Ladies, this blog is for you!
Over the last few weeks, I have had a few phone calls from people discussing how ADHD is affecting their marriage in a negative way and asking me for help.
This has motivated me to write this blog, can we really have a happy marriage with ADHD along for the ride?
I believe that we can!
Whether your husband has ADHD, your child has ADHD or you have ADHD, it can be a huge challenge in our relationships.
Trust me, as someone who has a child living with ADHD, an adult step-son with ADHD, an undiagnosed husband with ADHD and I am certain a dog with ADHD, I am surrounded by ADHD family members. Aside from the cat, I am the only one in my house without it and we all manage to live happily, well, most of the time!
ADHD can put a huge amount of pressure on a household. In my experience and working with a lot of mothers, it is generally the mums who are juggling work and their child’s appointments. The men come to some of those appointments but not all of them and this is a huge pressure on mum to have to juggle work and care for her child/ren. A lot of the time mum is the one the schools are calling to come and pick up their children.
Mums can be doing it very tough.
However, don’t forget the Dad’s. Sometimes they are struggling with ADHD themselves and may not even know it yet, or they just don’t want to know figuring there is nothing they can do about it now anyhow.
Dad’s carry a huge responsibility. Traditionally men have been the ‘providers’ and they ‘fix things’ ADHD isn’t something they can ‘fix’ and this is something that they may feel a bit lost over. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to help you, themselves or their child/ren.
They want to be able to support their family, but they may be at a loss as to how to actually do it, and they are doing the best that they can.
As a woman, we are traditionally the nurturers, the ones that are generally softer in a lot of relationships and the ones that can be organising the household. What is left for the men to do?
Are we giving them a chance? Are we giving them a say?
Maybe you have taken on the role of ‘do everything yourself’ because you feel unsupported from your husband so it is easier to just do it yourself and maybe even have a whinge about it to your friends later, but have you actually asked for support?
Many men just don’t have that instinct where they know what to do, so you have to ask and tell them specifically what you want and what you expect from them. They won’t guess.
I know as a woman myself we all fall into the “well, they should just know trap” but they don’t, we have to tell them.
Add ADHD to the mix, especially if they have it, and it is even more so. That strategy of giving on one or two instructions to our children and in the order, you need it done is no different with our husbands.
If they also have ADHD, then they will have executive function issues as well so we need to be clear and concise about what we need from them.
Here are a few tips that may help.
- Change your mindset
Chances are your husband wants to be a great Dad and a great husband. He doesn’t want you to feel that he is always letting you down and not supporting you, so you have to keep that in mind. Try and consider how he is feeling. If you are cranky with him about not doing anything, ask yourself did you specifically ask him to do it or did you assume he would do it? Let go of the “he should know” mindset, he doesn’t, you have to ask him. Remember, like you, he is doing the best he can with what he has. We all are.
- Look after you
If you look after yourself and take some important time just for you then this can make a huge impact on your family. You will be less stressed, able to handle situations better and may remember to ask for things, rather than expect things.
- Take time to stop with the family and yourselves.
ADHD can bring chaos to the family home and we sometimes forget to stop and take time out. Schedule some important fun family time, even if it is just going to the park or for a walk somewhere. Schedule some couple time for yourselves. You don’t even have to go out if you have no babysitters, sit an enjoy a movie together or just some together time to talk.
- Accept that you won’t agree on everything.
Everyone can disagree and that is fine and sometimes even healthy not to agree on everything. Accept that you each have your own opinion and don’t get tied up with thinking that everyone should think the same way as you do. It doesn’t help anyone.
- If your husband has ADHD, then implement strategies to help him
If your husband has ADHD then you can implement some strategies to help him, touch him and make eye contact when you talk to him. If you want jobs done, be specific, what do you want done exactly and when do you need it done by.
Ask your husband what does he need from you? When was the last time that you asked him that? Ok, you might be saying “But he never asks me that?” This may be true, but you might find that once you start trying these things out on him that he may even start using them on you.
How would you answer if your husband came and asked you “what do you need?” Think about it because trust me, once you start helping him, he will inevitably help you. Just be patient, it will happen.
The change we want starts with ourselves, trust me, this is so true.
Do you think your husband and you would benefit from using an ADHD coach? I am starting to work with several men in my sessions who are benefiting and so are their marriages. If you are interested in finding our more, why not book in for one of our 15-minute calls to see how coaching could help you. Book here https://calendly.com/beyondthemaze/15min