The AD Hates Me

The other morning, I was grumpy about how hard it is to make coffee. It’s not actually hard; I was just tired and impatient. I ladle grounds into a little reusable filter for my Keurig, and I am hasty enough that it’s easy to get coffee grounds everywhere, and I’m picky enough that I hate it when coffee grounds are everywhere.

I decided I needed to reframe my thinking about my daily routine. This can be a meditative process, one that I enjoy. I will be in the moment as I spoon in the coffee. I was still hasty when putting the lid on the little filter, fumbled the thing, and ended up kind of chucking the filter with its top falling off into the machine, where grounds spilled everywhere. “Crap!” I cried. F— meditation!

I really value the concept of mindfulness. It’s important. I just can’t remember to practice it and I also low-key hate it because I get bored and antsy when I’m supposed to be breathing or stretching or whatever else. Instead I rush around, hunched and deprived of oxygen, feeling anxious.

It feels like other people seem to have it together, and I just cannot achieve that level of functionality. For a long time when my kids were little, I would feel bad about myself when I would show up a couple of minutes late to the soccer game and without some piece of equipment we were supposed to bring. Then some mom next to me would reach into her equipment, set up a UV-protecting umbrella, give my kids a snack and perhaps a Band-Aid or sunscreen, and take a sip of coffee out of her thermos that was not still sitting on her car roof like mine was. I guess I chalked some of this struggle up to my sheer number of kids (dozens) and all the stuff I had on my plate (too much).

The thing is though, my kids are older now, and while I still cannot keep track of this many schedules or get this many people out of the house on time, things are generally easier. They are modestly more functional. They’ve quit all the sports (OK, I’ll admit it, I’m mostly glad). They complain about piano practice but can be goaded into doing it. They can clothe and feed themselves, at least theoretically. The chaos and freakouts are definitely on the decline, although there was the time recently when a child ran away from home* because I wanted him to wear (comfortable, athletic) pants to a cocktail-attire wedding, and I am confused by how many arguments I have to have about the shower.

What their improved functionality is shedding light on, however, is that I am, myself, still struggling. The first time I reached the stop sign on my street and a bowl of oatmeal slid down the windshield to rest on the hood, I was surprised. It turned out really well though because I was alone, and I was able to simply get out, fetch it, and still eat it. I laughed and kept going to work. The second time, I was with the older two, and I heard the quiet scraping of the bowl as it began its journey. I desperately wish I had had the presence of mind to say, “I wish I had some oatmeal” before it made its appearance and slid down the windshield. The kids may possibly have enjoyed some laughs at my expense since I had told them about the other time. Don’t worry: I was still able to fetch and eat the cereal.

Another time, soon after my middle child’s school dropoff procedures changed, I pulled up to the crosswalk where he is supposed to exit the vehicle. We had all been talking about music in the car, and I started telling them something about Nirvana–and I plumb forgot to let the kid get out until he crowed, “You forgot me!” I nearly drove through the dropoff line and just carried on to my own school with Middle in the car! It was a rainy day and there were more cars and chaos and I spaced. But I don’t really know why I did it again a few weeks later.

These types of mistakes are hilarious and I don’t mind laughing at myself. But things get more embarrassing when they happen twice. If things are outside of my routine I especially mess them up. I forgot the youngest, who usually got a ride home with another family, when he went to a friend’s house after school instead. He’s so quiet that I literally didn’t notice he wasn’t there until the friend texted, wondering when I was going to get him. When he stayed after school for the book fair with a different friend, I also forgot to pick him up. And the first friend I’d forgotten him with was with the second friend I forgot him with, and I’m not sure I’ll ever quite live it down. (Melanie and Katherine, thanks for keeping my kid alive.) I’m sort of hoping that this has not impacted the child’s self-esteem, because I really do like this one and I care about him quite a lot. I felt a little better when I totally forgot a different child the next time, this time because I’d taken Middle to the orthodontist before school was over and thus forgot Eldest at the school we both spend every day at.

More than once I have opened the microwave to heat my coffee in my classroom and had students catch me discovering an old, forgotten cup of coffee already in the microwave. The teacher next door lets me into my classroom when I lock my keys in way too often. And sometimes my spouse watches me play the game of Chores Rabbit Hole, where I start by folding laundry while continually warming up water to make hummingbird nectar but forgetting to add the sugar while the water is warm. And then finally remembering and heading outside to hang the feeder, realizing there that I wanted to hang another suet block once it stopped raining, turning to weeding, considering getting ready to chainsaw up the fallen tree limb but stopping myself from going down that tangent when I realize I had meant to plant the garden seedlings while it was sunny, doing so, turning the compost, weeding the vegetable beds, returning in, and realizing I didn’t finish the laundry I had been determined to finish.

I recently got an ADHD diagnosis. This is no mean feat when you are an adult female because they don’t believe you. This has been so validating and it helps me have grace on myself. But I still get so frustrated sometimes, because it’s hard having a weakness that’s so visible. I am proud of being a smart, strong, an independent person. And then I flub and I fumble and I forget. I suppose it keeps me humble. And humility in weakness leads to empathy and compassion. I just wish that instead of blanking on my commitments I would forget about all the times I was completely doofy. Is that a thing? I’ll try to remember to keep my fingers crossed.

*I found him.

Kitten Rescue Fixation
Using Time Wisely
More Wise Time Usage
P.S. We made it to the wedding with pants but he does not have to smile for photos.


2 responses to “The AD Hates Me”

  1. That is NOT the child I thought was refusing to wear pants!

    1. Once one becomes reasonable, another becomes unreasonable.

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