Parenting with ADHD - Organizing It
I kicked myself mentally as I pulled up to the school. There she was, all alone, arms crossed and leaning up against the brick wall of the band room with her horn at her feet. "Dad, you forgot," she said. "Again." Her band directors weren't super thrilled with me, either. I had gotten distracted by a work project and neglected to remember to pick her up after practice. That was a cold car ride home. It wasn't just her disappointment in me, it was my disappointment in myself that really got to me.
Parenting with ADHD can be full of expectations. Our kids expect us to do things on time and consistently, and so do their teachers and coaches and youth leaders. The more children we have involved in the more events, the more opportunities we have to forget! And there are like a THOUSAND different apps that we're expected to use to keep up with what practice is on what day at what time and when the next band concert or game or rehearsal or rocket launch or underwater gorilla wrestling meet is. It's overwhelming. (But hey, at least those gorillas are entertaining.)
So how do we keep track of it all? I know - yet another app, right? :) Well...maybe, but probably not. Chances are that simpler is better. Our creative brains LOVE a good in-app distraction, but we NEED a singular organizer. We will benefit greatly from having all family events on one calendar. Apps like TimeTree and Cozi and hundreds of others help you put all family events in one easy-to-access place. However, other clients I've had in the past take an even simpler approach and consolidate family events into their work calendars. For folks who may have unshareable, confidential or proprietary information on their work calendars, one of the other apps mentioned is usually preferable.
While a calendar is a really helpful tool, we might be tempted to kick ourselves even harder for events we've still missed somehow or that we can't attend. This is a great time to remember that us ADHD'ers can't expect ourselves to be CONsistent, but we can expect ourselves to be PERsistent. This simply means that even if we mess up royally today, we get up tomorrow and try again. We set a goal and go after it, regardless of our recent failures. I'll write more about this attitude shift in my next post: Parenting with ADHD: Staying Persistent.
- Martin Altman LPC