ADD stay-at-home Dad, and non-ADHD, professionally successful spouse

I am a 42 year old man with ADHD who is married to his polar opposite- a brilliant, multi-tasking goddess, who can use a defibrillator on a patient in cardiac arrest with one hand, do an emergency traych with the other hand, and bark out orders to the rest of the ER as they receive trauma patients from a seven car pile up in the middle of winter, all while calling me at home to remind me to send in the mortgage payment, and to remind our four children that she loves them, and not to forget to do their homework.

The problem? I have suffered from ADHD symptoms my whole life, which have only grown more challenging since I quit work to stay at home, when she pointed out to me that she made way more than I did, and our children would benefit more from having a full-time parent. I struggle to keep everything/anything "ER perfect", while raising our three year old daughter, and my sisters 4 year old(she used the military to pay for medical school, and was then shipped to the front lines in Iraq after she graduated-at 51!), and our 9 and 13 year old daughters(the oldest of which has me constantly running her to cheer practice, voice lessons etc...). The demands seem to pile up, pulling my attention in every direction at once-making it that much tougher to keep up on all the laundry, as well as other housework-this in turn upsets my wife, who can't understand what is so hard about running a household. I am let filled with shame and self-loathing, because if I were a "real man", I would be able to support a family in the traditional way, or, failing that, could at least get everything done, when it needs to be done while remembering to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.

I have recently switched from dexadrine er, to adderall, xanax, and paxil(3 for the "price" of one), and it IS helping, but after some of the things I have read, I can only wonder for how long?

More than anything, I want to be a good husband and father. I am sick of feeling so unworthy of my wife and family, and my frustration often leads to depression, irritability, and insecurity.

Is there a way I can juggle the meds in a more beneficial way, so as to avoid the undesirable side affects, yet still retain their efficacy? Or even a blood test that would tell me whether or not I am deficient in something, and how to correct what ever the heck seems to be wrong with me?

logicalfather's picture


I would worry less about getting the right combination of meds and more about getting a routine to get everything done. I've got a 12 year old and a 14 year old daughter, plus a 10 year old boy, a 6 year old and two 5 year olds. I work a full time, high stress job, and then I'm basically a single parent after work because of my wife's work hours (and I've got the "ADHD" characteristics). However, our house is always clean with supper cooked by the time she gets home, because my two daughters and 10 year old boy are required to help. Even if you do stay at home, don't put all the cleaning on your shoulders, evaluate your daughters schedules and make sure they are on a daily routine of helping. That might mean they don't get to be in all of the things they want to be in, but in the long run, them learning how to contribute to a family will be a more valuable lesson that the "extra stuff." 

Don't fall into the trap of thinking just because you stay home it's all on your shoulders. Step up as the leader of your household and place great meaning on doing the hard work of teaching your children how to work, so that they can one day grow up into good spouses. Staying at home with a 3 and 4 year old is a full time job. So you do need help from your two oldest in getting all the chores done. Your wife doesn't run that ER by herself, she relies on good people helping! Your not going to be able to run that house by yourself! 

Get your bills on autopay, set up a laundry/dish chart for your kids and take pride that your a man who's going to lead his household despite not having a traditional job. Don't allow yourself to be bogged down by the feelings of shame and self-loathing, take those thoughts captive and start envisioning what you want out of life, and how you can get there, while being the strong leader of your household! If you get your family on a routine and helping, then your only a couple of years away from your two youngest being in school full time, at that time, you'll probably be able to get back to work with a new sense of confidence, and then you'll be leading your family by training your kids and making money. 

You've got it in you, you just have to take charge, despite whatever situation you are in! It all starts with your mindset! 

Strategies that work.

Your response was so lovely and positive, my husband would love to hear that all said to him by a person who could really relate to him. How did you get to a place where you took responsibility and felt you could do things? 


For my stay at home husband it took a lot of work and my complete attention and support to get a plan down for my husband to use to keep him on track. Now he has a weekly plan with household chores, childcare and personal activities scheduled. He has been trained to followed his plan and he gets nearly 100% of it completed each week with little to no prompting from me. He is also in charge of creating the plan now (after much time of doing it together to talk out efficiency standards and time management). We have built in my expectations as well as his limits around multitasking and moving fast. 


With this being said I do not respect my husband because he simply can follow a schedule, after all I followed a schedule I created staring around eight years of age. I appreciate his efforts, and praise him for his gains. I still want more though-I want someone who can participate in a way that takes my burden away-financially moving out from the whole we created after my husband has been fired from countless jobs. I want him to think of me every once in a while and do something for me, just me. I use to do things just for him but after years and years feeling like his slave I have little to give him. I understand he will never produce like I will but he has to bring something I value to our relationship. Following a schedule I forced him to do or providing childcare to kids when I would rather he work has not been of value to me, I just make it work. 

Sometimes I wonder how we got married in the first place. I feel really negative. It has been years and with each turn I have tried to be positive, make the vest out of things etcetera and I have hit a wall.