The last few weeks have been ‘one of those weeks’ over and over. On top of normal family life, working, school changes, holiday plans having to also care for my daughter with ADD and additional needs has meant the weeks have sailed by and seems to be getting on top of me. Being a mum is a full time job sometimes I wonder how the hell I do it without falling apart……
One thing I think is true of parents who raise children with special needs and disabilities is the constant effort to do what is best for your child and sometimes these decisions can upset the normal routines and daily life. We recently took the decision to move our daughter to a school closer to us. I had been ferrying my children 26 miles in total per day to and from their current school. Add in the stress of trying to get out of the door this just isn’t working anymore the older my daughter gets. All of a sudden she is turning 10 and with this seems to be a huge shift in the size of arguments and stress. If anything in the morning routine goes wrong and I mean anything even the smallest thing then the whole school run turns into a battle of wills. Anyone relate?
It’s hers against mine. It’s time consuming and energy zapping. Having lived so long with her in her shell, in fact I would call it a bubble in a morning she has now come to the age where she is aware of how she is different and how her behaviour can in some cases get her what she wants. Normal pre-teen behaviour I hear you say…. But it’s so much more than that. I have never known anyone who can dig their heels in so far over the smallest of things. I don’t understand it and it makes me frustrated. Be it shoes, breakfast choices, to who is sitting where in the car 😡 ADD is certainly teaching me a lot as the months, years go on.
No one child is ever the same and I think that is certainly true with children who have ADD. Every child has their own quirks, breaking points, triggers. No one child has the same symptoms but an array of them making them unique. We as parents have to learn how to adapt to take care of these children. My daughter at least for me has a sort of switch between a Jekyll and Hyde that’s running on fast forward. This is increasing more apparent now for me than it ever was. She does not stop!!! Constantly flipping from one thing to another, if someone has something different she then decides she wants it and will just take it. Sibling rivalry is at its best in our house as her sister compete to keep their toys, phones and even food. I have mentioned before the ‘egg shell’ state I sometimes find myself in just to keep the peace and to try and limit the stress that behaviour associated with ADD can cause.
There’s also the other elements of ADD like the memory problems that for me cause me the most headaches and moments of sheer annoyance and anger. I struggle as I am really an organised person to understand some days why my child forgets. Other days I feel sad for the things she looses and events she doesn’t understand as she has forgotten them. So Yes anger…. It’s there. Just because I am a parent does not mean that I don’t feel frustration and anger. I try not to openly vent in front of or at my children but it is difficult. I struggle with myself over wether I should feel this emotion and also think where it actually originates.
- Is it anger at myself for the way I parent?
- Is it anger at my child for the way she behaves?
- Is it born of a frustration that people who have not experienced ADD can become so judgemental and blasé about my child’s behaviour?
- Is it the never ending struggle to get and do the best for my child?
Well actually it’s a little of all those things. As a parent of disabled children I feel I should be well versed in how to look after them and their needs. Mostly this is not the case some days I feel lonely and scared of what the future may bring. A diagnosis of anything is no picnic and is never a simple cut and dry case. I do feel anger at myself. I do blame myself as a parent for the way my children are. It’s not my fault I know but some days when feeling low in myself it is easy to play the blame game.We parents put ourselves through so much. We tackle parenthood head on and do everything we can to make sure our babies grow and thrive. A mothers intuition is often something we rely on and for me at least it’s always been right. The day we parents get our children’s diagnosises can be the worst. For me being told my daughter had hearing loss at 2 and ADD at 7 were days that I don’t really remember much about. They are lost to me in a haze all I remember doing is crying and then getting on and parenting as best as I could. Yes there’s help available but here we seem to have to fight for most of it, there’s information abound on the internet but it takes some searching to find reputable, helpful non scary information.
For parents starting out on their journey with a disability I would say
- Grill your paediatricians, doctors, sensory support for as much information as you can📚
- Try and have a list of questions when you go to appointments in case you forget to ask something that has been bugging you. Type them in your phone or not them down as and when you think of them. It’s hard to keep on top of them I know but it could make a difference.
- Take each day as it comes, there will be good and bad days you have to accept this and it’s hard, really hard!!!!
- With ADD pick your battles….this is a really hard one to do, you feel you can’t give in all the time as it’s not fair and naughty behaviour does need to be kept in check but how do you do it when their memory is affected and they have already flitted to the next thing?
- Take some me time!!!! It’s hard but having some down time wether it’s a walk, going out or getting lost in a book we need to try and do something for ourselves and recharge our batteries. I tried for so long just to get on and be a parent but eventually realised it does not make me a bad mother to say help I need some rest and relaxation!!!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help….again another difficult one especially when faced with people who do not understand your child’s behaviours and needs but on the flip side if we do not give them that chance to interact and experience it themselves how are they ever going to understand
At the end of the day remember we are super Mums and super Dads. In the eyes of our children we are their superheroes no matter what the days, months and years ahead bring. For all the love in the world raising our children to be loved and accepted is in my view what it’s all about. Yes I get angry and frustrated but the milestones my children complete and the characters they are will never ever make me think for one second that I wish life had been different. Our children are who they are and we have this amazing job ❤️
Please feel free to get in touch, enjoy the sunshine ☀️
Xx Leanne xx