I just want to know if anyone else feels the same way I do and if anyone does...can you give me some advice or tips or point me in the direction of some reading that might help? 

Lately I find every day to be the biggest struggle. I don't know whether it's that school is out and all three of my children are home. We live in the very south-western corner of Louisiana so it's HOT and HUMID all day!!! So, sending the kids outside to play lasts all of maybe 10minutes and then they come back in drenched in sweat and then don't want to go back outside for a few days!  I told myself I was going to give them chores, and I tell them to do them...but then I fail to follow up and make sure they're doing them. My daughter, I'm afraid, has inherited ADHD. I find myself getting so aggravated with her because I ask her to go get something for me and she goes to that room but comes back with something totally different because she forgot I told her to get something. And bless her heart...I can tell myself that she doesn't mean to act that way, but yet I still get frustrated. I constantly blame my two oldest children, who mind you are only 7 and 4, when my 20mo old climbs on top of the table or when they leave the bathroom door open and he goes in and plays in the toilet!
I know that sounds AWFUL and I probably sound like a HORRIBLE Mother. But I'm just trying to be honest so that maybe someone can offer some advice.  I work from home, so I am usually trying to hurry up and get my work done, but there are so many distractions constantly going on that the work that should only take me maybe 3hrs a day ends up taking ALL day. I tried waiting to do it until at night and that just made me stay up late resulting in me sleeping late the next morning, meaning I took my morning dose when it was nearly afternoon and then the afternoon dose later than I should and then I'm up late again!!!! 

I just feel like my children deserve a better mother than me. They deserve a Mom who will take them to the park at 'just the right time of day', who will plan picnics with them, who will call their friends Moms to invite them over (I forget), who will bake cookies with them and let them help even though they may spill sugar and flour everywhere. I feel like they deserve a Mom who will come up with a strict schedule once and for all and they will go to bed at a certain time every night with their teeth adequately brushed and flossed. Their Mom should read stories to them every night at bedtime. Their Mom should fix them a good nutritional breakfast and not forget lunch just because she's not hungry. Their Mom should make the younger two take a nap at a good time of the day so that they're not cranky in the afternoon and end up having a late nap.

I know this has been very long. So I guess I'll sum it up: Trying to the perfect mom to three children as a whole is difficult. Trying to be the perfect Mom to three children individually is even more difficult.  I just wish I could find a way to be better without feeling as though I have to be perfect. I wish I could make my heart and brain understand that I don't have to be perfect, because sometimes I think that is the problem - I'm so overwhelmed with being the perfect Mom that I shut down completely because it's just too difficult to accomplish.


04/09/2013
I'm adding to this post almost three years later. One of the best pieces of advice I have to offer, which I think was offered by some you as well, is to not lose your sense of humor. Three years ago I did lose my sense of humor and I am so glad to have it back. I started seeing a therapist for a while and she gave me another piece of advice, which is to remember Q.T.I.P. - Quit Taking It Personally. The hateful things others can say to us sometimes, because we make easy targets, is often the result of their own unhappiness.

Since my original post, and with the help of the right treatment, I have earned a Bachelor's degree and am almost finished earning my Master's in the Art of Teaching. I was given an opportunity to teach a class specifically for students with autism spectrum disorder. How amazing this job is and I truly feel as though a higher power pointed me down this path. I love working with students with learning needs. So many of their frustrations with adolescence make perfect sense to me. I feel like this is my calling and for the first time in my life I can honestly say that I feel proud to be who I am - even with ADD. I feel like it makes me a better teacher because I can identify with some of the students' struggles. I understand the idea that it's not always that a student "won't do"; rather its that they "can't do" because I had many moments in my youth when I just "couldn't do" an assignment or make 'A's'.

My daughter was finally diagnosed with ADD and given meds. After a few weeks on meds I ran into her pediatrician in town and she asked how everything was going. I gave her a huge hug and became teary-eyed as I told her how wonderful she had been doing. She loves school now, loves to read, and helps out so much more at home. Our relationship has improved so very much because we are both better able to manage our symptoms. My relationship with all three of my kids has improved and not because I am able to accomplish all of the things I said I couldn't in my original post. I have just finally found some peace.

I hope and pray that you all have or will find some peace as well. If you haven't, hang in there. There are so many tools out there to help us, the hard part is finding the ones that fit our lives best. What works for me may not work for someone else. And what works this month may not work next month.

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YES! I feel like a bad mother a lot of the time, but you know what, I guarantee that you are a great mother who can only see her shortcomings. All that said, I had such a terrible day yesterday with my 2 year old that I cried for an hour last night after he FINALLY fell asleep at 10:45pm. My one year old has been fighting a nap all afternoon & he JUST fell asleep. I know bedtime will be awful tonight because he won't want to settle down, but I'm so tired right now, I'm just letting him sleep. My kids go to a Mom's morning out program for 3 hours 2-3xs pers week so I can get my work done, but this morning we were 30 minutes late. I forgot to put diapers in the 1 year old's bag, which the teacher pointed out when I picked him up, so she had to snag one from another kid's bag. NICE! I also forgot that today is water day for my older son - well, actually I didn't foget since I sent him to school in his swimsuit but left out dry shorts and underwear. They worked it out, but I just felt like a complete trainwreck on display this morning.

I don't know what the solution is, and I wish I had more to say to make you feel better, but if nothing else, I COMPLETELY know how you feel. I have a great therapist who has really helped me put things into perspective. I've also given up trying to be a perfect mother. I invite people over to my house for playdates even if the house is a wreck. I try to act like it doesn't bother me and after doing it a few times, it really doesn't that much. My friends are comfortable at my house because they know if their child wrecks something I won't be upset. I feel the worst when i allow my perfectionism to isolate me. Today after the AWFUL preschool experience compounded by my awful day yesterday, I was leaving the preschool and feeling like a big loser, but I reminded myself as I was driving away that EVERYONE makes mistakes. I didn't feel like making lunch so I grabbed some fruit & nuggets from Chik-fil-a & we ate lunch on the front porch. I relaxed and the kids played in the yard - not for long cause like you said, it's VERY hot. We live in SE GA, but in my head I reminded myself that it's not the end of the world that they're eating fast food & not sitting at the table.

I grew up with a mother who was consumed with being perfect. She clearly has undiagnosed ADHD, although she doesn't believe it. So much of my childhood was spent watching this anxious, stressed out woman trying to do more than was humanly possible even for someone without ADHD. It wasn't that she forgot LOTS of things that I remember most but her reactions and frustration with herself. She always felt like a failure and she was always telling us how bad she felt for messing up. Or, she was screaming at us to hurry up when she was the main reason we were late in the first place - then apologizing profusely for being upset and telling us how guilty she felt. It was exhausting & confusing as a child and as an adult it just irritates me with her. I DO NOT want to be like that. I love my mom & I understand now that she didn't know how to parent us differently, and in many ways she was a great mom. But, she would have been so much better if she had not been so hard on herself. Kids are very forgiving. I don't want my kids to feel like they have to be perfect, so even when I have days like I've had this week, I try very hard to just let it go. My therapist told me to pick one thing at a time to improve on. Right now I'm working on getting them to bed by 8:30pm. They've been in the bed every night this week by that time, but like I said earlier, last night my 2 yr old didn't actually fall asleep til 10:45. I let him have books in his bed and left a lamp on, but that's my goal.

My medication helps a lot, too. I've kind of gone on & on, and I hope some of this makes sense. I bet you're doing a LOT better than you give yourself credit for. I just really felt for you when i read your post & thought I'd try to offer some support. I know how tough it is! :-) Hang in there!

Jen
I can completley relate to this. I have three kids (ages 3,7,8) and I am always starting things like reading charts and chore charts and I never follow through, I can't get out the door on time for anything, I feel I can't be consistent with anything and children need that so badly. I am OCD so I am constantly on myself not to spend all day cleaning in circles because the mess that 3 kids make drive me NUTS and then I get snappy. I could never get their homework done or in the right book-bag for school and I was embarrassed all the time because I felt like the teachers were critical of me always misplacing permission slips or forgetting lunch money. My son also has an Autism diagnosis (he is high-functioning and has ADHD) but he desperatley needs structure in order to help him be successful, he need daily schedules and routines and I am so scatter-brained, impulsive, and hyper (I start 30 different projects at once and never finish anything) that I just can't provide what I feel he needs. It's difficult, I try to be honest with my kids as much as I can be and shower them with love... even if I can't be June Cleaver.
I can relate to this - I'm not sure that I didn't write this myself! I go through days where I wished I were Mrs. Organized or at least be in the same gene pool as Martha Stewart, with all sorts of educational activities planned out every day.

The thing is, I'm not Martha Stewart, and I never will be. I think the problem is that when we start trying to fit into the mold of the non-ADD world, we sometimes come up short. I've realized that the best way for me to remedy this is to have my child in summer camp and preschool, because I can't be my only child's teacher. I also have realized that I need to hire a mother's helper in the late afternoons. I have done the playdough and finger painting projects with my child, but those activities last maybe an hour at the most.

I've had very overwhelmed days where the only thing I can do is put my child in front of the tv (PBS of course) but I can't do that too much because I find it makes her hyper afterwards.

Do you have someone who can help you brainstorm as far as making sure meals are made? Do you have a husband or partner who can help? Can you have the older kids help prepare meals (if you do a Google search for kids activities in the kitchen, I'm sure there are some ideas).

I know it takes SO much courage and strength and determination to make even ONE little change on your current situation. Just realize that your kids don't need a perfect mom but a real mom. A real mom makes mistakes and it's ok. I've heard that it's ok to just mention to your children that you are having a bad day and you are trying to make it better.

For those who are having trouble with nap/sleep schedules, I highly highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution books (she has one for infants & one for toddlers/preschoolers). She makes you realize that MOST families have children's sleep issues - she has good solutions for most problems.

Oh, and another thing. This has helped somewhat with my child - I downloaded from Microsoft Office templates a reward chart for nighttime 'routine'. It's basically a list of different activities that need to be done (ie. bath, brush teeth, bedtime snack, story, potty). Every time a task has been done, it gets checked off. I don't always remember to do this since it's not natural for me to be in a routine. But when we do the chart it helps us stay on track. If I only had a chart for MYSELF during the day, maybe that would help.

Please write back and let us all know how you are doing. Hang in there!!
Thanks so much guys!!! Just writing my feelings down did wonders for me! Sometimes I feel like people around me care and understand and then there are other times that I feel they can't possibly understand because they aren't like me.

I have been trying the 'improve one thing at a time' approach lately and it's helped a lot. I guess that's the impulsive side to me - wanting to fix everything all at once. So thanks Jenn for recommending that! As for trying to get help at home, I'm afraid it's just not possible at this moment. I wish though. I think that would definitely be helpful, but knowing me...I'd end up feeling guilty that I needed help. LOL! I know, I need to quit with the guilt trip. So, what have I improved on? Well, I have made sure that my laundry doesn't stay in the basket until all of the clothes are worn. Last night I folded my boys' clothes and put them in the basket thinking, oh I'll put them away tomorrow. Then I thought, No no no....go put them away NOW! I did actually make cookies with the kids and let them help and I didn't once get frustrated! I took my little girl out to the movies Friday night - just me and her- to see Ramona and Beezus! Very cute movie!!! She and I had a wonderful night together! One night I managed to start cooking dinner at five! I let my little girl have a friend over to spend the night! And mostly...I've been working on trying to not be so hard on myself. It's really hard to do that because I feel like if I'm hard on myself then I'll be more successful in my attempts. But, in a way, I think it has been the opposite. Being more forgiving of myself has kept me a little more upbeat and positive allowing me the will to try harder. I was late for an appointment this morning, which was kind of crappy, but I was able to bump it back 30min...so at least I was able to keep it. I got my kids' uniforms purchased last weekend so I have that out of the way now. The only 'back to school' items left to get are socks, my daughter's school supplies and some light up twinkle toe shoes (anyone else's little girl obsessed with those shoes??)

So, I've made some improvements, more than I intended or planned.

Thanks so much for your replies and your suggestions!!! And keep them coming!!!!
Sounds like you are doing alot of really good things. Just from your posts I can tell that you genuinely love your kids and want to be the best mom you can for them. That in itself makes you better than alot of moms out there... don't be so hard on yourself!!
I am not totally convinced the sterotype of the "ideal" mom is the best thing for kids anyway. I was raised in a home where everything was structured and we had charts and posters and family game night and all those things you associate with a "perfect family". It always felt like it was more for appearences than anything else and I grew up with alot of issues, an eating disorder, a personality disorder, and ton's of insecurities because obvioucly I couldn't fall in line with what was expected of me. I think being a happy mom that expresses her emotions appropriatley is SO much more important than trying to be perfect. If it's an impulsive "Hey let's go to the park right now!" and you forget juice bottles and the diaper bag but you played in the sand with your kids then your 10 times better (in my opinion) than the mom who plans for the park at 3PM on Wednesday and packs the uber healthy lunch and then stays on the phone the whole time she's at the park.
It is SO obvious that you love your kids, and that's the most important thing!

I completely agree with Bridget about the "ideal" mom thing. I was also raised in a home where everything appeared to be perfect, but so much of it was for appearances. I described in my previous post what things were like behind closed doors with my scattered mother and how anxious all that trying to look perfect made her. Today, all our "posed" family pictures make me sad because I know what kind of emotional toll it took to get those portraits. I want my children to have a happy well-adjusted mother. I, too, wound up with an eating disorder trying to be perfect and trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. The good part, though, was that all my issues forced me to get LOTS of therapy, and I try my best to do things differently with my kids.

Oh! The other thing i wanted to mention that has helped me is http://www.flylady.net/
This site is somewhat of a how-to guide to keeping a clean house, but it is WAY more. It has been SO helpful in allowing me to let go of my perfectionism. You should check it out.

Again, it is so apparent that you are a wonderful mom. Hang in there!
being an ADD person I am on tons of email lists, some relating to ADD :) I just recently received an email from Marla Cummins, who is an ADD coach. For some reason, she is giving out her PDF e-book called "Smart Goals" on how to get out of being 'stuck, overwhelmed and procrastinating'. It's like 90 pages - it's been helpful to me so far. She says to go to her websites http://addprocrastination.com/ or http://www.marlacummins.com for anyone to receive the e-book. I suppose it's to promote her coaching services. Take a look!
Thanks so much!!! I really can't tell you all how awesome it is to read your feedback! It really has been uplifting to have people that feel the same as me give me advice and positive comments. And I totally agree with you all about families that put on a show. And I suppose my family was a little like that....and sadly, I suppose sometimes I feel as though that is the only reason I try so hard at perfection - for the sake of keeping up appearances. I just never realized it until you guys said something. I guess everyone does it in some way huh? I mean, there have been times when someone has 'just stopped by' and I was COMPLETELY embarrassed because my house was a horrible mess. Yet a week later, that very same person can be 'planning' to come for a visit and I will stress out trying to get the house clean! And it never fails does it.....the standard comment to make once someone enters your home is, "So sorry....please excuse the mess." - as though it isn't normally that messy! LOL..... *sigh* Why do we (or I) do that? Why does it matter so much?

I went to my psychologist's office today to take the CPT II test again, to see if my current meds/dosage is helping. When I was done the lady administering the test was going over my results explaining to me that my current meds help, but that I am still extremely impulsive. Then she showed me a tiny section on the report that supposedly showed her that I try really hard to stay focused and to get things right. I told her, "Well....that just explains it all doesn't it?" She said, "What?" I said, "That right there, is the source of all of my stress!!!" She said, "Ahh...I see what you're saying...absolutely! If you have the desire to make things perfect, yet you're brain just can't seem to get things right...then yeah! Most definitely that's the reason you're so stressed!" So funny to see that on paper! And like I told her, when an 'X' would pop on the screen...it's almost as though I could feel half of my brain thinking, "Oh...that's an X...you're not supposed to press the space bar" and the other half of my brain saying, "Hmm...o'well...". LOL!!! And that's how it is every day!!! I know what should be done and what I shouldn't be doing at any given moment....but there's just some link that's missing that connects the desire and the ability.
You are not alone. My struggles are becoming worst as i get older. I have four kiddos... And am ur neigbor, lol. IM in South Texas. I think alot of us can relate. I also come up with so many ideas on chores and rules but NEVER stick to them and the kids know it by now. Its sad when ur daughter begs for a schedule and chore charts.... Im rushing right now, But im so glad i found this sight.... Just wanted to let you know U are NOT alone........
Thanks Patricia! Knowing that others feel the same way helps so much! The day I first posted this topic, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. Amazingly enough...just getting my thoughts out made all of the difference in the world...because I've been to this site enough to know that there aren't many posts that go unnoticed...which means i KNEW SOMEONE would read my post and either relate to me or have encouragement. So I'm glad you found this site too! Stick around! Even if you don't post anything yourself, reading others' posts can help!



Patricia Withers said:
You are not alone. My struggles are becoming worst as i get older. I have four kiddos... And am ur neigbor, lol. IM in South Texas. I think alot of us can relate. I also come up with so many ideas on chores and rules but NEVER stick to them and the kids know it by now. Its sad when ur daughter begs for a schedule and chore charts.... Im rushing right now, But im so glad i found this sight.... Just wanted to let you know U are NOT alone........
Oh....and Jen....I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Flylady.net site!!!! LOVE IT!!!! Thank you SOOO much for sharing that with me! I've been shining my sink since Friday!!! AND so far I've gotten dressed to lace up tennis shoes for the past three days! Wow...I can't believe how getting dressed and having make up on and wearing tennis shoes SERIOUSLY puts some 'pep in my step' LOL....that was cheesey...I know....I couldn't resist though! It's so funny because I used to watch commercials for cleaners or whatever and think, "Now WHO in the heck seriously walks around cleaning their house in slacks and button up shirts????" NOW I KNOW! hahaha... I'm not getting dressed QUITE that nicely....but I am getting dressed and putting a bra on (HA) and putting my make up on!!! It's almost like magic!!!!! O.k.....that's enough I guess. I am procrastinating! ; )
Stephanie, it sounds like you are doing really well!!! I like some of the stuff from FLY lady as well, although I find I can never manage all of it!!

When you posted about getting nuggets for lunch and eating on the porch, all I could think was that your kids will remember your "porch picnics" with them far more then all the meals that you may eat at the table. And what great role modeling - you were having a crappy day, and you found a way to have some fun and relax, and yet you were beating yourself up about it!!

One thing to keep very firmly in mind - you are ADD, and you DO NOT need to comform to the non-ADD's definition of a "perfect" mother. If you try, you will be unhappy and uncomfortable with yourself most of the time. You can be your very best ADD-self mom, loving, creative, spontaneous, empathetic, somewhat disorganized & somehwhat forgetful - but able to deal with it. You can choose to role model the stress, anxiety and soul destroying lack of self esteem that comes with trying to be the "perfect" anything, or you can choose to model loving your ADD self, learning ADD friendly coping stratagies, and using humour and forgiveness (of yoursefl) to get you through the times when you mess up - and you will, 'cause we all do!!!

So I think it sounds like you are doing really, really well. Sure, you have had some crappy days!! We all do at times!! But it all depends on how you look at it. Like lunch on the porch - you can look at it as they were having junk food and were not eating at the table, or you can look at it as you were having a porch picnic with them as a creative, spontaneous and loving way of turning a bad day around. Take your pick!!

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