Frustrated with poor time management

My husband was recently diagnosed with ADD.  He started on medication about 3 weeks ago.  We have both been doing quite a bit of reading and have recently been trying some tips provided in one of the books to keep him on task.  Last night he created a card catalog with chores and stuff that needs to be done around the house.  Today he had set three cards aside to complete.  Cat box, dog poop and sweep the kitchen.  He got up at 0700 this morning.  When I got home from work at 3pm he was just starting the floors.  He stated to me that he liked having the cards but he is still having trouble with time management.  The cat box and dog poop might take about 5 minutes each.  So where did the remaining 7 hours and 50 minutes go I ask?  Any tips on how he can manage his time during the day.  Oh, I forgot to mention he is unemployed at the time so he has all day to complete these tasks. 

patience and expectations

I have to chuckle a bit at your description of a days' "work."   I'm sorry--I'm laughing WITH you.  I've seen this pattern hundreds of times with my husband as well. 

First, I loudly applaud his willingness to be diagnosed and also treated and also taking initiative to try to create systems that help him.  Your guy is far, FAR ahead of mine and many others in this forum.  I sincerely hope you read some more in this forum if you haven't already.   I don't mean to say that reading other people's stories ought to make you feel lucky with what you have--be no means am I suggesting that!  I just mean in a way that may help your prospective of progress. 

If there is one thing I learned in the past year of my husband's unemployed period, it is patience and revised expectations.  Working to change patterns and creating good habits takes time.  Some days he will fail and some days he will be successful; just mind how you define success.  it is not likely he will ever do the same amount of chores in the same time as you.  For us it's like, so what? it's a stupid list.  In the eyes of an ADDer, a list of things to do is long, stressful and confusing.  If something doesn't quite get done, it would be so worth your while to recognize the things that do get done.  You might gently phrase a suggestion that the other things on the list will need doing tomorrow then. 

I want to say more, but I'm out of time.  I just wanted to encourage you to think differently about the results and to read, read, read everything you can get your hands on about ADHD and the people whom it affects.

Losing Patience

I have come to learn that when my wife tells me she will do something today or be home by a certain time, she means it when she says it, but odds are probably 95% it won't happen.  I'm still struggling with not getting angry/frustrated/disappointed when that happens. 

I'm not sure at this point if I am more angry/frustrated/disappointed that whatever she said she would do didn't get done, or if it is more due to the fact that she SAID it was going to be done and it wasn't.  I suspect it is the latter.

I know from this blog and other readings that someone with ADHD has poor time management for various reasons.  I believe that to be true, and I KNOW that to be true from experience.  The thing is, my wife also knows that to be true, so why does she keep telling me she will do something or be home by a certain time when she also knows it is likely NOT to happen. 

I have told her this disappoints me.  I have told her it makes me angry.  And she has witnessed my anger and disappointment.  Yet, she keeps doing it.

I have told her that every time she tells me she is going to do something, and then doesn't do it, it just serves as more evidence that I can't believe her when she tells me she is going to do something.  And that it makes me sad that I can't believe my wife when she tells me something.  And yet she keeps doing it.  And if I say something like "Honey, please don't tell me that when you know it's not going to happen," she gets mad that I don't believe what she says!

I have been told that maybe I should just accept that she is probably not going to do what she says she will.  But should I pretend I believe her when I don't?  Should I just dismiss what she says or pretend she didn't say it?  That doesn't feel right.

Some might say "She really does mean to do it when she says it.  Why isn't that enough?"  Well, it isn't.  When I drank too much and MEANT to drink less but didn't, was that OK because my INTENT was not to get drunk?  When I drank and drove even though I had told myself that I wasn't going to, was that OK, because I sincerely intended not to do it?  Of course not.  When the evidence showed me that no matter my intent, if I had one drink I was going to have too many drinks, I had to take responsibility for that and quit drinking.  Saying "I didn't MEAN to have so many drinks" was just an excuse.

I really want to lose weight.  I really intend to walk at least a half hour every day.  If I don't because "the day gets away from me" I am still the one who chose not to walk. 

When my wife tells me that she intends to do something and then doesn't, and then makes excuses instead of taking responsibility for it, I get angry and frustrated.  When she gets home later than she says she will, and says it was because the traffic was bad, when the traffic was no worse than it is any other day, but simply typical rush hour traffic, it seems to me she is blaming the traffic when in fact, she was late because she lost track or the time and didn't leave in time.  Why doesn't she say that?  Why doesn't she take responsibility for that?

Sometimes I just want to scream "STOP making excuses!  Just admit that you didn't leave in time!"  But I don't.  And swallowing this anger is not working for me.

You know, it occurs to me, I feel between a rock and a hard place so often.  My wife doesn't want me to make it "be all about her ADHD."  And yet, when she loses track of time, she excuses it because of her ADHD.  She can't have it both ways.

I know she lost track of the time because she has ADHD.  But she ALSO knows she has ADHD.  She KNOWS she looses track of the time.  But she does not ever say "I lost track of the time and didn't leave on time.  In know it makes you mad when I don't do what I said I will do.  I'm sorry."  I have told her how that infuriates me.  And she has said "You are right.  I should take responsibility for what I do instead of just making excuses."  But nothing has changed.

I have heard it suggested that maybe she doesn't take responsibility for that because she feels really bad for failing, and to admit that will make her feel even worse.  That she is already beating herself up for disappointing me.  And it is implied that knowing that, maybe I should give her a break.  Why do I need her to acknowledge it?

Well, she is an adult after all.  And why shouldn't she take responsibility for her choices and actions?  No, she didn't choose to have ADHD.  But she IS choosing not to put systems in place so she might be less likely to lose track of the time.  If I knew she was doing something, and still lost track of the time, that would be another story.  If she said "I tried using a reminder system, but I still lost track of the time"  then maybe we could try to think together of what else she might try that would work.  But that is just not happening.

The closest she has come to taking responsibility is "the day got away from me."  But even that does not contain the word "I" - it is as if she is blaming the day for going to fast!

And I should add that she is not newly diagnosed.  She has been on meds for several years now.  She has read several books.  We have been getting help from a counselor who has made several suggestions for systems she might try.  And still . . . here we are.

I just don't know what to do at this point not to get so angry.  I've gotten better at not yelling when I get angry.  And I am not angry so often.  But, I am angry still.

Sorry for such a long post, but we just had an incident of this sort two days ago and I am still feeling angry about it.  We haven't yet talked about it because I know if I talk about it while feeling angry, it is likely to turn into a fight.

A Note for Hoping4More

I just mistakenly pressed a key on my computer keyboard that could have led to the posting of half a thread. If so, please disregard that posting. Here is one that, I hope, makes a bit more sense.

I have read the other posts in response to yours, and what has struck me is the very unique and, yet, very shared experience we all find ourselves in when working out ways to live with (or, in some cases, to leave) the ADHD partner. To each, his own. However, one thing that I think needs to be underscored is your right to be angry. I mention this because we are often made to feel less-than-kind when expressing our anger and frustration with an ADHD partner. Listen, you have a perfect right to be angry. Your ADHD partner (like mine) is behaving in a way that crosses commonly accepted expectations of behavior. Can he/she help it? Well, no, your partner can't help having this disorder. However, as I tell my ADHD students who sometimes want me to cut them a break, "You aren't responsible for your disorder, but, then again, I'm not responsible for your disorder, either. ADHD isn't an excuse not to try to show up on time and to get things done. It also isn't a ticket to blame me when you fall short." It sounds that you have said--or are close to saying--the same thing to your partner. Once you do, I just encourage you to work out some "rules" of behavior. For instance, what will you do from here on out when she is late? Will you wait for just 20 minutes before leaving? etc. It's really, really important that you feel that you are coming to some agreements. If you can't do this on your own, consider seeing a therapist--on your own or together.

I, too, have fought this same

I, too, have fought this same battle for many, many years.  With the help of this website, the great advice Dr. Hallowell and Melissa give and the grace and patience GOD has granted me, I have chosen to loose this battle to regain my peace and sanity.  If you can't beat them, join them!!!!  I'm tired of doing almost everything myself, as the years are flying by I have come to realize that I can no longer keep up with doing almost everything myself, so now I just try to get what absolutely needs to get done and let everything else go.  I have learned to lower my expectations not only in regard to my husband but for myself, also, in self defense.  This battle I was fighting, mostly by myself, made me finally realize that my husband would say he was going to do this or that to get me to back off.  In looking back, this has been his way of life as long as I can remember.  Even to outsiders, as well.  He is aware of how he is, now that we know of the ADHD, but still continues to talk the talk but not walk the walk.  He acknowledges my frustrations but continues to move at a snail's pace.  Like so many others on here, I am too tired to even care anymore.  It hasn't gotten me anywhere, anyways!

I don't really have too  much

I don't really have too  much to offer other than to say that if my husband did (insert any chore/household job here) withing a week of when I asked, I would be happy. I take the stand too that 'if you can't beat them, join them'. I set this dynamic up long ago, we have a much more traditional marriage where he works and I take care of .. well, everything else. We share the running and responsibility of the kids, so it works for us...and I really don't have to deal with this situation.

Time management is another issue my husband has as well. It has gotten to the point where he'll say "I only have about 15 minutes more work to do...so in other words I'll be home in 2 hours" He does not use his time wisely at work, I suspect, so that is why he has to stay over at least an hour or so everyday...and he also has people calling him/interuptions during normal work hours which is very hard for an ADDer who already cannot focus, so working an hour or two over is probably very productive for him. I just expect him home when he gets home, period. If I thought he wasn't actually working, I would probably be upset...but I don't have any reason not to believe he is working.

Just keep trying to come up with ways that work for both of you. Lower your expectations a bit...accept that any effort is HUGE progress. If I were in the situation you describe, I would have probably come in and said "thank you SO much for doing that (the floors), honey...it really means a lot to me" and maybe ask about the cat boxes and dog poop and leave it at that. I don't mean to sound like I condone spouses not helping at all...I know that it is such a huge problem for so many here. I can only relate it to other aspects of my marriage where I REALLY stress any progress at all...and am very, very careful not to criticize other things.