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Parents of ADHD Children

Stress is making me sick, what do you Mom's do?

The stress of my daughter and my husband with ADHD is making me so stressed out and feeling depressed and sick.  I have no time for myself as both of them are so demanding of me, my daughter is struggling in school, she has alot of anxiety and OCD behaviors, living with her outbursts and routines that she must have is very draining.  What do you Mom’s think is the most helpful to you to be able to relax (is that possible..ever?!) and MAYBE…even have a good day, with a laugh or a smile?!  Not sure how much longer I can be strong!


I can relate.  You MUST find a way to have some time for yourself.  Last night I went to bed at 8:30.  My daughter was being picky and hadn’t had dinner.  At age 13, she’s old enough to feed herself.  If she doesn’t eat, then I guess she will be hungry.  I went to sleep.  Then this morning my husband took the kids to school (something I had arranged ahead of time).  I slept late, while in bed I thought of 10 good things about myself and 10 good things about my life.  Then I gardened for a bit.  Soon off to work, but I was at the end of my rope.  Literally yesterday I was thinking about how I wish I would get the flu and have no choice but to rest.  Yet this is not the way it has to be.  We DON’T have to get sick to get a break.  We much say no, set boundaries and love ourselves.  Find a good book and commit to reading five pages a day.  Try “the gifts of imperfection” by Brene Brown.  You are not alone, you much be your own best friend though.  Warmly, Ilana

Posted by Ilana on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:09pm

Yes we can all relate. I have three kids, including a son with ADHD and a baby and one in between.

I am on an antidepressant and this helps me to handle more. I know there is a lot of talk about meds for kids - but what about meds for us? I take Wellbutrin XL 300 mg per day, and it helps a lot.

I have a therapist. She helps me with parenting my ADHD child and dealing with other issues.

I occasionally sneak out for the night. My mother is a big support for me, and so I’ll take the baby and spend the night at her house. She takes care of the baby so I get to sleep till 9 am. I do this once every 2 months.

I do things for myself. I will visit with a friend, get a massage (Groupon), get my hair cut and highlighted.

I eat well and try to exercise - no McDonalds on the road for me. Eating well reminds myself that I matter, too. Nothing wrong with trying to look good.

Sleep? Well, still working on that one. wink

And vent vent vent.

If momma isn’t happy, no one’s happy. Hugs!

Posted by nycmom on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:32pm

Exercise is great! I jog or do exercise videos. On the weekend I go to the gym.

I also try to focus on what is working well for my son and in my life.

Taking walks helps too. Get outdoors.

It takes daily mental discipline. Thinking that I have to keep myself healthy and strong to help my son.

Posted by CHBack on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:35pm

One more thing - I don’t belong to a gym - I do exercise videos from Youtube. Jillian Michaels. She is very encouraging.

Also if you don’t have a mom or friend to spend the night at occassionally, what about checking into a cheap motel for the night, ordering takeout and watching a movie? totally worth the money in my opinion.

All the best to you.

Posted by nycmom on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:38pm

Many of us struggle with this on a constant basis. I physically look like I’ve aged 10 years in the past 5. I can handle my son (ADHD) or husband (ADD) separately but when we are all together, it drains every ounce of energy I have.  Bless them, it’s not on purpose (at least I hope not!) My escape from the drama—I usually save my shopping trips for the weekend and that is my “me” time.  Might not sound like much for other people but for me, it’s heaven. grin.  I also retreat to the laundry room for a little alone time also.  I have a little nook with a chair and I will take a book or magazine and read while I do laundry.  I don’t have money to pamper myself with on occasion, so I make due with what’s available.  Oh, and a nice, long walk never hurt! Good luck.

Posted by Machelle B on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:48pm

I also recently started taking an antidepressant for anxiety/depression and a tranquilizer to help me sleep at night (I have been suffering from insomnia, as well) and I think they are starting to help.  I actually have more stress than just my daughter’s ADHD going on right now.  I used to see a therapist many years ago where I learned breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation.  I had problems with anxiety prior to becoming a mom, too. 

Unfortunately, we do not have much of a support system here since our families live so far away, but I try to do things that I enjoy (read a good book, write, watch a movie I love, spend alone time with my husband when our daughter goes to bed).  I also try to get plenty of sleep at night.  The tranquilizer does help with that.  I am also going to try to do yoga with her at the end of the day to help us both get to a calmer state.

It has made life in our home a little calmer.  Our daughter is on Strattera for her ADHD.  We think she might have anxiety, as well.  There is much less conflict.  We are still working on modifying her challenging behaviors but with my emotions more under control, it is becoming easier to be a more calming influence for her.

I homeschool her and am with her pretty much 24/7.  My husband gives me a break when he gets home from work and that helps.

We do what we can.     

My daughter also sees an occupational therapist to help with her sensory issues and to help improve her fine and large motor skills.  The OT has also been wonderful about giving us ideas on how to find more calming activities when our daughter starts to have a hard time controlling her hyperactivity.

Hang in there.  Try to make sure you take some time for yourself and I hope things get better for you very soon.  grin

Posted by mjsmom73 on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:54pm

Meds! Theirs!  Oh how I can’t take it when their meds have worn off. So I am diligent about knowing what is going on with my husbands meds, and no more medicine holidays for my daughter!

And I have distanced myself from my husband I’m sorry to say. But it is impossible to be in an emotional relationship with someone that can be so hurtful and self centered. He punishes by withholding affection, attention, etc because he was diagnosed as an adult. And in that instance ADHD brains need to have an ‘other’ to be angry with and that ends up being me. He’s still angry about being bullied in elementary school and he’s 54!

So in an odd way I get my comfort and peace in knowing that I am raising my daughter so that her ADHD does not ruin her life and her loved ones’ lives in the future… I hope.

And white wine, sometimes a big ole glass of white wine is necessary!  And building friendships with “normal” people so I have time not grappling with ADHD. People with ADHD, badly or untreated, tend to isolate and therefore isolate their family as well.  So reaching outside my household is peaceful and spending time alone with my non-ADHD son is a relief for both of us!

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:10pm

I too am in a place where my stress seems to be growing to an unmanageable size. I have been looking for a support group, but there’s nothing much that’s local. I’m doing my doctorate and work, so there’s little time for exercise, sleep and time off; and, there’s no money for a hotel or other splurge. In fact, I’m not sure I’d enjoy a break at the moment as I think those things are most helpful when the feeling of emergency or crisis has past. I’ve only recently joined online groups like this one; however, I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in engaging in a bit of online support - a mix of venting, encouraging, spewing and talking strategies. Just a thought…

Posted by MomofMack on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:37pm

YellaRyan you sound alot like me!  My husband was diagnosed as an adult as well, and I can’t deal with both my daughter and him at the same time, so I have distacned myself from him as well, unfortunately.  I have to focus on my daughter, and I honestly don’t have the energy to battle both of them. In what ways are you helping your daughter so that her ADHD doesn’t ruin her life?  I’m curious to find out what other’s are doing.  I also have a non adhd daughter and she just keeps getting put on the back burner because my daughter can be so demanding of my time, plus all the appointments and school meetings…etc.

You have all given me wonderful ideas of how to try and get some me time, I also suffer some insomnia, I tried ambien, but I felt terrible the next day so I’m doing alot of melatonin for now…but I have a really hard time shutting off my brain at night.

I really think exercise is key…I need to do alot more of it, so I’m going to try and get in a walk everyday, I know it helps with the mind and spirits!  Thank you all for some encouragement today, you don’t know how much I needed it and how much it means to me!

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:42pm

Momofmack, sounds like a great idea to me smile

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:43pm

I doubt there could be anyone on this forum who couldn’t relate! As the children get older it does get easier… I would not want to relive some moments from the elementary school years.. but now it middle school life has calmed down a bit. I don’t feel like pulling all of my hair out by the end of the day! I wouldn’t have had any hair left if I had!

Starting any kind of support group is very helpful. Being able to talk with other parents going through the exact same thing is such a relief. You get together to vent and share what advice you can. There are a lot of different ways to begin. It may seem like more to do when you don’t have time, but it will make the time you do have at home less draining by having the opportunity. I was never one who started support groups before until having gone through so much with my son.

One other thing is to just take the pressure off of yourself as much as possible. It will be the way it will be everyday and you’ll do the best you can, but you can’t ‘fix’ the ADHD. The drama will happen, so let it go. You’re not alone and it will get better!

Posted by Havebeenthere on Jan 30, 2014 at 11:13pm

My 2 best friends And I have a standing girIs Only night every 4 weeks. It is on our Calendars and we Send our husbands a reminder email One week And then one day before. We treat this night out like a doctors appointment as far as Only Cancel if sick or emergency comes up. I so look forward to this time alone with them and away from any responsibility. We will go to A Cheap diner Or Coffee house, or the library or just for a walk.

But by far the best thing for me was when I got diagnosed with ADHD (already dXd. with Anxiety before that) And started ADHD meds. That has helped me tremendously to calm down And relax.

Also having my ADHD husband On board with adequate treatment Of his ADHD and with learning As much as he can About it has also helped.

Posted by Udderlycrazy on Jan 31, 2014 at 2:04am

You have to find some time to take yourself out of the situation. If you can’t it during the week, choose a few hours on either Sat or Sun when the demands are reduced. Just take that time to get out of the house on your own. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can just go out to your local mall or shopping center and window shop. Or, go to the coffee shop and read a book.

Hope this information is helpful.
Susan in PC, OH

Posted by SueH on Jan 31, 2014 at 5:45am

Please write again and tell three good things you’ve done for yourself in the past few days! You are worth it,

Posted by Ilana on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:33am

llana, I definately will write again soon and let you all know what I’m doing for myself….today I’m going to our local Organic grocery store for my favorite salad and a few favorites for home, I’m looking forward to it because I haven’t done that in a long time…the weekend coming up has me a little stressed as I know with everyone home it will become a bit crazy and things start spinning out of control!

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jan 31, 2014 at 5:50pm

I may also go to the book store and find that book you recommended as well smile I found yesterday that my day went better, I was in a better, more positive mood because of all the kind, encouraging thoughts from all of you, so thank you so very much!

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jan 31, 2014 at 5:52pm

The oxygen mask theory applies here: you must take care of yourself first, to do your best for others. Try to find little bits of time here and there and do something you enjoy (like going to get that salad you mentioned), rather than an errand for your family. Even if it’s only a 10 minute walk around the block, do it for yourself.

There’s a secondary need to take care of ourselves as well—it is an example for our children. Do you want your children to think they must be frazzled and give every ounce of themselves to their children, or do you want them to take good care of themselves? Parents are modeling behavior for our kids every moment, whether we like it or not. Show your children your worth and deserving of special care too, so they will value their own worth as well.

About 6 months ago, I decided that I was going to get healthy once and for all. I went sugar and grain free. While I don’t force those eating habits on my children (or my husband), I stick to my plan and my children see me going out of my way to eat differently and care for myself. I wish I had started sooner—like 14 years ago when my oldest was little.

The bottom line is you aren’t doing your best for your kids if you aren’t doing the best for yourself. That is a really hard thing for mamas to accept, but we must deflect the guilt and spend time on ourselves.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 31, 2014 at 7:15pm

I, too, relate to the tremendous amount of stress raising a special needs child places on me, individually, and the family as a whole.

You really do have to find something that recharges your batteries. I have begun going the Happy Mama Retreat every summer that teaches moms like us how to take care of ourselves. The retreat is for mom so of kids with neuro-behavioral disorders, so it’s perfect.

Even better, I have met so many great women who know exactly what my life is like and who have given me advice and support. I highly recommend it!

Posted by millermix on Feb 01, 2014 at 12:01am

A ladies support network is so important, but I know hard to find. You could try meet (you could even start your own group) for running, exercise, book club, ADHD support group or whatever you are in to, but get out there & meet some moms with similar interests & try to find a time that can work. I know we are not all blessed with a schedule that allows for this sort of thing, but don’t give up! Maybe you can even find a mom group that exchanges child care. One in our community does this & it works on a ticket system- you earn tickets for watching the kids, then you get to spend them when you need a night off. I have found wonderful friendships also through our homeschooling community- these ladies are amazing and many face challenges similar to ours. Don’t give up, there is always something new to try! I second Jililan Michaels videos, even if you have to get up at 5 AM to do it. Sorry to contradict anyone, but don’t start a drinking habit would be my advice - you don’t need it & no good can come of it. I watched my dad die of his, and it started out as a stress-reliever - “harmless.” The pain he caused himself and our family just isn’t worth it ladies!!  So many other ways to deal with stress! Sorry- just a little note from the neo-ladies temperance league smile

Posted by Gretaj on Feb 01, 2014 at 8:56pm

In all honesty, this is my constant problem as well. I am at the end of my rope. I am depressed, stressed, exhausted, and terrified about my son’s future.

All I can say is, you are not alone, and what you describe is extremely common. The more I listen to the stories and experiences of other parents, the more I realize that the characteristics of ADHD kids, in addition to the effect of living with ADHD on the family, and the types of challenges we face, are pretty much the same for everyone - surprisingly so, as if other families are living in my house. I take some comfort in knowing I didn’t cause the problems, and that my family is not unique. Because for me, self-blame and self-doubt tend to factor into my stress level.

I got an ADHD coach for support - my coach is my lifeline. If coaching is not affordable (it’s expensive) there are other support resources about ADHD that are free online (Attention Talk Radio is a good source of information).

Another useful source of information is Impact ADHD, which is a coaching group that provides coaching to parents of ADHD kids (who may or may not themselves have ADHD).

I would suggest trying to carve out some time for yourself. No one can operate at maximum stress all the time. It is not humanly possible.

When I take my own advice, I work on my creative projects, or I see a movie, or do something to put my mind in a different place. Take a hot shower. Go running. This is hard to do when kids are small, I know, but even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes, do what you need to do to make a little safe haven for yourself.

Posted by sdsea on Feb 02, 2014 at 4:00am


I’m sorry to hear about your life being so crazy and hectic, but I’m glad I’m not alone.  Take care, use all the outlets you can with family and friends to get a break, good luck with the surgery in May.

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Feb 10, 2014 at 8:46pm

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