Is it me?

So ok, I have ADHD - not too bad, but still.  I know that I start and don't finish, I skip around subjects, etc.  And at some point, love isn't enough to save you.

1 thing - not sharing the load with housework.  Sure, I understand that in principal.  We both live here, there are 2 children (10 & 6), and there's plenty to be done.

This AM, I unload the dishwasher, and I put all the stuff away - regular stuff.  My wife (not ADHD) comes in later, loses a rack behind the oven storage drawer (it just slid behind, not a big deal) and rather than asking for help, loses her temper.  So I come in, I retrieve it, and she's still seething.  "What's wrong?" I ask calmly. 

"YOU PUT EVERYTHING BACK WRONG!!" Holy cow.  at 7 am,we have to do this? 

"IT WOULD BE EASIER IF YOU NEVER DID HOUSEWORK SO I WOULDN'T HAVE TO RE-DO IT!"  Uh, I thought me not doing housework was a problem?

With a little more digging, I discover that I put the mugs in front, not behind the glasses, a glass mug on the wrong shelf, and a teacup in the wrong cabinet altogether. 

And yes, I know I've been living in this house with that same stuff for 10 years, and I should have known, but, c'mon, it's a teacup.  Must we?


I think the real issue isn't "You're not helping" but instead "You're not doing all things MY way".

On the other hand, perhaps this is just the problem - that any two people who live together, one with and one without ADHD, are going to have different ways of doing things.  But if that's the case, why internalize the difference and turn it to anger & frustration?


Someone tell me I'm wrong - and why?  I mean, I'm sure I'm wrong; I'm told that all the time.  But why?

Some things do have a right way to do them

If my ADD hubby would put away dishes, I'd want to kiss him. But if I went to get something out of a drawer or cupboard and found he'd put it away dirty, I'd react like your wife. (Our dishwasher sucks, what can I say.)

If I give him a package to mail because he's out and he mails it, I'm grateful. If he uses the wrong debit card and it costs us a $29 overdraft fee, not so much.

I was grateful that he did laundry, until he washed (and ruined) a pair of dry-clean-only silk pants that I absolutely loved (they were a Christmas present from him).

He kept library books in his car too long and now we can't use the library (can't afford the fine).

You get the idea. Sometimes things do have to be done a certain way. Women are used to being "in control" of the house and she's not if you help. Melissa wrote a wonderful post about giving up control that you both should read. Try to learn her system as much as you can. I think this may be more of a man/woman thing than an ADD/non-ADD thing.

Right & Wrong and Lots of Gray


Based on the information you presented, it sounds like your wife could be frustrated with some other things and is using this opportunity to let out some steam.  What you did is not wrong in my opinion, unlike the examples that Sueann provided which are more black-and-white.  I think there's right/wrong and a lot of gray, unfortunately.

I'm the non-Add man with the ADD girlfriend and I feel like have to be careful not to be unnecessary controlling.  It took me awhile to get her to do the dishes routinely.  She doesn't always finish the job and I really, really would love if she swept the floor and cleaned the range.  If you ask me, that's all part of cleaning the kitchen the "right" way after a meal.  But, I don't want to go that far yet and risk what the progress that's been made.  Plus, there are other more pressing issues.  Of course, I still get frustrated.

Also, I consider my self the cleaner washer but sometimes I find my own mistakes.  So, I have to be careful what I call out, else be hypocritical.

I would love if she went through the fridge a few times a week and threw away old stuff and used what is about to expire for dinner ("fridge management" as I call it).  Also, take inventory before she goes to the store so we don't end up with two of everything.  Right vs wrong?  Practical vs impractical?  Add vs non-ADD?  No easy answers.

You bring up an interesting topic and sounds like I need to read Melissa's post.

This is my situation too.  He

This is my situation too.  He could put the dishes next to the towels and if they are all clean I would jump up and down.  He loads them dirty never uses a sponge so that's a bit frustrating trying to unload and weed through clean vs. dirty then re-doing it. It's the lack of attention to detail or inability to focus on what they are doing at that moment that creates these situations. That is definitely an ADD thing.  I've sent my husband to the post to mail a package before and he left but forgot what he was doing got sidetracked and never made it to the post.  That I was mad at. 

This amused me

A couple of weeks ago, my ADD-husband put away the dishes.  He put the pitcher back in the wrong place.  (a pet-peeve for me, but not worth an argument.)  Later,  I quietly put the pitcher in the correct cabinet (ya' know, the one where it has always lived for the past ten years).

That night, my husband needed the pitcher.  He went directly to the correct cabinet and got it.  

It amuses me that he knows where to find it, but doesn't know where to put it (or remembers where he put it.) 

I used to credit this as a "man-thing" but I think it's probably an ADD thing.

Haha!  Funny!  I can see

Haha!  Funny!  I can see myself doing that too.  I mean well.  I hope your Husband does too.

Yes, my husband generally

Yes, my husband generally means well. 

I hope he knows that I usually mean well, too.  And I hope the same can be said of your wife.  Really, so many communication problems are in the framing and how we assume the other's intention. 

For example, If I ask my husband to do a task, it's because I know he is a capable adult and not because I am a task-master.  If I remind him of said request, it's because I know he needs reminders, I'm not being a nag or harping on him or treating him like a child.  Those thoughts are not running through my mind.  I do get mad if he accuses me of being a control-freak or a nag or acting like his mother.

The situation you described above was not great, obviously.  I suspect your wife has built-up frustration that you need to resolve.

In my opinion, I think the person who has done the vast majority of housework for the past ten years, has earned the right to do it "her way."  In my house, that's me.  There is no right way or wrong way there is only my way because I do it all the time and my system works. We are in the process now of figuring out a more equitable division of labor.   

Re: always half done

My adhd husband helps with some of the chores in the house, but they are ALWAYS only half done, but to him, he completed the job. It doesn't matter that for 28 years now, when I put the dishes away, the entire counter, sink, etc, is FREE of dishes and clutter. He apparently doesn't see how I've done it so that everything is put away and looks/is clean. He empties the dishwasher completely but puts only HALF of the dishes away, the rest are left sitting on the countertops and/or pushed to the BACK of the countertop. (I don't get this one at all) Plus, when he does shopping, he brings the groceries in, puts them on the counter and puts only HALF of the things away. Once again, the "other half" of the groceries get pushed to the BACK of the countertops. (but to him the job is done) Again, I don't get this.

    Also, if he cooks, same thing. He does HALF of what is supposed to be done. He gets so focused on the food that he wants to EAT, he forgets to do the rest of the stuff that is required for the meal. Example: He will want to cook me dinner and tell me to sit and watch tv:(he wants to do it himself) So, he cooks the hamburger or whatever, then forgets to get plates and serves me a hamburger with no plates or utensils. He wants to start eating RIGHT THEN, but there's no salt, drinks, whatever and he keeps going back to the kitchen for EACH item that he doesn't see is missing  until he NEEDS whatever item is missing. This sounds funny until it gets played out OVER and OVER and OVER again. I begin to wonder, "What the heck is going on here?" He's running back and forth for each item, tries to eat, forgets something else. I'll offer to help to get other items, and then he gets frustrated and tells me to "SIT DOWN AND RELAX". It's hard to relax when he is running back and forth from the kitchen to the family room for EACH ITEM, one after another. We do this on a regular basis, and I can't get him to PREPARE to have everything on the table BEFORE he brings in the food. IT'S FRUSTRATING AS HECK!!! I don't yell at him about this, and frankly I don't know WHAT to say, because it seems so bizarre.

   The same thing goes for the laundry. He does HALF the laundry, puts half of it away, and leaves the rest wherever, and then tells me, "I've finished the laundry for YOU". He wants me to praise him for ALL these things. (I never get praise for doing them ALL the way done) But, anyway, I would ALSO like to be able to tell my husband. "Look, I'm the one who does MOST of all the housework, cooking, shopping, etc. and I would like these things done until they are FINISHED, NOT JUST DONE HALF WAY". I've  actually SAID this to my husband, but it doesn't register, or he doesn't WANT to understand it. (I don't know which) But, I can't tell you how frustrating this gets when it plays out all the time, and I have to finish everything he started. He doesn't REALLY DO THE CHORES he SAYS he does, he HALF DOES IT, so that means I STILL have to finish whatever he starts to do. HOW FAIR IS THIS, WHEN IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME? He isn't allowed to do this at his regular job, or else he would get FIRED. And, he even SHOWS me his work, (for his job) that he does (IN FULL) and does well, but concerning the household things with me/ get done HALF WAY. (ALWAYS) What can one do?

Are we married to the same guy?

I don't think my husband is a bigamist. My favorite is getting the trash can from the back yard but not putting it at the curb.

He knows how to finish things because he does it at work. Have you asked him what the problem with completing chores at home is?

Seinfeld did an episode about how no one in New York who gives you a ride wants to take you all the way home. "Just 12 blocks down this street and you're home" while Elaine was carrying skis.

I don't know what the answer is. If you find out, let me know.

The answer is training. Maybe?

For the past month, we have been working on dishes.  My husband's new chore is washing dishes (our dishwasher is broken, six people in our house...major job).  I don't know why, he tends to do only half the dishes at a time and leaves the other half  half for later. (?)  I don't rescue him, I don't do it for him.  I don't let him bribe the kids to do it.  I don't remind him... 

The experiment has been working.  It is ingrained in him now.  It is a consistent expectation.  If he ever says, "I did YOUR dishes."  (Pet peeve anyone?)  I say, it's not MY dishes, it's OUR dishes, the KIDS' dishes, your dishes, too.  I've "lowered" my standards, a bit, too.  I like to keep the sink clean, it's usually cluttered, now.  But, hey!  Someone else is doing dishes.

The next step is adding another chore while keeping the first one in place.  We'll see how that goes as he juggles two chores.


I know how you feel!

I understand this oh to well!! My husband does the same thing.  I don't think he can visulize the beginning , middle or end of any thing.  My husbands usualy STARTS in the middle  and works his way back to the start or end of a task or project.  Jumping from task to task without compleating any of them.  It makes me so tired sometimes....

Me too

My husband and my ADHD daughter (his stepdaughter; no biological relation) do something really weird. They will start in the middle of a TV show or movie, where they haven't seen the beginning and won't be around to watch the end. I can understand it with something like a singing program, but it seems weird to me with a whodunit. You also can't count on being able to see a whole TV show with them. They will change the channel and you are left wondering how the story ended.

Re: channel changing

Oh, wow, the channel changing really got me. lol. I can get nauseous watching television with my husband because he's ALWAYS changing channels. And, rarely do I get to watch a show that I want to watch. I go in the other room to watch my own show. And, he will want me to sit and watch an ENTIRE movie with him (of his choosing), but he WILL NOT sit and watch and entire movie with me (of my choosing). He tells me, " I have work to do", or "I can't watch this sh#*, and get up and leave.

this really made me

this really made me is so insanely frusturating

my DH will load the dishwasher, but won't do the silverware (he says he doesn't want to waste his time).  I need some tuppers to make lunch for my 4 year old and 15 month old to take to school...he won't load the dishwasher with I end up havint to wash by hand or run the dishwasher again...though I can make everything fit...thi only annoys me becuase I end up staying up late waiting for them to finish.

will wash and dry the laundry, but leave itin baskets for me to put away

last night he washed thek itchen floor, but left all the chairs in the living room instead of putting them back around tehe table.

i see now that this is such CLASSIC issues wiht followthrough

Re: Always half done

Omg! I have tears streaming down my face from reading this! I can so picture the dinner! Thanks for a good laugh. I havent laughed for so long. : )

That's awesome!!  We have

That's awesome!!  We have lived in our house for 7 years and everyday for 7 years he asks me where everyday things are.  Nothing has changed.  I'm thinking of paining a wall with dry erase so I can draw a diagram and call it a day!

reg "is it me?"

Yes, I agree that misplaced dishes are a small thing...But if you add up ALL the small things through the years it can total a lot of anger.  Have you heard of the straw that broke the camels back?  Maybe the the misplaced dishes was just another straw that the camel is struggling with! :)

not the root

I am new here....I'm exhausted and need support.  I am the non ADD wife of 23 years.  My ADD husband is very loving, caring and supportive.  My problems is frustration, and I think that may be where your wife is.  Her explosions regarding your errors in placing things in the proper locations, especially if this doesn't happen all the time and she has more patience sometimes and other times not, sounds to me like a soar oozing that has had a band aid on it for awhile.  Your statements about "why internalize the difference and turn it into anger and frustration" makes me cry out in empathy for your wife.  Not having ever met either one of you, I can't say this is your story of course, but in our marriage, I have, for 23 years, tried relentlessly to discuss things in our marriage that I feel are important or need attention.  I have learned over the years to pick my battles carefully.  I don't worry about petty things, but eventually it comes down to: I'm talking; I'm trying to communicate: I just long to be heard...regardless of what the subject is.  There comes a time when it no longer becomes an issue of hearing what I am saying, the issue will eventually become: Is my heart worthy of your attention.  I have even done experiments to determine whether or not I am being heard.  I will begin a conversation knowing he realizes that it's actually him I am talking to.  Then I will abruptly stop talking in the middle of a sentence to see if he even notices.  9 chances out of 10 he will not even know I have ended the conversation.  He has already began a new thought or worse, left the room on another quest.  It may be your wife is so frustrated......not because of the location of anything, but just because of whatever, and it is manifesting itself in this way, because this is the issue at hand in this moment.  In trying to be understanding and determining what behavior is not his fault and the effects of his disorder, I constantly give him the benefit of the doubt, but in the process, I'm dying! 


That is my life to a T. Your definately in the right place for ideas and help. Been married to an adhd spouse for 15 years and had been working so hard to do everything possible to figure it all out only to see the same behavior over and over again. Exhausted, tired, mad and broken, i found myself here. Your in good hands now.

Thank you

Thank you for your encouragement.  As you can see by the amount of time I spend on here (not) that life is busy.  I am so thankful for a place to come with folks who understand.  It makes the journey not quite so lonely.  Until next encouraged & seek time alone to refocus.  Life is fragile, handle with prayer!