ADHD Parenting: without expectations
I didn't really have any expectations of motherhood, or of my children.
I chalk this up partially to my own brand of childhood, and partially to my ADHD. Having children- and frankly having a life- feels much to me like going on a trip. Like many adults with ADHD, I find it very difficult to plan for a trip, because a trip sometime in the future is in the not-now. I can't put myself into the experience of the trip enough to understand what I might need to bring. I can't anticipate, think about what I'd like to do, because I'm not there.
I consider myself fortunate. I don't think I had any grand expectations of what my children would be like. I've watched for signs of certain genetics being passed on- but no sense of what I wanted them to be, other than happy and healthy. That means that even though I'm currently chronically exhausted, I don't consider that my life as a parent should be a different way. I don't wish my children to be different. I will not mourn interests they do not have, or clothing I don't get to dress them in, or needs they do have that I didn't plan on dealing with.
I'm thinking about this today because of an amazing piece I just read on the Atlantic. I would strive to be as grounded as the author who says:
Maybe it's my Buddhist outlook, but I'm not consumed with worry and frenzy and despair like I'm "supposed" to be. I don't enjoy that my 12-year-old son is still in diapers and sometimes purposely makes a mess in the bathroom. Or that he dumped his Thanksgiving dinner on my sister-in-law's pregnant belly. Or that he screams in the parking lot of Whole Foods until people call the cops on us. On the other hand, he is my son, and he is what I have. And he has a nice smile.
I do not face the same challenges as this author. But I am inspired to add to my ADHD lack-of-future-thinking to be as present as her, in order to keep running at a sustainable pace.