My husband was recently diagnosed with ADHD, on the heels of having our 5 year old son diagnosed as well. After some acceptance of his overall diagnosis and a lot of pushback on the treatment end, my husband is slowly coming around to recognizing he needs to work on things. While he has done well career-wise, he's in denial that seeking treatment for his ADHD could drastically improve things at home. We are participating in Melissa Orlov's ADHD in Marriage seminar via phone and he seems to be somewhat coming to terms with having to work on things. I've already told my husband that this is it for me. Either he takes responsibility for his ADHD and we work together or I'm ending the marriage (after nearly 12 years). I will say he has been trying to make more of an effort to help out around the house. I"m weary of praising him for taking on the chores and responsibilities he should have already been doing. While I know I should recognize them, i feel like it's only a matter of time before the "honeymoon period" of him helping is over and he resorts back to his old ways. And really, let's face it, no one praises me for running around like a chicken with my head cut off for everyone else's sake every day.
This weekend was Mother's Day. We decided to go to breakfast with our 3 young kids on Saturday instead of Sunday. Overall breakfast was fine but instead of helping me cut up food for our younger 2 kids, he sat and watched me cut up food, pour syrup, push up sleeves, etc... and then dove into his own breakfast. By the time I got everyone settled, he was more than 1/2 done with his breakfast. I didn't say anything but just let it go. The day continued with errands, house work, sports for our kids, etc... While I'm never one for being big into celebrating things like my b-day or Mother's Day, etc... a little recognition of these days would be nice. My kids were quite eager to wake us up early yesterday to wish me a happy mother's day and give me their hand-made presents... which, of course, I enjoyed!! My husband then just handed me a card and said Happy mother's day. While we had no real concrete plans, other than a sports game and taking my mom to dinner, the day kind of went downhill when one child ended up having strep and having a rough day.
Last night, instead of reading stories and helping the kids get ready for bed, he went outside to cut the lawn (one of his fav activities). Then after the kids were in bed and I was doing laundry and making lunches for the kids for today, he came inside and announced he was going to take the cars for a car wash cause he had a free coupon.
When we went to bed last night, my husband said that he hoped I really enjoyed my Mother's Day. I was so upset because he seemed to genuinely think I enjoyed the day/weekend. I'm not one for looking for gifts, etc... but I was so disappointed that I didn't even get a bouquet of flowers or something from my husband. I was thinking that I was heading into the weekend with little to no expectations so I wouldn't be hurt. I guess the fact that I was in tears last night and this AM tells me that I did have some, bare minimum expectations, about my husband acknowledging yesterday as Mother's Day with more than just a simple card.
When he realized this AM that I was upset, I let it out. He was so shocked that I was upset at the weekend overall and couldn't fathom why I didn't have a good time. He told me it didn't even dawn on him about getting flowers because he had been so focused on trying to help out over the last couple of weeks at home, that he thought that would mean more. So, of course, that only made me more upset. Am I really supposed to forego any recognition on holidays, b-days, etc... because he's trying to focus on pulling his own weight at home?! I've been holding the house and family together, on top of working full-time, for so long that now I'm supposed to continue to sacrifice? I'm supposed to be happy that he's finally working to pull a portion of his weight in the marriage and house that that's supposed to be good enough? Am I the only one who thinks that this isn't fair and isn't right? Am I the only one who is struggling to realize that NOW in order to have my ADHD husband focus on the responsibilities that he accepted when we got married and became parents, I somehow have to forego any sort of romance, acknowledgment of appreciation, etc...?
AM I the only one who wonders if there's more out there in other people's relationships? Why can't I have my cake and eat it to? Why can't I have a husband who helps out at home and with the kids and who also shows his appreciation and affection for me as his wife and the mother of his 3 children? Is that honestly too much to ask? I'm really starting to see the harsh reality that it might be too much to ask of a husband with ADHD. And really, i'm a lot more upset about it than I thought i would be.
I'd like to think of myself as a strong person but even this seems like a hard lesson in life to swallow.