the face of incredible challenges!