One thing you’d probably never imagined as being great advice for parenting an ADHDer is: BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Norrine and I actually scoff at that thought because the reality is, we never received any advice when our kids were diagnosed, let alone some on parental self care. Yet, we’ve noticed that one of this journey’s biggest pitfalls is parents running on empty and neglecting their needs.
Just as important as making sure your ADHDer continues the activities they love and receives grace and room to adjust in every stage, is allowing the same for yourself. Have you considered the road you’ve traveled? You’ve tackled challenge after challenge because helping your ADHDer can largely be trial and error. And there’s probably some lamenting and residual what ifs on your heart because there is no manual. This job can require all you have. So you tackle it – all in – with plans to resume life as usual once things are back to normal. Whenever that will be.
What have you stopped doing for yourself for lack of time or energy? Do you regularly recharge or regroup? If you can’t remember what you even find relaxing or whether you brushed your teeth today – this is probably a great time to start thinking about it. Our advice: START TODAY. Just think of one thing that would make you feel replenished. For Norrine, it’s usually spending $5 on a delicious coffee that she didn’t have to make herself and enjoying it ALONE, with extended time to sip, savor and just be. For me, it’s going for a long bike ride and enjoying something delicious and unrushed afterwards. This is going to look different for everybody, but regardless of the time you have or the chaos you may be in the middle of – IT’S POSSIBLE.
Start with what’s doable right now – be realistic and be okay with it. Let it meet you right where you are in the thick of things. Maybe it’s taking just fifteen minutes to stop and sit to read a book alone. It may not sound like much, but anything is better than nothing. And once you start this habit you’ll likely see those anythings add up to something significant. Slowly, you’ll begin to find yourself again.
It’s easy to get lost in the messiness of parenting an ADHDer. The odds are it’s going to happen at one time or another. But don’t stay there! There’s a reason you have to put your oxygen mask on first before helping the person next to you on a plane! You’re not going to be much help to others if you’re not breathing. That’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity. So is being kind to yourself.
Just for the record, we don’t have it all together in this department – but we’re working on it! I mentioned earlier this week that Norrine is on week two of a new nighttime skin care regimen after stopping TWELVE YEARS ago when her son was born. Yeah Norrine!! Her face is literally glowing after just two weeks! As for me, I’ve started taking a full hour of time daily to read, write or a little of both. It’s pure luxury and it may not be able to stay a full hour once school and schedules are back but I feel sooooo human right now!
Join us! Be kind to the only you there is. A great way to start is to share what you’ll do in the comments below – seeing it in print may be just what you need to actually start. We’re cheering you on all the way. We know you can do this!