Family life with ADHDers can throw in a lot of the unexpected, unplanned and definitely some unwanted dynamics. It can add strain and stress. But, by default, it can also build enormous STRENGTH. Let’s face it – the more you work something out, although it brings pain, strength usually follows.
Today on Two Moms and ADHD we are sharing our marriage journeys in light of adding ADHD children. And whether you’re parenting as part of a marriage, in a relationship or solo, there are plenty of good reminders that sticking with it is the name of the game.
Norrine’s marriage: Forged into Gold by Loss
My husband and I actually married with no intentions of having children. We were DINK, living in NYC and having the time of our lives. It was a good life and we were happy.
Fast forward ten years and we’ve moved across the country to a place that still doesn’t feel like home. We’ve decided to start a family and ended up needing assisted reproduction. We experienced the loss of our first pregnancy, a complicated multiples pregnancy. We’ve had our hearts broken in the pregnancy process and become absolutely certain we wanted to have a family.
Fast forward ten more years and here we are, alone with two ADHD+ kids in the suburbs. Man, it is hard. It’s so hard. It’s harder than IVF. It’s harder than second trimester miscarriage. It’s harder than being laid off. It’s soul-achingly, heart-breakingly lonely and hard.
He and I, we’ve lost most of our joie de vive, almost all of our freedom, and all of our peace of mind. We’ve gained a greater understanding of what our vows meant, of what it means to find meaning in the service of family, and how deep the bonds of true love are.
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. I’m thankful for the gifts we each have that have enabled us to find the meaning in our story. We took the peaceful, easy feelings of early love, forged them through endless fires, and stayed together in love.
Ali’s marriage: All In
I never planned on marrying young, but we all know what happens to the best laid plans! Two weeks shy of twenty three I was married and the next eight years were a volleying of hard work and hard play. We put our everything into career building and made a priority of fitting in frequent travel together. It was an exciting and fun time for us both.
Working from home after having our first child brought huge change that threw me for a bit of an identity crisis. It was the beginning of relying on and needing my husband in a way that was new to me – and us. I wasn’t used to NEEDING someone to get through the day, and little did I know this would be training ground for our future.
Walking together through getting our second son’s ADHD diagnosis, years of meds not working, receiving an anxiety diagnosis and the tumultuous, heartbreaking school and home years that made up those seven years took our marriage to many faraway places. Sometimes we were on the same page. Other times we saw things light worlds apart. There were nuances I felt with my heart and he had a wide macro lens that was always logical. There was a time when I felt blamed for over nurturing and he felt blamed for being harsh. Anyone else been there? We still struggle with this one!
Frequently feeling inadequate as a mom became the norm for me. Now I was needing someone to make it through a lot more than a day with a newborn and that was the hardest thing for me. But learning to rely on my husband and him consistently showing up for the job and putting in what it took made the difference. It strengthened our marriage in a way that never would have been without our trials. What a gift that turned out to be not just for us, but for our children.
Parenting ADHDers+ is serious, life-changing work. It is tedious and complicated. It will take the strongest partnerships and hold them to the fire. But it’s what happens in that fire that matters. We learn to navigate together through the lowest lows before enjoying the highs. There is no magical resting place – as Norrine says on her son’s best days “Well, he’ll be coming down from that soon!” We all know the downs will follow the ups. But it’s in our commitment together, regardless of the differences we each bring separately, that we’re able to persevere – not just for ourselves but for our children.
What are some difficulties your marriage has faced as your parent ADHDers? What have been your greatest victories together? What’s your biggest lesson?