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What about the Dads?

Jul 20, 2021

So, about a month ago there was an article in ADDitude the title of which was “Will I Ever Be a ‘Good Enough’ Mother?” When I saw that I knew I was going to have to write a blog post about it even before I read it. So I made a note to come back to it and didn’t have time to read it until today. And, It was exactly what I expected....


https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-be-a-good-mom-with-adhd/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=parent_june_2021&utm_content=061221&goal=0_d9446392d6-9194c49d4a-287561789


So, I acknowledge that there is a unique societal pressure on Moms. This article did a pretty good job pointing that out. But I don’t think that is any great revelation. There is a lot of unfair and undue pressure on women in our culture in pretty much all aspects of their lives. Women get paid 70 cents on the dollar. One in four women are raped or assaulted at least once in their lifetime, if not more. Women are often subject to a glass ceiling. Check out the NOVA “Picture A Scientist,” if you want a good idea of how damn hard it is for women in STEM fields and many other male-dominated professions. https://www.pictureascientist.com/ So, this post isn’t about diminishing the struggles that women face daily in our society, or diminishing the psychological baggage that Moms have in our culture. But, what about the Dads?


I know that there are dads who still can’t use the washing machine and cook anything other than spaghetti. But most of the dads I know are guys who take just as active a role in their households as their wife’s do and they both work full time. In some cases, like mine, the mom is the primary breadwinner. There are a lot of “traditional role” pressures on dads too. We are just expected to stoically bear them. I’ve got a whole nother post in me about learning to break the most of the traditional dad to be a better father to my children. But the point that I want to make here is that the pressure on moms is only partially about the societal forces that they have internalized for generations. It is even more about the pressure that our society puts on the primary caregiver. And that doesn’t have to be the mom. Dads can be under just as much stress to get it all done and present a “together” image to the world as women are. Maybe for somewhat different reasons. But we don’t get a pass because of our Y chromosome. 


Again with centuries of oppression, I’m loath to take a shot at women staking claim to anything. But much of that equality that’s been fought for is here. At least it is in my house. I do all the cooking, all the laundry, and I mow the lawn. Isn’t it time to look at moms and dad more as equals, rather than to continue to perpetuate the forced societal roles we’ve been fighting at least since the 60’s? Just a thought. Hope nobody takes it the wrong way.




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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Prioritizing Self Care

Jul 14, 2021

I’m not going to go too much into depth on this one. I know I’ve written about this a lot in the past. But one thing that has come up in my coaching a bunch lately is the idea of how to prioritize self care. To define that, let’s consider sleep, exercise, mindfulness, down time, social interaction, or whatever else you need to keep your machine well oiled and ready to keep grinding. 


For the sake of clarity and brevity, I’ll use exercise as the template for self care. Plus, it is probably the most important of those listed for me, personally. Yet, it is never the number one thing on my priority list… objectively. I can make it be number one. But it’s not there on its own. Yet, there is no way to make up a missed day of exercise. I didn’t get my blog post done yesterday and no small children died. I can always get that done another day or even, God forbid, skip a week. But I seem to effectively moved that task to today. But I did get my 42 minutes in on the spin bike yesterday.  And, I’m going to work out again today. Because that is a thing that I just can’t make up for. 


I had a coach in high school who was also a math teacher. And he had a catch phrase, “Five times ten is greater than one times 50.” He was mostly referring to muscle memory and developing good habits. But I’ve found the lesson broadly applicable to my ADHD life, specifically in regards to self care. I get more out of meditating for five minutes five times a week than I would only doing it once for 25 minutes. I get more out of practicing the drums for 20 minutes five times a week than I would if I even tried to practice for one hour and 40 minutes once a week. And, I feel better today because I worked out yesterday. So consider how you prioritize your self care. 





Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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When I get overwhelmed

Jul 7, 2021

I’m really debating hard how much to share in this post. I don’t want to complain. I don’t want to over share. And those who read regularly know that I try to tow a line of speaking the truth about parenting kids with issues but not divulging too much about my kids, as what goes on the internet lives forever. So, I’m just going to start writing from my gut or my heart and see where it goes. Maybe it will be detailed and off putting. Maybe it will be vague and hard to follow. But I’m hoping for inspirational, in that whatever you are going through, you are most certainly not alone. LIkely it will be deeply personal.


My wife is working like crazy and working for people who are crazy. I don’t want to diminish the herculean efforts of single parents by saying that I am a de facto single parent right now. But it isn’t too far from the truth. The timing of this happens to coincide with my oldest, 12 year old, having a major depressive episode, increased anxiety, the onset of social specific anxiety. And, if you read my blog, you know that my 7 year old is substantially mentally ill. And after a period of relative calm, he’s not doing particularly well either. 


I have been hanging on by my fingernails for about two months now. I haven’t been in my garden. It’s at a critical point. If I don’t get out there in the next day or so, opportunities/ crops will be lost. I’m already writing off my fruit trees. I missed my chance to get them netted when I was sick for my whole off week last week. I’m not practicing the drums. I miss that. I am working out, still eating pretty well, sleeping, doing my best to meditate at least a few times a week, and trying to be social. But I’m worried about those things staying solid if I can’t maintain balance in my life. 



And then yesterday happened. I will be brief. An over zealous provider with whom I had had an intake the previous Monday felt that something I said had triggered her mandatory reporting responsibility. And I was reported to DCF for neglect. )Believe it or not, this is the second time that this has happened this year. The first time was by the public school system butting in to our child’s medical care where they didn’t belong. The school board agreed.) Ultimately I spoke to the social worker and she sought the clarification that the therapist should have sought. It is highly unlikely that an investigation will even be pursued.


However, before I knew that, this broke me in every conceivable way. I was no longer hanging by my fingernails. I was untethered. The walls were closing in. I cannot remember the last time I felt so alone in the world. I felt betrayed while I was at my most vulnerable. And, I’m not going to lie. I don’t feel that much better today. Everything feels heavy right now. It feels like living underwater. Everything takes so much effort. The depression is palpable. The anxiety, sticky like the humidity. 


My To Do List looms over me like the monolith did over the apes in 2001. Everything feels important. I don’t feel like I have the energy for any of it. Yet, I know that I have done it before. I have experiential knowledge that I can do these things by doing them one at a time. I started by bending one of my own rules. Well, not really. I exercised a rarely used clause. When one project gets big enough, it deserves it’s own List. I moved all of my gardening stuff that I was stressing about onto it’s on little green sticky on my home screen. That means a little more toggling between Work, Home & Garden. But it also means that I’m not overwhelmed looking at all the garden stuff that I can’t do in the middle of the day when it’s 95° out when I need to focus my energies. 


Now I just start. One thing. Do. Cross off. Second Thing. Do. Cross off. Eventually the list will become manageable. Even if my depression remains, I WILL get stuff done.

PS. All this said, I’m only a day late for my new Tuesday goal. Changing that up seems to have been a good idea...


Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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If you system doesn't work... Change it.

Jun 29, 2021

Quick one today. I"ve been sick all week so I haven't even had the chance to back date my entry for last Friday. You see, Friday is blog day because I don't have any clients on Friday. I've learned over the years that most people don't want to talk about their issues on Friday afternoons. So, why bother working a half day. I can always use it to reschedule folks. But mostly I use it to do office work, schedule appointments for myself and my kids. They both do therapy mid afternoon on Fridays. It's also morphed into laundry day for me, making beds, doing the shopping list for Saturday, and mowing the lawn. So, as you can see, it may not be the best day for me to plan of being introspective or even to just plain have the time to sit down and write something halfway decent. 

If you've noticed over the past month or so since shortly after I got back on the blog horse, so to speak, that I've been less than consistent about my Friday posts. Oh, I'll back date them so it looks like I posted on Friday. But you'll get the email when I actually write it, which has likely been the following Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Here's where the wisdom come in. I've been doing this coaching thing long enough for other and for myself that I noticed this pattern and asked myself a question. I asked why I still have it on my calendar to post on Fridays if that doesn't seem like a realistic goal right now? I challenged my assumptions. I challenged a structure that had worked for many years in the past. I didn't allow that structure to become a sacred cow. It took me a few weeks to notice the pattern. I don't want to be changing Willy Nilly. But I'm always evaluating the productivity of my systems, even the smallest detail. 

In this case. Having a reminder on my calendar works. Putting the blog post on to my to do list once the reminder pops up is working. It gets done eventually. But the small detail of the reminder being on Friday morning wasn't ideal. I don't really let myself feel too guilty about stuff, and I get important things done eventually. But I didn't like having the blog hanging over me for four of five days. I didn't like that I was now closer to the next reminder than I was to the last one when I finally had time to post. 

So, I"m posting to day on Thursday because I've been sick all week to make up for last week but I'm only going to back date it to Tuesday of this week as that corresponds to my new Tuesday reminder to post and entry after my 9am client. And, I'm writing off last week's entry to my being sick this week. 

I have a system for just about everything. But, they are not static. They are the ultimate combination of solid and fluid. They are set in stone as long as I need them to be. And, when they need to be reexamined, shifted, reshaped, changed, retooled, adjusted, tweaked, or abandoned for something better, so be it. It is an iterative process. Give yourself the power to make those systems and to change them.

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Weekly Menu

Jun 18, 2021

This is a quick follow up to the meal planning post from a few weeks ago. I think there are a few details that I didn't mention. The most important, especially for the beginning planner, is to make the menu before you go shopping. I am realizing that I need to emphasize this now because my substantial garden is just coming in. I've been harvesting chard and kale for a few weeks. The first variety of broccoli in the mixed seed pack is ready and the broccolini is loving life in a different bed this year. So, I need to think a lot before I make my list about what, if any veggies I need.

Also, my wife is working like a mad woman as she's in catering sales and people are allowed to get married again. WooHoo! My suggestion is to look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Think about who is going to be around for dinner each night, who's cooking, (assuming that's you) how much time do you have to get dinner ready, what other evening activities are going on, and consider what you already have in the house (like salad greens that need to be eaten in the next two days,) and then plan your meals based on those factors.

If you do all that before you make your shopping list, it will be a much less mystifying process. You should waste less food and money. You should be more prepared for dinner each night. Yes, it may be uncomfortable to force your brain to do the executive function heavy lifting at first. But it will become second nature eventually. And, my family love being able to check the "menu" on the fridge as much as I love not forgetting what my plan for the week was. Give it a go!

[As you can see, it doesn't have to be a master work. As long as it makes sense to you. Arrows, shorthand, etc. are all good. 



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


Weekly Menu

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The world just hits us harder: Calling customer service

Jun 11, 2021

So, I don’t intend this to come off as complaining. But the reality is that much of life is harder for us as ADHDers. Owning that hardness is a key to succeeding, which can be counterintuitive. I guess it is sort of a Buddhist ideal of accepting reality and not fighting it. But I won’t get too Zen with the whole thing. I will say that it is often the things that society labels as “easy” that we find hard. So it can be much harder for us to let go of the feeling that those things shouldn’t be hard. 


But once we let go, we can decide to create new strategies, new ideas, new ways to work around the shackles of the traditional world and make it bend to our needs. Wow. That sounds kind of grandiose now that I’ve written it. But I’m going to leave it in. Why? Because I just spent 1:07 on the phone with my mortgage company for our rental property because they didn’t pay the insurance out of the escrow and I got an email that the policy lapsed. Exactly what I wanted to deal with today. Actually it was my second call. So, “all day” I’ve been on the phone for about an hour and a half and I’m a bit punchy. 


But that was part of my inspiration for this post. The other part of the inspiration came from a conversation I had with a client last week. That conversation crystalized in my mind how difficult it is for so many of my clients to make “simple” phone calls. There are so many reasons why. If I remember, I think I’ll do a whole post on that soon. But here I just wanted to give a quick tip about the dreaded customer service phone calls. 


We live in a society where most of the things/services we use are beyond our own ability to fix. We interact with enough products that there will be problems. We use enough services that we will need help. And, the corporate world, with very few exceptions, has not made it easy for us to speak to the person who can help us. It was easier for anarchists to breach the Capital than it is for me, a paying customer, to get a person on the phone from YouTubeTV. 


Of course a neurotypical person might find one of these customer service calls annoying. But for many of us ADHDers, it might feel like climbing Everst. Technically possible… But I like my skin and all my toes. So, I employ some very simple tactics to make it more manageable. 

  • I never try to make a customer service call if I don’t have at least an hour free.

  • I have all the things I need with me/open on my desktop before I dial. 

  • I have an hour’s worth of office work to do while I wait on hold or an hour’s worth of stuff to do around the house.

  • I’m in a good headspace to make a decision about whatever the issue is. 

  • I ask myself if it is truly with the time and energy and if I’m likely to get any useful answer. 

  • I also have a great wireless headset. I’m hands free and roaming. 


So while I was on the phone with my super annoying mortgage company today I: 

  • Started this entry,

  • Refilled a prescription,

  • Emailed two clients,

  • Rescheduled a client,

  • Cleaned out my inbox,

  • Reorganized some of my business bookmarks,

  • Ordered something on Amazon,

  • Printed some paperwork, 

  • Ran to the bathroom,

  • And watered some seedlings.


That way, I only really wasted time while I was actually talking to the person on the phone, which was about 7 minutes out of the hour and a half. Not too bad. Takes a little planning. I had my list in front of me to keep ripping things off of. But, if you’ve got that… You should be golden. Try it.





Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



Share With Friends:
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