What the hell is up with mornings? Am I just a crazy person or is this an ADHD thing? My husband is useless in the morning. Absolutely useless. We are good most of the rest of the day... but mornings are awful. We have a two year old that needs to get ready in the morning and needs to be dressed, fed, and attended to. We have a cat that is annoying as hell until she gets fed. And I swear to God, I am the only one who ever gets up. He just lays there. And if I am sick and can't get up (like this weekend) God forbid our daughter wakes up before he is ready. He gets mad at her and makes her go back to bed... even though its the time we have to wake up the rest of the week anyway. I get so angry with him when he does this. To me, as a parent, when your kid wakes up - you have to get up. You just have to. Its part of the job. So then we have our daily "why won't you get up?" fight where he says he is getting up... while lying in bed... with his eyes closed. He finally puts his robe on (which he will live in if there isn't something forcing him to get dressed, like school or something involving leaving the house) and then gets the computer on the couch and starts watching cartoons. Still not paying attention to our daughter. So, while I am scrambling to get ready for work. He is, grudgingly, sitting on the couch... not doing anything. I am just ready to lose it with this morning situation. It always leads to fights and the magnitude of the fight sets the tone for the day. I have to beg him to watch our daughter and feed the cat. And rather than feed the cat he just yells at her like thats somehow going to make her stop yowling. The only thing that makes the cat stop is feeding her. And because he also has the lovely oppositional defiance disorder bullshit I get 100% combatted, regardless of whether he intends to do something or not. I am at the point where I don't even like bringing things up anymore. I would rather just take care of everything than deal with the verbal combatives training. These things are all annoying with out ADHD, so dealing with him yelling or whining about me telling him to help in the morning is just one more layer of frustration. 

Its the one thing I can't find a million websites with helpful advice. No one seems to be talking about this rocky morning situation. Is it seriously too much to ask that he get up with our daughter? I find it particularly frustrating with our daughter because on top of all of this, she has begun STRONGLY preferring me. She pulls on my shirt. Cries when I leave. Cries if I don't put her to bed. She only ever wants to ride in my car anymore. She only comes to my side of the bed in the morning. She crawls in bed in the middle of the night when I am sleeping sometimes. All of which end up making me exhausted when I then have to wake up and take care of her and then go to work. His knee jerk anger with the situation frightens me too. He gets SO angry when she is crying and awake when he is tired. He doesn't do anything but yell or get plain frustrated but it bothers me immensely. And I know that toddlers just have a tendency to favor their mothers, so there's not much for that... but I just want the mornings to be better.

Its the first thing we talked about with his counselor when he started therapy and it still hasn't been resolved. It sucks too because one of the ideas the counselor had was to have a 'kicker' of meds at night that were lower dose and quicker acting. And of course that was when that particular drug faced a national shortage. So we still haven't been able to try that strategy. I will say also, that it was better when we were carpooling. But we aren't going to be carpooling every day. So we still need strategies so my weekend isn't used up taking care of our house because he thinks he is the only one entitled to sleep in. (And yes, I know thats not how he is thinking of it... its just how it feels to me.) 

Anyway, any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.

to a t

kzookitten, I don't know how much help I can be, other than to tell you that you are not alone. Your description fit my DH to a t (currently we have some other stuff going on) for years. We have young children and after years of begging, reasoning, cajoling, and yes, even getting mad and throwing down a gauntlet (boy, does that not help!) and insisting that being on my own on the morning shift just wasn't FAIR, my ADHD DH continued to have severe sleep issues and just could not function early in the day. Same thing, grumpiness, fogginess, not able to wake up no matter what, and if he did, he was no help, just sat and watched tv. I thought, "This is not what I signed up for---it didn't used to be this bad---I feel like a single parent---I work, too, and expect him to do his share---" and the like. Every once in a while, I would ask something like, "Can you help put on their shoes?" and it was such a production that I did it myself. To make matters worse, DH is very good at debating and reasoning out the other stuff that he was doing, (like working on the house occasionally or spending extra time on his business, which I didn't agree to) and it became too difficult to keep fighting with him, and I gave up. 

I do think that it is chemical. I really do. I try to think what it is like when I am exhausted and I take cold medicine or something, how sleep deprived I was when they were newborns, how groggy and out of it I felt. It must feel like that combined with ADHD symptoms, like not being able to start a task or focus. Does your DH have insomnia or weird sleep patterns, too? Any sleep apnea or snoring? I found that my DH had such bad sleep apnea that he was extra exhausted all the time, which made everything worse, after the doctor referred him to a sleep clinic. And yes, the extreme irritability was there as well when he first woke up. 

At times, if DH got up early enough, and took the right ADHD meds, he could wake up to go to work by 9 (though it was always "every man for himself" in the mornings for him), so some particular meds may help. I have run into the shortages at the pharmacy lately, too. My drugstore was part of a chain and they called around to try to find them for me once or twice. I was very polite but pretty insistent. 

The pattern did reinforce the "I only want mom" behavior pretty quickly, and that was tough, too---after a year or so I was the only one that they came to in the morning when they got up and the one they wanted when they were sick or projectile vomiting all over the stuffed animals:-) I made it through, I did, and am now at that point of potentially mourning the marriage I will not have, and deciding whether I can live with and enjoy the one I do have, even though it doesn't look like most other people's. Nope, I will never have that dad who is on the sidelines coaching our kids at a soccer game at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, but I do have a dad who will figure out who to build the coolest pine box derby cars in the whole group, and have my children jumping in delight (even though the project doesn't get started until 5 p.m. on Sunday). 

Those early years with the kids and me working were tough, as I am not really a morning person either and we had toddler twins and a dog in those days who needed to be walked (dog passed away later) and I have a job where I cannot be even one minute late. I was really mad for a long time. Saw a counselor, who suggested that for the time being, I focus on things I could control. I thought about getting a "helper" to stop by one or two mornings a week and actually did so for a while on Saturdays. A young woman who became the kids' favorite babysitter, ran around with them outside and played "Candyland" over and over again with them:-), and gave me a break so I could breathe or go to the store alone on Saturdays. The thing that held me up for a while was the perception of having a babysitter while two able-bodied parents were around, but then I realized that I wasn't able-bodied because I was so tired, and DH wasn't able-bodied because his ADHD was keeping him from being able to move before noon on the weekends. (The sitter was tough to afford but realized I was wearing myself out and it needed to be a priority). I paid her a few dollars an hour, and got really lucky, and it was the best thing I did at the time. 

Best of luck to you! Hang in there. 



"DH is very good at debating"

This skill of debate + a spouse who is a team player and wants a loving relationship + ADHD = resentful spouse.  How do you hold your own when your ADHD spouse is a more ruthless debater?

Debating (Side Topic)

This is interesting because I have come to learn that Debating is a coping skill many, like me, develop to protect ourselves from the fallout of our failures. This is of course is not a good way to deal with the real issues, but this skill was necessary because I did not know what I was dealing with until I was 43. Using the debate skills to squash an argument quickly, was my only chance to communicate before the stress would send me into shut-down mode. After my diagnosis, meds, therapy and a lot of reading, my debating skills are even sharper and more logical and also more fair to my DW. I have a lot less ADD forgets/failures/impulsive fallout that need the old debating skill rescue. I can actually talk about stressful topics better than before and my meds help slow the thoughts down and keep me from feeling overwhelmed and shutting down.

This became obvious to me with my DD#2 (Totally ADD, but not diagnosed officially) at bedtime. She uses conflict as a means to stay awake. I never understood what was going on until my diagnosis. I remember telling her a long time ago at bedtime "This is NOT a Debate!" This ADDer has met his match ;) 

Imagine losing battles of logic

Imagine how it is to lose or be ignored for nearly all disagreements/plans/opinions for decades because someone doesn't want to/can't communicate clearly but pushes their opinion/non-plan/non-decision as the winning outcome of most confrontations.  Eventually the non-ADHD spouse doubts their own worth/sanity/confidence just because they want to support the relationship.  Thank you for telling us your side.  Now I see that is what he is doing.  Is there a bit of thrill to the debating too?  As in, if we are bantering back and forth, it is fun?  The banter was fun when we were courting but now that he uses bantering as a deflection for responsibilities it is infuriating to me.

Never fun for me...

I was/am the Non-Confrontational type. Arguments drain the life-force out of me. Going back to the origin post topic, I was exhausted at the end of the day when most arguments happen, so my only chance was a "Quick" all out debate, before I lost what I was thinking. These attempts failed more often than not. I never looked for a fight, because I was not good at them. Most of the time I never saw the topic coming and was completely unprepared. Since my diagnosis, I've seen what this must have been like to the people around me and feel awful that I had NO Idea what I was doing. The diagnosis put a name to what I thought was just the oblivious, self-centered, forgetful guy I was, but I am determined to beat the hell out of this thing, Not let it destroy my DD's self esteem/worth and in the process make me a better dad, husband, friend and employee.

DD#2 gets the thrill out of debating/arguing to wake the brain, DD#2 is more like me and would prefer no arguments. The most difficult part of being a willing participant in tough topics, before the conflict occurs, is assessing the severity of the situation. I was oblivious to body language and facial cues for 43 years, which puts me behind all the Non-ADDer's out there, so I can Over or Under React still. My DW is also Not used to not always getting "The Final Word" in and ending the discussion. Sometimes "I" have more to say and I stay, I'm more even tempered and a long history of debates. Oh boy... Still a WIP :)

so hear you

Hi Jennalemon,

So hear you. The debating stuff just about did me in there, for a while. I was furious, hurt, frustrated, and for a long while, started to doubt my own sanity. Thank you, XYZ, for putting your perspective out here, it is more helpful than you can know. Yes, I also believe it is a defensive, coping mechanism. I kept stressing the problem was that we hadn't discussed it and I hadn't agreed to it, not that A=B or A doesn't = B. And maybe there is a thrill of conflict there, too (which is so foreign to me...I could go the rest of my life without another "debate." 

Hang in there.