You know the scenario – the classroom mom asks you to help and you just can’t say no. Soon you are volunteering to be cookie mom, or classroom mom, or the in charge of the fundraiser mom and in the midst of all of that we somehow forget that our children need us. I was the cookie mom, and the classroom mom and even the in charge of the fundraiser mom so I know how easy it is to think that you are working to make the world a better place for your child. But…in the midst of all of that my children were losing out. Why? Because they did have me around and were losing out because all of my time was taken up by volunteering for what I thought was a service for them. I was ignoring their immediate needs because I was so busy and so tired.
Looking back, I know that some of the jobs I volunteered for really did help my children but I also know that some of those jobs were taken because I just couldn’t say no – I was afraid of what all of the other mothers would think. I hate to admit it but I rarely said no because I was concerned that people would think I was selfish, or arrogant, or I could not handle my kids – you name it – it went through my head. Big mistake. I wish my mother had given me the advice that Lord Mountbatten’s mother did. “My mother said, ‘Don’t worry about what people think now. Think about whether your children and grandchildren will think you’ve done well’.” (Lord Mountbatten)
Raising a child or children with ADHD can be exhausting. They seem to have an amazing amount of energy and are either on the move or constantly asking you questions. Yesterday I was in a shoe store just looking around. For about 15-20 minutes I heard a small voice talking to his mother. He would pretend to be lost, and yelled to her to find him, he asked her all sorts of questions about shoes, he picked up shoes and asked her more questions and he literally never stopped talking. Now, I don’t know if he had ADHD but I do know that the more questions he asked, the more tired his mom’s answers were. I don’t blame her – I was tired just listening to him!
That is why it is so important for moms of ADHD children, and in reality all moms, to take care of themselves by learning to say no. They need to learn to say no to the things that zap their energy and yes to the things that feed their energy. So the next time the PTA president corners you and asks you to help out, think long and hard about who will benefit. If it impacts your children in any negative way, then politely tell her that unfortunately you are a bit busy right now and maybe you will be able to help out next time. Then go do something fun and add to your energy bank!