If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy
Self care for the neurotypical parent is vital to thriving in an ADHD household. Many older adults with ADHD bear the scars of shame from their childhood. RSD (rejection sensitivity dysphoria) is a common factor of ADHD. Shame from being misunderstood as a bad child, both in school and at home intensifies this. There was limited education and knowledge of tools to help ADHD children thrive. The resulting RSD is a huge obstacle to effective communication as an adult. I am determined to do better for my daughter, Little Bit. I have still been guilty of yelling at my girls. However, prioritizing self care enables me to respond better and model good emotional control.
Exercise and Vitamin D for wellness
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One of my most crucial self care activities for parenting Little Bit is getting regular exercise. This is easier said than done sometimes, as a busy working, homeschooling mom. I have made it a priority though, and my Fitbit is a great reminder. I’ve often found it easiest to fit my exercise in during the kiddos exercise therapy (AKA gymnastics for us). The time slot is built into my schedule, away from home. There are fewer distractions of the never ending to do list.
During COVID-19 and the winter months I have had to get a little more creative. I have invested in good layers for walking or running outside rather than hitting a nearby gym or rec center. Here are some of my favorite leggings here and here that have kept me warm enough for a brisk walk or run in near freezing weather. I love layering with these tank tops. They are long enough for my long torso, and fitted enough to stay put under other layers. During warmer weather I love these capris or shorts. Investing in quality shoes is a must too to keep the joints happy as I age. My recent go to has been these running shoes from ASICS.
Other than the gear to keep me comfortable, the exercise to boost my coping and mood is free. Exercising outdoors comes with an added bonus of boosting vitamin D, which is commonly deficient. Good music is a must during my exercise. These are my favorite headphones for my me time. Even when I had Little Bit in the stroller during Biggs gymnastics, I can wear just one. It enables me to enjoy some music, while still being able to enjoy some time observing and discussing the world with Little Bit.
Creating calm in the ADHD chaos
Other self care strategies for me may sound counterintuitive. One of my mottos is “work smart, not hard”. Another favorite is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Taking charge of my time/environment with tactics like block scheduling, freezer meal prep, decluttering strategies, etc. help with my sanity. Chaos can ensue with an ADHD husband and child, on top of the normal challenge of being a working, homeschooling mom. Check out my post on freezer meal prep here. This helps me eat healthy, feed my family well, save money, time, and stress from cooking dinner every day.
ADHD affects every aspect of life in our household. However, I have found some peace in deciding that I was not willing to have a victim mentality in face of some of the ADHD challenges. I spent 10+ years not understanding that tasks such as decluttering are crippling to my ADHD husband. After 2 kids, and years of more stuff coming into the house than going out, the clutter was overwhelming. I have now decided to embrace all of the online resources available to conquer the clutter. If I want a change, I have the ability to choose to do something about it.
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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.