You should have seen me, digging through my purse like I was looking for mamma’s oxys this morning. Couldn’t find my stimulant meds anywhere. Cursed some gods.
I am the lunch packer for the kids (except on weeks where I’m organized enough to have them do it themselves), and I generally do this in the morning. Yes, I know that doing it the night before would be a great way to make mornings less stressful. It’s also a great tool for hauling myself out of bed really early in the morning. And…last night in particular, I had one of my vertigo migraines. When that happens, the only thing to do is go to bed and pray that I can walk upright in the morning.
I didn’t have time for missing medications, I had lunches to make. Without the meds, however, making the lunches is a much more frustrating process. I angrily massacred some oranges, slapped some cream cheese on some bagels, barely mumbled “outta the kitchen” to the kids as they came to hover over my shoulder to see what I was packing.
I wasn’t much better off last night. Honeybee (our fifth-grader) generally comes home from a horseback riding lesson on Monday nights, very hungry. We all know how that goes. But I’ll tell you anyway…she made an announcement that this had been the first time in two years that any of her parents had sat through a whole lesson (she likes it when we come to watch but it isn’t always possible because the lessons are on a school night and we have other things that need to happen like feeding her brothers and helping them with their homework). This isn’t at all true. If I wasn’t exhausted and my meds hadn’t worn off, and I wasn’t feeling particularly raw about my inability to be a perfect parent this week, I wouldn’t care and I would have said “well that’s great that Daddy could make it for the whole lesson” and put food down in front of her and moved on, because I’m pretty good at not being baited by mere children. Usually what happens (at least at our house) is that the parent picking her up catches the last half of the lesson. However, twice in the past year I have been able to stay for a whole lesson and my husband has also been able to do a whole lesson a couple of times. The rest of the conversation went something like this, and should be cited as an example in a book on how NOT to deal with your ADHD child when they are hungry/their meds are wearing off/they’re looking for a fight.
“Honeybee, that’s just not true.”
“YES IT IS”
“NO, IT’S NOT”
“YES, IT. IS.”
“Honeybee, we have lived in this house for just over a year. Twice, since we have lived in this house, I’ve gone to your whole lesson and daddy has done it too.”
“NO YOU HAVEN’T.”
At this point, I’m 30 paces past my limit. I say:
“YOU WIN”, and go hide in the bathroom.
“GOOD, I WIN”
I probably shouldn’t even be reinfusing my body with cortisol, reliving this…but anyway, at this point I realized that if I didn’t remove myself from earshot, that the dark side of the force was about to put on my parenting shoes and unleash a can of whoopass. I silently slipped out the back door, and met up with Sonny in the garage. That’s his little hidey spot for about 10 minutes after he gets home. He goes out there to decompress. He teaches all day, and then comes home and it’s really his only break during the day. Normally, I leave him alone when he’s out there, for that 10 minutes. In this situation, naturally, I had to ruin it for him by sharing this obnoxious episode.
I knew that if I left her alone to eat for about 10 minutes that the situation would probably remedy itself. So I did.
This is the definition of parenting children with ADHD. When you also have ADHD yourself. You don’t get the luxury of temper tantrums. It’s the definition of adulthood that you are supposed to “be the adult”. Even when YOU are hungry. Even when YOUR MEDS have worn off for the day. Even when you, too, are perhaps hungry, and tired. Even when your poor husband is trying to hide in the garage for 10 minutes, to affirm his own grip on sanity (sorry dude…I’ll try bitching to the dogs next time).
I have found every way possible to politely tell the kids when I need a few minutes, when I need space, when I’m just not feeling quite right and that it has nothing to do with them, when I’m feeling really grumpy and need to figure out where to direct it appropriately, and I’m good at it, but sometimes, all that energy spent on coping, just exhausts me.
When I’m exhausted, it’s not unusual for me to have one of my excellent vertigo migraines…this loops us back around to the beginning. The vertigo meant that I couldn’t drive to pick up one of my prescriptions (that I had to have), which meant I had to send my husband, who was already tired from driving kids around, and working all day…we went to bed.
And I started my morning unable to find my meds.
Where were they? In the same purse I’d looked in 8 times. Right there. The whole time. And who do the kids ask when they need someone to find something? Me. Why can I find their stuff, but can’t find my own? Apparently, the lesson learned is: Next time, ask the kids to look for the meds while I pack the lunches. They’ll be diggin’ through mammas purse for the pills like champs in no time. That’ll be genius parenting, right there.
I think the best piece of advice my mother ever gave me about parenting, was that it is perfectly acceptable for mommy to sit on one side of the baby gate and cry, while baby sits on the other side. (Alas, no, I was never asked to dig up oxys for her.) Perhaps this is what I need to meditate upon, to pull myself out of this awkward feeling of imperfection. This rejection of forgiveness of myself. This terror that I am not what they need. That I am not up to the task. That tiny feeling that I am just a person, and that I’m not enough as I am.