I am a husband who lives with ADHD and I have only recently been diagnosed. I have been reading through this forum to help find some direction and strategies to help my wife.
I am the guy who throws meat wrappers in the sink, forgets ice cream on the counter, forgets to shut the gate, forgets he said he would cook dinner etc... I do all of these things and you know what, because I love my wife and I value the work she does already around the house I hate that I do it. I am all for venting frustration, but the feeling I get from a lot of these posts is that there is no accounting for husbands that genuinely care and are trying with all their might to help.
One of the reason's my wife married me is because I made her feel taken care of. When I fail in that it is an emotional disaster, and I am unwilling to accept the concept of "managing expectations" as opposed to "solutions". It is hard, very, very hard to try and remember all of the small scale things that go into managing a house but I know I have to. I know in my heart of hearts that my wife does not always feel taken care of. But with my ADHD I am able to work harder, and longer than anyone else she has ever known. I can work through exhaustion etc... I can focus my way into finishing. As a matter of necessity it falls on me to cook all the meals, go to work 50 hours a week, do the finances, fix the vehicles, fix the furniture, fix the house, and train the dog. I do all this, I do it as best I can and fail occasionally but I never miss work, I never miss rent, and I always make sure we have food. But I also get hours, and hours of discussion on how I threw something away in the wrong spot, how I forgot to put my razor away, or how I used too many coffee cups. For me to try and remember to do all of my base tasks, and remember all those little things is an immense challenge, like asking someone with dyslexia to read an engineering manual. They can do it, but it is incredibly tasking.
So that leads to my frustration from the other side of the coin. When is it enough? When has a husband with ADHD applauded for all the things he is doing and how much work it takes him? I am always exhausted, on my days off if she is ill I work for her, but on that same day I will get derided for not leaving enough coffee or misplacing the remote. It feels like the things that I do, that if I stop doing the whole system will crash, are overlooked for coffee cups. It builds an enemy thinking, she is not my enemy and I would do anything for her. I wish there was a place where its enough. She always tells me it makes more work for me, its like the work it takes me to get that little bit memorized is not even important or all that great mass of stuff I did all week to exhaustion is of no account, as long as the coffee cups are in order. I know this isn't true but all I ever hear is negativity and how I messed up again today. I can't speak for all husbands but I get tired of complements with a "but" attached. I get tired of only hearing how I messed up. It makes me feel worthless because of a condition I am working like mad to correct (read as therapists, psychiatrists, medications, meditations, lists, this forum, etc...) and then I just hear how I messed up again. Things like "Thank you for working 11 hours today and cooking for 2 hours, BUT, you have to remember to keep the blue pens in that left hand drawer". It hurts to hear that every day. When am I good enough? I fell I am getting told am a failure every time I turn around. I don't think that helps anyone move forward and get better.
If you keep telling me I am a failure I will break. This is coming from a man who was successful at everything he did before he got married. I coped, and I did rather well, but I was painfully alone. So I got married to a woman whose heart and soul I love with every fiber of my being. When she glows she is incandescent but every time that light is dimmed it is automatically my fault, or something with my condition. My condition, my bloody condition. Its not all my condition. Sometimes because you know I forget you look for things I forgot, and when all you have is a hammer you can only find a nail. What happened to all the other parts of me? I accept I have this disorder but I do not wish to accept being told I am lesser than for it. Talked down to like a child from my own wife. My wife's anxiety only makes it worse. She gets anxious when its out of place, or disorderly, when her workspace is a disaster, but me misplacing a spoon is a catastrophe. She invades are organizing everything I have as a workspace her way, not my way, but her way. Then when I can't find things I am failing her and its my condition.
I coped before by being fastidious and present. I ALWAYS put things back where I got them, and they ALWAYS lived in their spot. I feel like saying "Its a spoon, get over it, you have a roof over your head, a husband that is as loyal and obedient as a dog, home cooked meals three nights a week, the freedom to choose whatever career you want while I slave." In the end it is just a spoon. So I focus on the spoons, the spoons improve, but that means I didn't focus on the coffee pot, so I am going to hear about the coffee pot. Without fail. She leaves plenty out, as much as I do. What do I do? I put it away when I see it.
Sometimes she doesn't help. She doesn't listen to my very clear statements about how I need that to work in order for me to help her. Its how my brain works and I cant do anything about that, what I can do is restructure our world so I can help her, but she wont, she wont help me on that. I say "I need the keys by the coffee pot so I can remember to always take them in the morning" Without saying anything my key stand by the coffee pot disappears to points unknown in the house then I of course, have no idea where my keys are and don't even think to look for them. Then I get anger for losing my keys, and a justification on how it just looked bad there. Well, if it being asthetetically appealing to visitors is more important to you than what you claim to be most important, my organization, the thing that is hurting our marriage, than that is what you have chosen. Because if I move it back, with a clear explanation why, it will get moved again. This happens every week, every time I try to stage something, set something up so I can remember. It is the only way I can take care of her and she takes it away from me all of the time.