Career Complications for my ADHD Spouse - What's the best way to support him?

My husband has been struggling with a career since I have known him. He has returned to school several times, explored dozen's of ideas, and is currently in school for a career option which we both believe will be a good fit. The trouble is, my husband struggles so much with school he doubts he will be able to finish. He is approaching his 40th birthday this fall and has yet to have a "real job" (i.e. career). I am so worried about him as he struggles with depression. He is absolutely brilliant but is unable to focus well enough to complete his assignments on time despite medication. I believe his difficulty with school is exacerbated by his depression. I have suggested in the past that he consider being a stay-at-home dad for our three children (7,4, and newborn) as I do have a decent job. After reading several posts, however, I understand the difficulty this presents both in regards to cultural expectations for men as well as the personal difficulties of organizing and running a household - no small feat! I noticed a lot of members have good jobs - this is not the case for my husband, Surly we can't be the only couple struggling with this. 

I am desperate to adequately support my husband in being able to feel ok with his life, to find joy and contentment in it. I know this is not something that I can do for him, however I want to be helpful (not nagging!) in what ever way I can. At the same time, I am frustrated and financially strained which he feels awful about. Any advice would be much appreciated - or even just an acknowledgement that we are not alone in this struggle. My heart breaks for my husband. Help?

How long will it be until he completes school?

Firstly, you sound like a tremendously supportive wife and he is fortunate to have that support as I can't imagine many things more frustrating that a mate who can't/won't hold a steady job.  That security especially with a family is hard to live without and I applaud you keeping his joy and contentment in the equation.

If he can hang into till the end of this schooling, how long would that be?  Could you afford a professional coach to help him through just till the end of that period?  I have mentioned this before but when my husband was between coaches for about 6 months (due to insurance issues), we really realized that he does not function ideally without having a person OUTSIDE the family to talk to about his successes and failings.  Our temporary solution was that we paid for phone service coaching.  It was about $75 for a month, and he could call in on any of 4-5 days for one hour with different coaches.  My husband found 2 he was comfortable with that worked with our schedule and called in.  If I recall correctly it was a group coaching session over the phone.......with something like a limit of 4 ppl on the call so everyone got time devoted to them. 

I was afraid that wouldn't be enough time for him, but he said he learned a ton from other ppl's experiences and the advice they got too since he had a lot of the same issues.  He was especially impressed with the advice for college students who he was frequently on calls with, which surprised me because he was probably 38 at the time and long through with college--though it did take him 3 tries so he really identified with their struggle.......and honestly at the end of the day organizing yourself for one thing can work for very many other things.

Anyway that worked well for us.  Just because he is struggling with school doesn't mean he'll struggle with a career in that field, but I know on your end it is scary and you need him to be doing more than exploring every option out there.  We haven't had that experience although I can say that my husband has had his dream job.......I think he complained about it as much as he does about his current job, which is higher paying, requires fewer hours, and permits both of us to devote most of our time to our avocation which is volunteer work.   Some ppl with ADD/ADHD seem to feel that having a job they will love is paramount......I've read that other places too.  All I can say is it isn't the case in our life, as he likes and dislikes this job exactly as much as his dream job and while he doesn't love the work itself per se (he still does some of what he loves on the side to keep his hand in) but he also doesn't hate it & he loves the life that he is able to have and the other things we can do because of it.

I think the important thing is that the finds something that he loves about his work (even if it is the things he can provide for his family) so that he will stick with it through the down times.  I feel like a lot of the changing jobs around with ADD is not understanding that it is called work for a reason, and they pay you to do it for a reason, and you are going to hate it at times.  When the ADD person starts hating it, they move on to something else.......but they will just hate that sometimes too.

Stay at home dad can be an option, but the problem that I see is that he will get overwhelmed and you will come in from work, and he'll have done nothing sometimes, and then you have to do it and start to resent that he is staying home in his jammies playing computer games while you are out supporting the family.  Only you know how likely that scenario can be in your marriage, but you would definitely need to stop it before it goes there.

Coaching and commitment

Thank You! He has never used a coach though we talked briefly about it in the past, I really appreciate the idea. As far as school goes, he has about 1 year left if he passes his classes. Could be longer depending. He has a contract job associated with his degree that he really likes and will be working part-time there. I am hoping this encourages him to stay the course. It is true, I think he often gets frustrated when work becomes work and then looks for a change, forgetting that it is "work" for a reason! I will suggest that he look into a coach - i think it could be a great investment. I have found that he is more open to suggestions and conversations about sensitive issues via email - this has taken me a while to recognize and learn to be ok with. It gives him more time to formulate his thoughts and and then avoid being defensive. Perhaps I'll send him some links, even if he does spend all day on the computer perhaps it will have a productive outcome. Thanks again so much, any other ideas/thoughts are much appreciated. 

Yep

My husband add often says he should just quit  work and stay home with kids. (lol). Like staying home with kids is easier? If u can't handle schefules, you so can't handle the minute by minute schedule changes of little kids. The ability to stay one step ahead of them all day will drive him nuts. I leave for a couple of hours to get groceries and the house looks a wreck. Kids all hoped up on sugar. THAT'S WHAT THEY WANTED? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?  He can't impose rules because he hates rules. And yet he goes to wire and leads a billion dollar compan's sales and marketing force. But kids perplex him? ?