Being a young mom in a very ADD household

Just wanted to introduce myself.  I am feeling so frustrated and overwhelmed . . . and dare I admit it, depressed sometimes.  I am grateful I found this forum.  Reading it is very validating.

My husband has ADD, diagnosed when he was a teen.  He is an amazing person.  He never did very well in school because he was bored and unmotivated.  He is very intelligent, though never tested.  He dropped out after his first year of highschool, then after taking a year he went back and was able to work hard and finish up high school to graduate "on time."  He is a very ambitious and driven person, and I have watched his ADD frustrate him but he has overcome so much.  For a while we both thought that ADD was something that wouldn't really affect him much in his life.  We didn't take into account it afecting our family life at all.  How very naive of us . . .

I have all of the symptoms of ADD-- definitely, very much so-- but am not diagnosed.  I actually think I probably have Asperger's, because I also have many of the Aspie symtpoms, and Asperger's is supposed to be inclusive of all ADD symptoms, at least that is my understanding from my research-- like, you can't have both.  My mom and older brother are the picture perfect definition of Asperger's, and another brother has full-blown autism, too.  My dad, I'm pretty sure has ADD.  None of these people are diagnosed-- not even the obviously autistic brother-- because my mom and dad eschew "labels" and think that ADD or Asperger's would be shameful.  I myself find no shame in such things whatsoever.  What I see is a family of geniuses (my dad's IQ is 180, my mom untested but super-smart herself) who have none of them been successful in life.  I don't define success as have money or prestife, but just simply as being able to have the kind of life you had hoped for-- a happy family, meaningful work, some degree of financial security-- my parents do not have this, my older brother does not have this, my yopunger brother is unlikely to achieve this.   I myself am still struggling to be successful.  So I will take my labels, thank you very much, if they help me guide my children into a better future.  That is what I am striving for and why I am here.

My oldest son has Asperger's, definitely.  Our family doctor, although not able to make an offical diagnosis, agrees with me, and I am going to take both my sons to be evaluated in a local early childhood intervention program.  We have three kids, ages 5, 2.5, and an infant.  The infant is teething, the 5-year-old is the Aspie, the 2-year-old appears to have ADD although it's too early to tell yet.  He is extremely intense to raise.  I am exhausted.  Oh, I am homeschooling the boys, too.  I am letting myself have a bit of "summer break" right now so I can focus in the new baby, but we will start again in the fall.  My oldest son is learning to read.  :)

My ambitious husband is going to school while working at his job that he loves.  He finally found a job that is perfectly suited to him-- doesn't require much organization, he is on the phone with various clients who mostly call him, and it is very competitive.  He really excels at his job which I am grateful for.  He is also taking college classes half time, for his accounting degree.  I get to be a SAHM, for now.  Because he really struggles with time management, he has been here very little to help me out.  So I am often "stuck at home" with the kids all day.  Sure, I could go out with them, but it is HARD and stressful to do by myself and I did lose the two-year-old one time, which was traumatic for me.  Oh, and money is tight, and this is mainly because our finances are so completely jumbled.  So disorganized.  It is really embarassing.  He mostly takes care of this, which frustrates me, because I think I could be more organized about it than he is (but could I really?  I don't know . . . lol.) besides, I refuse to take over completely because I do SO much around here already.  It is kind of depressing.  I clean up after everyone, which is saying a LOT.  sure, I don't keep it perfect, but I do my best and iot's not too bad.  The little boys are so incredibly messy it is depressing.  I stay up late with my baby and wake up early with the little boys.  Sleep is always an issue.  I am burnt out.

Life is hard.  OUR marriage has been hard.  DH and I love each other very much, and we are such good friends.  But I can see in so many ways how ADD and/or Asperger's or whatever has shaped our family and made our lives harder.  For instance, we have made major life decisions impulsively.  Got married impulsively, which wasn't a mistake at all.  But the timing of having our children was impulsive, and that has been . . . a challenge.  Probably a mistake.  We had our first son immediately and then each subsequent child is two years apart.  We've learned a lot.  We are not going to have any more children.  I am scared of making another impulsive decision and having more, but I just won't do it.  I have to remember that I absolutely can't handle it.  The doctors won't let us get fixed yet, because we are "too young" (26.)

Well, I'm not sure where I am going with this.  I guess I just feel like I made a mistake, which is depressing.  I thought I would be a better mom than this.  I wanted to be more patient, more organized, more tuned-in, more available.  My own childhood was horrible; I vowed to make my kids lives different.  Well, it is better, definitely, but not as good as I had hoped for, yet.  There are days my kids just never get dressed (I need to dress them but I just don't.)  I yell at the kids sometimes, which makes me so sad.  :(  My baby is NOT on a schedule, lol.  I feel jealous of cute, organized moms who seem to have their lives together.

That said, I am trying not to wallow in self-pity.  I am on a supplement program which I often  forget to take, but when I remember, it helps a lot.  I made a big effort to reach out to other women at my church, even though it's embarassing.  Another nice mom is coming over this Friday to help me declutter and organize my house some, God bless her.   I just need to get the apartment cleaned up by then.  I am trying.

It would mean a lot to me to get some advice or even just support here.  Thank you for reading all of this!

Young Mom

A little support for you here (I hope).  I don't have too much to say about the Asperger's or ADHD, but I do have plenty to say about being a SAHM.  I too have three young children - ages 5,3 and 9 months (all girls).  While I do not have Asperger's or ADHD (my husband is ADHD), I can tell you that I am disorganized, impatient and unavailable at some point in time on any given day.  

I used to be the most organized person in the world . . . until I had children!  My baby is not on a schedule either - and that is due to the fact that I have to take the older girls places and can't stop what they're doing because of nap time or other baby reasons.  There are days that my girls don't get dressed either -- they don't want to.  And that's okay.  

Kids are messy!  I'm trying to teach my girls to pick up after themselves.  That's one heck of a chore - teaching kids to pick up.  I've learned to let some of it go (have had to - picking up is not one of my husbands strong points either).  I've learned to just know that my house will always have clutter in it.  And I'm trying to be okay with that.  

As for those cute little organized moms who look like they're all together . . . I bet that they work very hard at home to look so organized in public (I used to try to do that -- don't do it anymore!).  I bet that if you were to enter some of their homes, they wouldn't be as organized as they look on the outside.  

I empathize with you about taking three small ones out by yourself!  That's no easy task!  None of my kids have been diagnosed with anything (though I have strong suspicions that my 3 year old will be diagnosed ADHD in the future) and it's still hard!  

Sorry I have no words of wisdom for you - but know that you aren't alone.  You sound like a terrific mom.  Hang in there.  Hugs to you!

Devoted's picture

thank you!

It is hard, isn't it?  I keep thinking I can see the light just around the corner, though . . . I know it will keep getting easier as the kids get older.  I think the hardest part is the sleep thing right now.  Oh, and how we seem to keep coming back to our issues with budgeting . . . we need to get a handle on that one . . . Hey, thank you for your post!  I really appreciate it.  Being a mom of little ones can be so daunting.

Devoted's picture

KJH wrote:

"I'm pleased that you are following through with a developmental assessment for your child. There are developmental components to take into consideration that could explain many behaviors and the interactional style. If you are a bit depressed yourself and feel you may have ADHD you may also be focused on behaviors that stress you. A caution not to have a "sickness" perspective is also important. Perhaps if you evaluate and treat your symptoms the parenting piece will feel less burdonsome. However, 3 young children and stress are normal companions. If you haven't already explored it there is distractability, irritability and poor focus with depression and several other disorders. I hope you have a good evaluation and follow those recommendations."

Devoted's picture

re: aspergers

Thank you for your response, kjh.  I am pretty sure that my child has Asperger's or PDD-NOS (same difference, really) and I am pretty good with this kind of stuff.  Amateur neurology is becoming a bit of a hobby for me, and I am thinking of going into that when I get back to college (soon!  Yay!)  To have him go through the whole developmental diagnosis is more to 1.) get him the therapy that might be helpful to him and 2.) have validation from others who need to hear the "official" diagnosis (no small thing!)  I have been personally reseacrhing and evaluating him for Asperger's (or autism, or SID, etc) for two and half years so I am not new to all of this, just a little sleep deprived at the moment.  Lol. 

Oh, what I love about this program that my sons will be going through is, they have a social worker who does a home visit, a neuropsychologist, a neurologist, a pediatrician specializing in developmental disorders . . . so they have the whole team meet with the child individually, then meet as a team to discuss the diagnosis, so nothing is missed.  I thought of just taking him to a neurologist but the issue with that is that developmental disorders are often missed in gifted children (twice exceptional children) and vice versa.  So this assessment should be much more thorough.

As for me, I am pretty sure that I have Asperger's because autism spectrum disorders run in the family, so that increases the odds that I would have that, and also it makes sense over the course of my whole life.  Every piece fits.  I have thought of going to a neurologist myself, however I don't know that it would really be helpful for me.  I don't know, I can always change my mind.  I am concerned about how I will do when I go back to college very soon, but not sure that a diagnosis form a neurologist could really do a lot for me as far as being helpful.  I know with a diagnosis you can get some special considerations at college, but that's not really what I'm looking for.  I don't know, I'm still thinking about it.

I don't think I am focusing on Asperger's or ADD as a sickness.  I love and embrace my quirky family.  These sorts of things often run in the same genetic lines as giftedness so I can't really see it as a bad thing, just a really challenging thing.  DH and I were just talking last night about how much we love each other's ADDness-- we just need to learn to harness it, as it were.  Lol.  We need to learn to work with it better, and I want my children to learn to have appropriate life skills that DH and I learned too late.  It just makes a big difference when you know what you are dealing with.

Hope that makes sense!