My family has a cute phrase for a not-cute thing. When our ADD attacks with full force, we call it chasing bunnies. There are bunnies all over waiting to take up our time and attention when we should be doing other things.
I am an adult with ADD. I come from a family of them. (Don’t worry family, I’m only gonna out Nana, and this is no surprise to anyone who knows her.)
A lot of people, moms especially, joke about having ADD. It’s an excuse for forgetting things or getting distracted. That’s cool. It’s nice to have a reason for messing up. But, to really have ADD as an adult is not fun.
For example, while writing this post I’m simultaneously reading another blog and editing pictures I took with my iPhone. Pictures of so many things it’s like 10 people use my phone. I also need to start a load of clothes in the washer, but I hesitate to do that. If I head back there, I’ll more than likely also find another chore to do, and that will leave this blog post to be finished in 2013.
Bunnies are after me, people. Bunnies.
As a parent, having ADD can impact in small ways. My telling the boys that, “I’ll be there in one minute,” is actually telling them I MAY be in there some time today if they ask me a few more times and no bunnies pop out at me before I get there. When I play with them, I also clean up nearby messes. So, I sort of half-ass playing sometimes. I also can’t play with their Matchbox cars for long. I have this incredible urge to sort their cars by type and/or color. Not a fun way to play.
ADD is not just about distractions. It’s also about hyperfocus. I wake up worrying about and planning what to make for dinner. Every day. I have notes to remind me what to do, but since the tasks run through my head all the live-long day, I won’t forget them, but they won’t get done because new
bunnies tasks will appear.
When the twins were babies, I had a notebook to track their feeding, sleeping, and, um, rear, activities. A lot of moms do this, and moms with multiples really need to do it those first weeks when the world is changed so much you think it’s all a cruel joke. Well, I kept that log for 6 months. That’s right, every day for six months I noted food, nap times, etc. I would even write what I thought caused nap disruptions so as to find a pattern and thus solve any and all nap issues. (As you may guess if you are a mom, no pattern emerged and naps just did what they did.) When my parents would watch the boys, I of course made them log the boys’ activities. My dad enjoyed messing with me and putting down very exact times like 9:17am or putting in ridiculous notes. I really felt that my kids needed me to be that knowledgeable about their daily lives so I could parent well. All the answers were in that chart. Except they weren’t.
Having ADD is hard to explain. It’s needing to be organized in order to function but not being able to do it because of all the distractions. It’s wanting to get this ONE MORE THING done on the computer when actually it’s 6:30pm, and the kids kind of need dinner.
I’m the kind of person who bought a mom organizer for my phone. But, I haven’t used it yet because I really want to sit down with some uninterrupted time to figure it out and set it up perfectly.
I’m the kind of person who rewards herself for completing a task by reading a novel. The whole thing. Before I do anything else important. Like shop for groceries. Or shower.
It’s amazing I was gainfully employed for so long. And as a teacher even. Talk about needing to focus on more than one thing but not get distracted from the main point. The funny thing is, while teaching, I do that well. It’s like my super power.
And, I guess I do okay handling this while parenting. My boys are alive. (Set small goals people; it helps.) They seem to have fun with me. They seem to be learning and stuff. (That’s an English degree on full display.) I don’t know if I’ll ever be ‘perfect’ but no one is. I just hope to not disappoint them. I want to follow through and be someone they can count on. I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Even if I have to kill me some bunnies.