Two nights ago as I was snuggling my eight-year-old boy before bed, he turned to me and said "Mama, if Emilia had ADHD too and you had three of us with it, would that be hard for you?"...
Oh wow, wow, WOW. So. Many. Feels. My chest got heavy with the thought of having yet ANOTHER person with ADHD in my life. Yet in among this heaviness my heart lightened with so much love directed towards this insightful, mindful little boy and my breath caught. I took a moment to roll around in those feelings before I responded, and when I did I told him, "Baby, it would be challenging for me, yes. And I am so glad we found out you have it because look at how well you're doing now."
My journey, and my family's journey, with this Beast has been beyond difficult and I won’t go into it in detail, but ADHD is NOT what you think it is. I don't usually tell people that my husband was diagnosed a year and a half ago with ADHD, and that it's genetic, and that my son was diagnosed less than two months ago. Rather, I call it the "Beast" and describe the symptoms – irrational and unpredictable mood swings, ANGER, inability to be consistent, difficulties with self-regulation, inability to follow through and hold to commitments, impulsivity, troubles focusing, and comorbidity with other chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety. I don't even label it unless someone asks specifically because ADHD is very misunderstood in today's world and oftentimes when someone hears “ADHD” they brush it off as hyperactivity and lack of focus. In reality an ADHD brain is wired differently than a typical brain and people do not grow out of it. It’s for life.
The reason I'm sharing in such a public manner now is because Unlearning SuperMom is all about accepting ourselves as parents AS WE ARE. It's about being mindful and really looking at our views and opinions, about not blindly accepting the norm but coming up with our own personal definition of what SuperMom is.
SuperMom to me used to mean:
Having my shit figured out
Being on top of every event in the lives of my kids, my husband, and myself
Working full time as a CPA and also having a family
Having a clutter-free and perfectly clean home
Promoting only the best behaviour in myself and in my family
Being a woman who has it all, who is in control of her life, and doesn't need anyone's help.
After the Beast kicked me in the gonads (do girls have gonads??) here's what SuperMom means to me now:
Sinking into the moments in my life where I have absolutely NO control and doing my best to be okay with it
Taking my eight-year-old boy to his counsellor appointment and then being gentle on myself two days later when I cry in the bathroom at work over my feelings of inadequacy
Dancing by myself in the kitchen when a good song comes on
Teaching my kids that "negative feelings" aren't actually bad at all, that all of our feelings are valid and important – "You're angry that I won't let you play video games longer? Use your words, tell me about it. It really sucks doesn't it?" – rather than sending them to their rooms because their reactions were over the top
Also being okay with the times I do send them to their rooms because I’ve had a tough day and just can’t do the mindful teaching thing in that moment
Falling down and getting back up
Dropping into joy as much as possible at the simple things: the feel of a breeze or the first sip of a perfect cup of coffee
Looking at my husband when he's in the midst of his Beast-driven symptoms, taking a deep breath, WILLING myself not to react, yet not always succeeding
Taking my girl out on a date to get our nails done and not judging myself that she's only four
Going for a walk and feeling the absolute bliss of little hands creeping their way into mine
Taking the time to go to yin yoga, to train for and run half marathons, to spend the random ten minutes meditating, and to do whatever else I need to do to stay healthy and fulfilled
Being a woman who is doing her best, who shines a light into her dark corners and sees behaviours that she is not 100% okay with, yet is gentle on herself and works on what she sees
Let's drive this movement of unlearning SuperMom by accepting ourselves for who we are and supporting others who are on the same journey. Unlearning SuperMom posted on Facebook recently:
"We all have our ways of coping, and some methods are healthier than others. All you have to do is notice - not get it right... We are all just humans, doing our best. And sometimes eating cookies (okay, eating feelings...sometimes I eat my feelings) happens."
I ate some chocolate today, some amazeball pieces of chocolate, because my feelings felt so big and I decided I didn't want to expend the energy to process them at that moment. Tomorrow I may decide to process them. Or I may decide to eat more chocolate. Either way I know I'm going to be okay.
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