Navigating Motherhood with ADHD: Understanding and Supporting Challenges

Motherhood: a rollercoaster ride of love, laughter, and a sprinkle of chaos. Throw in an ADHD-wired brain with executive dysfunction in the mix, and it’s like turning up the challenge dial! (game on).

Being a mom is tough; it’s a role that often demands selflessness and constant attention to the needs of others. However, just because it’s a challenge does not mean that it’s a reflection of you and a character flaw; it just means that you need to learn how to navigate in a world that may not be inherently accommodating to the unique workings of your brain. Understanding how to support yourself can make a big difference. Here are some things I found helpful to focus on when navigating motherhood.

A large part of ADHD is learning how to regulate your emotions. It’s not uncommon for you to experience intense emotions and big feelings, making it difficult to move forward with things. The even harder challenge is managing your own emotions and then managing someone else’s emotions. When you can recognize when you are dysregulated, you can explore and look for patterns or underlying factors that are present.

Another aspect of managing your emotions with ADHD as a mom is grappling with negative thoughts and comparisons. Getting caught in the cycle of unhealthy comparisons and self-talk is easy, especially when societal expectations feel so out of reach. The pressure to excel in every aspect of motherhood can lead to self-doubt and burnout, manifested in late-night crafting sessions or losing yourself in the rabbit hole of research in those moments of frustration. It’s hard, but reframing self-talk can shift the narrative from inadequacy to empowerment when we can build that awareness.

Someone once asked me, “What do you do for fun?” I responded, “I have kids.” Saying it out loud made me rethink what I needed for myself. You can quickly become emotionally exhausted when you don’t know what brings you joy. Learn to listen to your body and mind, find a self-care plan that feels right for you, and take care of yourself when you feel triggered. Whether it’s ensuring sufficient rest, scheduling alone time, or pursuing hobbies, dedicating time to self-care is essential for your mental and emotional well-being. When your battery is on red, you spend so much time stuck instead of functioning. Put that energy to its best use by taking care of yourself. Is it easy? No, but it’s necessary.

Navigating Motherhood with ADHD: Understanding and Supporting Challenges

I’m sure, as a mom, you know the struggle of mental chaos all too well. Balancing a million thoughts, tasks, and duties can quickly spiral into a whirlwind of chaos and the next thing you know, you are walking into a room and forgetting why you are there. It’s like watching 1,000 TV channels, all with different stations, trying to concentrate on one station and not get distracted. Supporting your working memory helps reduce that mental load, leading to increased focus and clearer thinking.

The importance of a supportive community cannot be overstated. Being around individuals who embrace you for your true self, without criticism or the pressure to conceal who you are, can be highly rejuvenating. Look for people who understand and resonate with your journey. Make spending time with them a top priority. You don’t have to go it alone.

Motherhood can present unique challenges for those with ADHD, yet with understanding, self-compassion, and support, you can manage these challenges effectively. Prioritizing self-care, tackling negative thoughts and emotional regulation, supporting your working memory, and seeking support from understanding individuals can help you navigate the journey of motherhood. Learning about yourself and your needs can bring a sense of freedom.

Understanding yourself is a beautiful thing. 

If you want to learn more about how coaching can support you on your journey, schedule a complimentary get-acquainted appointment with one of our coaches.

From all at the Center for Living Well with ADHD, we wish all moms a joyous Mother’s Day. 

Kelly Thorell

Kelly Thorell, PCAC

ADHD Coach and Life Coach, Executive Skills Coach

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