ADHD, Managing my Mental Health, Mom, Mom life, Parenting, Special needs parenting

The Struggle of Raising a Special Needs Child When You Have ADHD

“I can’t find my keys!”

“Crap, did I give him his medicine?”

“Why did I come downstairs again?”

“Did I call the doctor? When is his appointment again?”

“I really need to start writing all of this down!”

“Did I brush his teeth? When was the last time his diaper was changed?”

“Why can’t I ever remember or do anything?”

“Why did I just yell at his doctor, they only wanted to help, I feel so embarrassed?”

“Why can’t I just control what I say and think before I speak?”

“He’s so screwed that I’m his mom.”

Waking up in the morning is always the hardest for me, I’m disoriented, unorganized, and often spacey from taking meds to fall asleep the night before. At the same breath, my mind has been buzzing, spinning for almost 2 hours before I even woke up. My mind is itemizing, scanning, and thinking about everything I need to do, want to do, and know I won’t do in the next day. I try to think about how today I’m going to be organized, today I’m going to have a schedule, be more strict, more alert, more present, and every day I fail my goals before my eyes even open.

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The clock says 7 am. My son is sitting in bed with me now. He’s watching his Ipad. I start to think about how I’m failing the doctors for allowing him to have so much screen time. Then I wander off to think that I wish I were just a more engaged mother. I need to do more crafts with him, take him places, and be the mom I had growing up.

Why can’t I just sit and play with him?

Why is playing so freaking hard for me?

Why can’t I just like doing crafts, spend more time on Pinterest, and make fun paper machete pumpkins for fall?

Breakfast is here, and I’m already thinking about my growling stomach. I know it’s time to take my meds. I run to the cabinet, grab my meds, take a quick sip of my water, and I move on to getting his breakfast ready.

Do I want blend his food today?

Should I give him a Real Food Blend Pack?

But he really needs his vitamins – vitamins crush easier in the blender.

But then if I blend, I have to wash the blender, and I hate dishes!

I’ll get him his packet and tomorrow I’ll make him a blend. One day of missing his vitamins won’t hurt him, right?

I sit next to him to give him his food. He’s watching his Ipad. Back in my mind, I’m back to worrying about if the doctors will be mad at me for all the screen time he gets. I’m wondering if he’s being failed as a child for being homeschooled.

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Why can’t I just trust the school system to take care of him?

They can’t take care of him! They don’t understand his queues for his feeding tube. They don’t know how to vent him.

His doctor told me that in the wrong hands, he would die. It’s ok – you are right to homeschool.

My meds are starting to kick in now, and I can slowly hear my brain begin to mute. Everything inside gets quiet. The non-stop chatter, questions, spinning anxiety, and paranoia about my ability to parent disappears. I am finally able to take a deep breath and get going with my day.

I leave the table, get up and start the dishes, and I begin to feel guilty for not giving him the blended food with the vitamin because I know now that I wouldn’t mind doing the dishes. The house is a complete mess from the night before. It’s time for us to get cleaning. Everything is in overdrive now, I’m motivated, ready to conquer the world, and I’ve got the confidence to apply the skills his therapist at the autism clinic has asked me to implement. We need to work on timers, transitions, and sticking to our boundaries, so his behaviors decrease. I can’t let him walk all over me. I am in control. I’m his mom – he is not the boss.

It’s mid-day now, and he needs lunch. I’m not at all hungry, but he needs to eat. I prep his blend for his feeding tube and I sit next to him as he watches a cartoon. This time I’m engaged and watching him. I’m not worrying about what the doctors think about screen time. In fact, he’s my child, and my decisions in parenting are my own, not theirs. I’m feeling confident, and I give him a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek. He is giggling because he loves my kisses, and he asks me for a nuzzle.

He needs a nap. I lay him down. We read a few books, say a prayer, and I find all the random items he wants to sleep with that afternoon. Today he wants a wooden spoon from the kitchen, a guitar pick, three toy dinosaurs, four stuffed animals, and rock. It makes no difference to me what he sleeps with as long as he sleeps.

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I settle down to relax for a few minutes, but I’m motivated, so I want to get things done. I work out, throw some laundry in the washer, and fold the clothes from the dryer. I walk down to the kitchen, and I get dinner ready for my son’s dad and me. He wakes up after a few hours; I get another blend for him. Now he’s sitting at the table, and he wants to do ABCmouse. I give him his Ipad so he can work on school. He is fed, and his dad walks through the door.

His dad and I sit down to eat, and as soon as dinner is made, he’s yelling for dad to take him outside. I get another few minutes to myself. Instead, I need to get everything done before my meds wear off. I finish the rest of the laundry, clean the kitchen, and pick up the living room from the day of play. I take a seat in the basement, and I can feel my meds start to wear off.

My head starts to get loud again. The chatter, anxiety and over analyzing I’ve had my whole life starts to come back. I can feel my ability to concentrate, focus, and stay motivated slowly disappear. I try to relax, but my head is now spinning in full force. I can’t stop my mind or turn off my thoughts.

I get him ready for bed, lay down in my bed, and take a sleeping med to help calm my brain. I rub magnesium balm on my feet. I slowly feel my eyes start to droop, and I fall asleep. I’ll wake in the morning again to a buzzing brain, and I will repeat the entire day over again.

I am a special needs mom with ADHD. Parenting a special needs child while managing my ADHD is not a simple life, but with meds and help from my family and doctor, I have found a way to make this work despite what my brain tells me. I work daily to fight the anxiety, the chatter that makes me feel like I’m not good enough, and the impulses that want me to spend money or make poor choices. I will always fight this battle, but I will do it with grace because ADHD will not win and I will find a way to be the mother my son deserves.

Tell us – What does your Anxiety or ADHD make you feel like during the day?


4 thoughts on “The Struggle of Raising a Special Needs Child When You Have ADHD

  1. It’s rough raising a special needs kid…i try not to be hard on myself but some days all i do is beat myself up. I’m always worried i forgot something or my kids did..It’s exhausting. But remember, we’re better moms than we think.

  2. The most important thing we all have to remember is when you’re beating yourself up and feeling guilty about what you’re not doing, what you can’t make yourself do, what you have forgotten, maybe even how you feel. In these moments you have to stop! Consciously say, ” I’m only human! I’m allowed to feel however it is I need to feel and I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling this way or that.” You have to realize your feelings, thoughts, and emotions are normal for someone in your shoes. Your only human dispite what everyones thinks!

  3. I truly cannot thank you enough for writing this down and helping me feel not so alone. This is my reality and 9 years in, it is not pretty but we we are managing.

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