Anyone with a stay at home ADD Dad??? Please Help!!!

OK Been a long time stalker of this life saving forum. Such wonderful advice and support is shared. Reading through has talked me off the ledge many nights, but I will sadly say that I am in dire straits with my undiagnosed ADD husband. Although I have given him some self-awareness (along with numerous online tests which he will take and be categorized as "highly likely" for ADD....LOL) his refusal to go for help and possibly get on meds has hit a breaking point in our marriage. To give a quick background, DH has been a stay at home Dad for the past 3 years since being laid off from his job that he was at for over 13 years. He was not laid off due to any fault of his own, was never late or missed a day in 13 years - much like many ADDers. Hubby's issues are purely with his impulsivity, ability to focus/concentrate, and desire to constantly be "in motion" with activity. During our 10 year relationship we've always had things "happening" to create distractions for him - house projects, wedding plans, new baby, etc. but now that our 2 children are of school and pre-school ages, time is limited and their activities have now taken over. So what's the problem??? Chaos in my household at all times which is now spilling over his bad habits and traits of his condition over to my kids.  Now don't get me wrong, he does well with keeping them occupied all summer - off to the beach, park, pool etc., but summer is over and school has started with him having to be more on a schedule, organized and detailed. Unfortunately my job is very stressful and my time home with my children on a daily basis is very limited. I want my 2 hours a day with them to be pleasant and of quality time (i.e. reading a book together or doing a nighttime story, coloring etc.). Instead I am left with barking out orders to them to do the things that should have been done with their Father before I got home - dinner, homework, showers, clean up some toys, get in pajamas etc. I find myself constantly yelling and screaming at them due to my frustration over a filth ridden house, disorganization, and complete utter chaos. All of which I cannot control or have time for. I have repeatedly begged, pleaded and even structured tasks for him to do during my 10 hour daily absence only to be left repeatedly disappointed. From reading through some threads, I've tried many tactics used on ADDers - index cards with one task on it, calling to give a reminder etc. Nothing seems to help. Now of course he is a guy, so doing house chores really isn't his thing, and I am not expecting it to be, but the basics are lacking. Trash not being taken out and piled up in the kitchen, the vehicles all have overdue inspections, repairs, and are a complete disaster on the inside. When he uses my commuter car there will be coffee stains all over, garbage left, and smells like a gym locker room from his sweaty clothes left in the backseat. I literally cannot take it. This is also creating the norm for our children. Toys are all over the place, rotting food all over, and even worse, an inherited disrespect for other's property as well as your own space. I should also add that our 6yr old daughter is oppositional and gives us grief over everything, so I know that DH will shy away from dealing with her. But that just makes it worse. Our parenting styles are not on the same page with him using avoidance and willingness to give in for every whim just to avoid any conflict. I am left with a demanding uncooperative child who constantly wants to "do something" cause she's bored. Yes it is my belief that she too will have some form of ADD. School should assist with getting her some help, but I don't know if I can wait this long. Her pediatrician says as long as there is no problem in school, she probably doesn't have a medical condition. So does that mean it is being learned from her environment? I am completely fried from my job, taking care of all the mandatory and detailed tasks for our family, and compensating for DH inability to do anything without my involvement (and yes I really don't WANT to be involved with the areas he is accountable for).  So I turn to the #1 place for sanity and guidance as to what I can do with this situation. I should say that the most obvious would be for him to get a job and go back to work, but our youngest isn't in full day school just yet and we don't have any family support to assist with childcare. Hiring someone is also nearly impossible to find in our location, but to be honest, I don't believe DH would be able to sustain any type of structured job. His prior employer was a small family owned company that catered to him not doing anything "hard". Go figure. Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for letting me have an outlet and God bless. 

Unhappiness and Counseling from a MFT

It took a large shock of anger from my wife to get me to respond, but this might have been avoided by better communication.  When an ADD male spouse responds with 'sure', 'uh-ha' or 'yea yea'  this is a sure sign of not listening.  Conversations should include full eye contact and a 'yes' or 'no' answers from the add spouse.  Their attention and response help them to understand the ball in their court.  The husbands, who want a marriage, really want to make their wives happy, but don't see that their actions are destroying that.  In my case I was a huge hypocrite about "my word is my bond' attitude for everyone else, and me toward everyone, EXCEPT my wife!  I broke so many promises that it was a daily issue.  Your unhappiness needs to be communicated.  The type of 'unhappy' I'm talking about is not the "I'm unhappy with YOU because, x, y and z" (nagging type), but the one deep down that is painful to you, the "Me as an individual living being is suffering, unhappy."  Once done this is where hopefully a MFT can show a direction for healing and invoke a change or realization in the spouse.  We the add-spouses want our mates to be happy because we truly love them, but don't realize our broken promises, our lack of engagement and our lack of empathy is stepping on your happiness daily.  We don't get it, but hopefully with some guidance we can.

My life before diagnosis...

Hey ADD Dad... I'm an ADD Dad too, undiagnosed for 43 years and was in my 14 year of marriage. When you said "It took a large shock of anger from my wife to get me to respond, but this might have been avoided by better communication." wow... That was how it worked around here for years, partly because I'm not a "Mind Reader" and partly because I did not know how "Oblivious" I was to just about everything. The post diagnosis repairs continue 2 + years later, but things are better with knowledge gained, coping mechanisms slowly removed/changed and most importantly it takes time to prove the New behaviors are more than another ADD phase. We can eventually "Get it" and this website and all the great people here have helped me more than I can say.



Linsy's picture

feel for you

Hello, I was in exactly this position and I have parted from my husband for over a year now. The oppositional child went to normal behaviour within a couple of days, and is now a delight. My house is untidy but clean, and my life immeasurably improved by not having to deal with the dysfunction every day. I really really feel for you. I had to take beta blockers for panic attacks for six months before I could calm down from the stress. He is very angry but does mostly leave me alone and is fine with youngest, as you say when it is holiday time and nothing grown up needs to be done.

he is now living with his elderly mother and doing exactly what he likes. Life without him is so much cheaper that I have been able to cut my hours and work from home. I am calm, not in a permanent panic, so I get more done. Also, I rent out the odd room and the house is so peaceful now that this works.

Although we are told that we must work with these people, and not blame them, and blame ourselves - to be honest I was ready to be taken away and got him out of the house before I completely lost it. Felt ghastly for ages, (24 year marriage) have made it a condition of even seeing him regularly that he sorts himself out. He is living a total fantasy life now at his mother's expense, going to university in the evenings, not bothering to get a job and continuing to do weird things like park my car illegally and expect me to smile happily about it.

So, I am with you sister. completely understand.



UPDATE to original post. Fate

UPDATE to original post. Fate has kicked in. DH had informed me that he will be working a night job to assist with our household expenses etc. This has been the case for the past month. I just learned 3 days ago that this was not true. He made up the story to get time away from the kids and nurture a new relationship with a women who he is suspected to be residing with. I am crying as I read your comment. After this enormous betrayal from him, your insight has just shown me that the result would have been the same - I simply could not live with him under these conditions. Thank you for your support.

I am so sorry to hear

I am so sorry to hear this...I cannot imagine. ((HUGS)) We are here if you need us.

Wow...'re hubby and mine must be long lost brothers. It does get better though if you are willing to work at it! Many times I have been to the moon with his ADD, lying, cheating and talking to the other women. Heck my husband has a child that is 45 days older than our oldest son.

I gave him an ultimatum with the last time honestly being the last time for me. I told him that if he did not change and his cheating/talking to other women did not end, it would be over for him and our children.

So far so good. It's been over a year when before it was every 3 or so months that I was finding stuff dealing with other women. To be honest, a small part of me thinks that he will be stupid enough to do it again. However, I am okay with knowing that I did everything I could to save my marriage and look past his issues.

Linsy -  THis sounds like it

Linsy - 

THis sounds like it was a positive change for you.

I  have a feeling that this is what would happen in my house as well. 

Can you share more - what drove you finally to the point of getting him out? And how did you get him out? What was the process? 

Stay at home ADD dad

ARGH!  I am right there with you!  Due to my hubby being, not entirely, but largely, unemployable, we decided to make "lemonade" from lemons and he is now the stay at home dad for our 3 kids, 11, 10, and 3.   We're also homeschooling because god knows we can't afford private school and public school wasn't working for our children.  I think he must be drinking all the sugar from the lemonade because this still feels like lemons to me, only now I have even less money than before.

It's so hard!  I work all day, and then in addition to that, I have to manage everything else!  The house is almost always a mess.  We're not talking clean the toilet or dust or anything "crazy" like that, I'd just like there not to be toys and junk and dishes all over the floors / countertops.  I organize all the doctor appointments (there are alot).  I pay all the bills.  I coordinate the reviews with the school.  I schedule all the homeschool extracurricular activities.  I fill out all forms.  I review and select the curriculum.  I keep track of all the books they check out of the library and make sure they get returned on time.  I do the taxes.  I do the banking.  I "help" (largely do for him) create the weekly lesson plans. (If I don't insist on "helping", he simply won't bother to have lesson plans.)  I buy stickers and remind him he has to check the kid's lessons.  I tell the kids to bathe.  I tell them to brush their teeth.  I tell them to get their pajamas.  I make them wash dishes and pick up their stuff.  I check and help with their schoolwork.  I schedule all our family activities.  I buy all gifts.  I do all the deeper cleaning (you know, crazy stuff like cleaning the toilet or wiping the thick layer of dust off the dresser.) I make sure the cars get their oil changed and their brakes done and pester my spouse until he cuts the grass.  I cut the kids hair or send them to the barber and make sure they go.  I reorganize and clean up all the messes he makes.  I pick up the sharp stuff he leaves around where my 4 year old can reach it over and over.  

Because my husband appears literally incapable of keeping his hands off the internet, I also have to set up the computers so they will not GO to the internet during the daytime except for special homeschooling websites.  Whenever the kids need to access a new site for school, I have to go into their computer and set it up.  Seriously if I don't do this, he will sit on his butt ALL DAY LONG SURFING THE NET AND NOT TEACHING OR TAKING CARE OF THESE KIDS.

ARGH!  I am so sick of it!  


Linsy's picture

amazed he teaches the kids

My HB just fought with them, trying to force them to do things he couldn't be bothered to do himself and then raging at them when they wouldn't. All this happening while I was working like you, cleaning like you etc.

He was meant to be in charge of  our musically gifted middle child's musical education, but then I would find he had not even paid the music teacher....


Advice for ADD partners reading this thread.

Pretty recently I was diagnosed with ADD, I have been on a course of cognitive behavioral counseling and (within the last few months) have also started taking Ritalin. I am a part time stay at home Dad (I have a job where I work sporadically but make good money when I do work - and , yes I do work)

I really do not intend to undermine the author of the first comment in the thread's feelings, I think your former partner's attitude stinks and he clearly had an issue with making an effort in life not just ADD. However I am concerned that somebody's going to read the thread (which appears on the first page of a Google search for ADD Dad) who has ADD and think that they are now doomed to a life of impulsiveness, bad career history, an appalling family life not to mention sexual immorality and eventually hurting the people that they most love.

If that person reading is you, please do not give up, do not be scared to ask for help. You don't have to take Ritalin, but you do need to do something, you will not get a second chance at life.

Again, not wishing to seem like I'm laying any blame (in this case I think it seems that the husband gave up first by his infidelity), but BOTH people in the relationship need to address the issues of communication together, be that family counseling or whatever. My wife and I are getting used to acknowledging our different ways of communicating. She has got used to looking at my face when speaking to me and asking (in a non judgmental way) if I am listening. I have got used to my daily announcement of 'The Drugs are wearing off, I can't focus so well, I need help please'.

Its a very difficult situation, I am angry that until now I lost years bumming around , took lower grades or jobs through my inability to focus my life. There still is no magic wand, I still have bad days, but I ask my self always if I am trying my best at my family relationships, my career and my life. The ADD partners reading this should also do this and their partners should try and help whilst accepting them for who they are.

Once again I have strayed from using expletives for describing the miscreant described in this thread who I feel did a little more than 'not trying' (that being an understatement). 

You make it seem all so simple...

Wow, this thread is old but I will update you on the almost 3 years since I posted my advice to the original poster.

In my case, things have not changed and did not get better. They only appeared to be better, as he got better with lying and hiding his dishonest intentions and ways. I attribute it to the type of ADHD my husband has and the lack of WANTING to change-which many ADD/ADHD folks lack the desire to do.

I think ADD and ADHD has levels of functionality much like that of Autism. Therefore, you have higher functioning ADD/ADHD folks who can (for the most part) control their behaviors through simple diet/exercise/medicinal changes...and then you have those more lower functioning folks who find even basic getting out of bed and not killing someone throughout the day as a miracle. Unfortunately, my husband is in the latter category and I suspect many of the folks who post here have lower functioning spouses/family members.

Not one all fits treatment works and simply saying it's both people's issues in the relationship is WRONG. I have done everything under the sun to help my husband and our marriage. However, he will NEVER stop being inappropriate with other women, he will never be the calm and loving father my children need and he will never be a man I can trust physically, verbally, emotionally, spiritually....nada! He is not my best friend or even a person I would consider a friend, which makes him not much more than a roommate.

I wish for even a moment of clarity for my husband, which some folks have when all of their changes just seem to fall into place. But in my case, it hasn't and in fact it has gotten worse in our situation, as now he makes more $ than me and feels that he no longer NEEDS me and loves to remind me daily. For me, I am a woman that has stood by her man (whatever that means) and for me it has caused a lot of heartache, headache, loneliness and depression. He has pushed me past the point of caring with his infidelity, lying, spending and constantly blaming me for all his problems(common) or expecting me to fix everything.

For those who are ADD and ADHD I do not envy you for one moment, nor would I want to be in your head (or shoes). However, in my experience being the partner of a severely ADHD person is worse. It's as though you are drowning everyday and you have your children on your back, trying to save them and then your spouse cannonballs right on top of you, oblivious to the fact that you're all drowning. There is no where to go but down and you have to be the strongest person in the world to not succumb to that pressure. That's what it feels like everyday to a non-ADD/ADHD spouse drowning with everything on your back, looking for you to save them...


I have not let his behavior destroy me. Upset me and get me down, sure...destroy, never!

Jesus and my faith is the center of my life. The reason I've chosen to stay is my own and not one I will share with the world.

My rebuttal was not for us non-add/adhd spouses to seem as though we haven't tried everything and worked our fingers to the bone in every way to assist and do for our loved ones what they could not. I think a marriage should be a combining of talents and picking each other up in areas where you are lacking. This is so very different, difficult and in my opinion, near impossible in marriages with ADD/ADHD....def not to be trivialized as those men are just selfish (which is a key factor in ADHD) and we are not trying hard enough!


I apologize if I offended you...I married my wife almost 6 years ago, I was a widower from a previous marriage of 30 year. She had never been married. My first marriage for the most part worked like you stated "a combining of talents and picking each other up in areas we are lacking"...But, after 4.5 yr's of fighting, 11 months of separation, (we have been back together for 3 months) and 10 months of counseling...I have peace now. My wife and I are living together (by Grace) in an understanding manner...The reason for that is, "Jesus" and I have come to realize our marriage may not look like the status quo, but it can be filled w/ love and peace...but it will not ever be what I thought, and you long as add/adhd behaviors exist. So i am thankful for my wife, I love her very much, but, she has add, and that will always play a role in her life and mine, unless God takes it way. So after praying 11 months for God to allow me to see myself, and to take my bitterness away. I now refuse to walk the trail of blame, warring myself out trying to be responsible for two adults, wanting to fix her and show her how it should be, she just wasn't capable of living up to my standards. These standards are the same one's ( non/adders call it normal or common sense) I'm reading in these blogs from other non/add/adhd spouses who like me just wasn't getting it...I wanted Grace, but because of add...I was (blindly writing a law for her) I will never try to be responsible for her actions again. Nor will I mother her again or take add behaviors personal again. I will quietly walk away from irresponsible or ugly words or actions...Usually when I do she has no one to blame and eventually finds me to repent...There are reason's why my marriage could end, but, by God's grace I will never walk away from my marriage because I'm mad, bitter or do not love my wife nor will it be because I couldn't convince her she wasn't capable of being a kind loving wife that had to fit my expectations. Being married to a person w/chronic add/adhd takes understanding and Grace. I've asked myself many times-----how would you conduct yourself if your wife didn't exist in your life...How would you serve others, cook, clean, approach responsibility, family etc..and I try to live my life just that way.

Omg, the drowning and

Omg, the drowning and cannonball analogy was spot on for me. Reading it brought up some pain. 

Me, too.  In my version,

Me, too.  In my version, we're on a boat and I'm frantically bailing water while my husband is blithely poking more holes in the boat's bottom.

ADD Husband

Hi Khatndi,

Although I do not have an ADD stay at home husband I am one.  Your issues seem to mirror ours although I feel my ability to keep the house clean, and my kids relatively on time for the over abundance of activities my wife has them enrolled in to be pretty darn good.  Perhaps I can enlighten from your husband's perspective: you see the house as chaotic and disorderly, he sees it as clean and orderly with a lot of work that may be unappreciated.  My wife complains about having to work full time and "Do my job" but when I do my job in a way that is not exactly as she would do it she takes over.  This has been happening since we had our first of three 8 years ago and honestly after our first I have just relegated to her whims and feel I am just trying my best to do what she would do if she could be at home.  As a fairly progressive male I feel I do not possess many of the stigmas associated with staying at home but ironically my wife offers frequent reminders how she makes the money to provide a great lifestyle which she does but shyly I admit my family pays for private school for all three, gives her a 13,000 yearly trust disbursement in addition to mine and contributes 5,000 a year to each of their college funds.  Granted I was lucky to be born into such fortune but she makes me feel guilty for that instead of celebrating it for allowing one of us to stay at home.  I would happily work but my B.S. in Ergonomics does not pay as well as her DDs in pediatric dentistry.  Sorry I began this to offer you help and realized it was selfishly a tirade, my apologies.  My advice: we as men, are often misinterpreted by you women.  We are more sensitive than you think and respond to things beyond sex, tech and Home Depot, we need just a small reminder we are important in your lives.  I know that what makes me most sad in my now failing marriage is that I feel my wife has no interest in spending time with me without the kids.  I have asked for a date so many times I have given up.  So I guarantee you if you ask your husband out for a night it would do wonders.  If you do, please let me know how it goes so I know if I am on track here.  Good Luck!

I don't think your situation reflects the frustrated .....

....situations that other wives are experiencing with ADHD SAHDs.



  I would happily work but my B.S. in Ergonomics does not pay as well as her DDs in pediatric dentistry.



In your case, you say that you would happily work (assuming full time) in your area of study.   That is not the case with many that post frustrations with their "at home" husband.  Those husbands aren't really doing the "stay at home parent" job, they are just "at home" doing whatever they want because they don't have the discipline to work full time.   These are husbands that spend a ridiculous number of hours playing video games or similar.  Many don't even cook (or cook on a reliable basis), do the laundry, or other typical domestic jobs (at least on a reliable basis).


And, further, many of these SAHD's are not only "playing around" all day, many are spending money on ridiculous things, and cheating on their wives.   


lol....that said.......  I still haven't met the SAHD that sends the Christmas cards or does the gift shopping for the immediate and extended family.




shyly I admit my family pays for private school for all three, gives her a 13,000 yearly trust disbursement in addition to mine and contributes 5,000 a year to each of their college funds.  Granted I was lucky to be born into such fortune but she makes me feel guilty for that instead of celebrating it for allowing one of us to stay at home



Let's do some math (with your help with real numbers).


$20k? (or more??) Private school for 3 kids

$15k for college fund

$13k wife distribution trust

$13k (or more??) husband distribution trust



The above represents about $60k in AFTER TAX income.    This is the equivalent to you earning about $90k per year.   I think the wives who are complaining here would be rejoicing if that kind of money was coming in via their "at home" husband.


The wives who are complaining that their "at home H's" aren't doing enough would NOT be doing so if their H's were contributing like that.   These women feel that they're doing it all....sole breadwinner, home chores, child responsibilities, etc....while their H's are like an extra child.  


I would not tolerate a SAHD who behaved like some of the H's described here.   My H's silver lining has always been his high salary.   Without that, he'd have been out on his fanny during year one.  I know that sounds heartless, but how could I tolerate his craziness PLUS being a financial drain?  I can only stomach some of this because of his high 6 figure income, which allows me to hire outside help when needed.


You do make a good point that some women just don't like it when their H's don't do things the "exact" same way that they would do.   However, even that point can need some further exploration.


My H would be one who would say that I don't like the way he did many "home chores" or "child care responsibilities".  Well, that's because NO SANE person would like the way he (used) to do these things (quick and easy and half-assed....or just plain WRONG).   


When our toddler threw a sippy cup with apple juice against the wall, how do you think my H decided to clean it up???   Wipe it with a paper towel?  No.   Spray it with cleaner and wipe it??  No.    No, he didn't use any sane method to try to clean it up.  He didn't use any of the cleaners and towels that were within an arms reach (under the sink or on the kitchen counter).    Instead, he went to our bathroom, grabbed my blow dryer and BLOW DRIED the apple juice onto the wall....leaving a DARK BROWN STAIN.   


That, in a nutshell, described my H's "problem solving skills" when it came to housework or childcare.   I won't even go into detail about how when he'd dress our little ones, he would put BOTH OF THEIR LEGS into one pants/shorts opening....and not notice!!!!!!!!!!!!!    He wouldn't even notice when they couldn't walk when that was done!!!!!!!


So....yes, sometimes we wives don't like the way our H's do things because those ways are insane.  They aren't just a difference in personal preferences.   The severe ADHD dad won't pay attention to what he's doing because he just wants to quickly get it done and get back to a favorite past-time (TV, or whatever).

This is Funny OverWW:)

(lol....that said.......  I still haven't met the SAHD that sends the Christmas cards or does the gift shopping for the immediate and extended family.)

I've had two wives...One for 30 years...this one for almost 7 years....If I really wanted to Piss either off...Just try and take over the Christmas Shopping;)...The card sending not so much..Ha Ha.....

So you keep the house clean

So you keep the house clean and drive your kids to activities (when they're not in school), with your life paid for by your wife and parents?  Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Building on a faulty foundation....

I here you dauler...We men desire to be loved, respected and desired by our wives...We do have feelings and emotions...There is one problem I see in so many marriages that makes this very hard in my experience and opinion...We do not build our marriages on sound principles...We build them for convenience and comfort...We let the bank account numbers, education levels, and Job titles dictate...Rather than assuming the roles with in the home our creator meant for us to assume....I'm not judging the way you and your wife have your home and lives set-up...But, let me ask you one question....Do you think if you switched places...And your wife tended the children, cooked, cleaned and did house work while you worked outside the home...When you came home and asked her if she would like to get a sitter, and spend some quality time out...(a date) Do you think she would see things differently?



I know this is SUCH an old thread. But my goodness the relevance in my life is exactly so timely!!! I have been putting up with an unidentifiable MONSTER, not only in my marriage, but my entire freaking whole life!!!!!! Just as the OP mentioned, this realisation, these threads these anonymous comments has finally talked me off the ledge! The ADHD monster is thoroughly still causing havoc, but finally there is a massive big spotlight on the elephant in the room.

One major element that needs to be added in the comments so far though, is that there are different types of ADHD (predominately hyperactive/impulsive or inattentive or combination). So one husband may not necessarily be hyperactive, scattered, half completing jobs but can be the inattentive, unable to plan, disorganised type which is much more subtle in a way. For six years I have been looking inwards for a solution for all the chaos and havoc that results from having to pick up the slack! I always thought it was me! I was so depressed. My Dr suspected I had depression because I just wasn't sure why I was not managing family life like other families seem to be, I was so tired ALL the time! I thought it was just an iron deficiency. I always felt I couldn't manage all the daily tasks. 

Than after a heated dispute I googled "why is my husband socially dumb" and Lo and behold it took me here.... 

Question to the OP, if you still check here, did your "demanding uncooperative child" whom you suspected might have ADHD, get diagnosed with it?