When ADHD is in the marital mix, it can be a real challenge to get household chores done without one or the other feeling exasperated, angry or shamed. Often, the non-ADHD partner feels resentment over doing more than his/her share or having to constantly remind the other to do what needs to be done.
The AD/HD partner might feel angry at always being told what to do and may feel unappreciated for the efforts being made, which sometimes feels like they aren’t “good enough” no matter how hard he/she tries.
Here are my top 10 tips for organizing your home when one (or both!) partner has ADHD:
- Call upon each person’s strengths. Choose the right chore! If one likes being outdoors doing physical things, assign lawn work to that person. If the other loves listening to music, give that person light housework where he/she can wear headphones while working.
- If boredom is a problem, rotate jobs so that there’s less chance of procrastinating or not finishing.
- Folks with ADHD typically do better when there are visual cues. Place a white board in a highly visible place, listing chores, who’s assigned to do them, and when they should be done. Leave room for a check mark, so there’s a feeling of accomplishment when the chore is completed.
- Reward yourselves. Make a weekly dinner or movie date if you’ve finished all the chores on your chart.
- Delegate! If you can afford to hire people to help you out, do it!
- Change your expectations. No one says there’s a law that beds must be made daily.
- Get the kids involved and make it a family affair. Give each family member a room or task to be in charge of. To prevent boredom, rotate chores.
- Communicate. If you feel unappreciated, angry or misunderstood, discuss your concerns before the resentment builds to unhealthy levels.
- Be playful. Write down the chores, toss them in a bowl and pick your chore for the day or week. Or draw straws. Think of creative ways to get things done.
- Find a way to use the time to be together. For instance, while one is paying bills, the other can be filing.
Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and consultant in Birmingham, Michigan, specializes in adult AD/HD and is the author of "Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD: Beyond Piles, Palms and Post-its.” She is the director of www.addconsults.com and myADDstore.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.