I’m so excited to have an excerpt from my memoir published this month in MER, Mom Egg Review, the Ages/Stages MER Online Folio! This is a wonderful literary journal about motherhood and all its complexities. In my essay, “Mothers Come First,” I face both the fears and...
A Lack of Impulse Control on a Saturday Morning
…It’s exhausting, right? Poor impulse control was, for me, the hardest part of parenting an ADHD child. Instead of disciplining Lee for urges her brain couldn’t avoid, I learned over time to talk to her about the feelings that led to the impulse. We discussed ways she could gain better control by looking at the consequences before an overwhelming desire took her down. …
On a Saturday morning, I tiptoed into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Maybe I’d have a few moments to myself before Lee, my high voltage nine-year-old daughter, woke up. Just when I took my first sip, her door banged open like a gunshot. Little feet raced down the hall. I sunk into my chair at the table moments before she hurled herself into my arms.
My cheek pressed into her soft flannel kitty pajamas, and she snuggled her head against my chest. Just as my pulse started to slow down, she bounced up and ran to the refrigerator.
“I want scrambled eggs!”
I grabbed my coffee and followed, catching an egg carton as it sailed toward me through mid-air. “Jeez, Lee, slow down.” Throwing open a cupboard door, she got out the mixing bowl and snatched the egg carton out of my hands.
Lee cracked eggs, then flung them into the bowl. As she moved back toward the pantry, I fished eggshells out of the bowl and dropped them into the sink. Lee came back with a tin of cinnamon and dumped half of it into the bowl.
I steadied my hands on the kitchen sink, then took a long gulp of coffee. Yelling would have felt really good right now, but I heard the occupational therapist’s voice, “Breathe before you react, breathe…” Hyperventilate felt more like what I was doing, but I tried to stay calm as I scooped cinnamon back out of the bowl. “OK, Lee, we’ll have French toast.”
A little while later, we took our first bites. Lee glanced out the window and jumped out of her chair. “Mommy, a hawk just flew by!” She threw open the sliding glass door and ran outside.
It’s exhausting, right? Poor impulse control was, for me, the hardest part of parenting an ADHD child. Instead of disciplining Lee for urges her brain couldn’t avoid, I learned over time to talk to her about the feelings that led to the impulse. We discussed ways she could gain better control by looking at the consequences before an overwhelming desire took her down.
In the meantime, I tried to reach deep inside myself and find a way to be patient, even when life was spinning out of control. Although, I do admit to getting through the mornings on many cups of good old joe.
Here’s a great article from ADDitude magazine to help you find some control:
Thrilled to have an essay included in the current issue of Dorothy Parker’s Ashes. It’s an honor to be among so many talented writers. The theme is “Lost,” and my essay is about losing my neurodivergent child in the mall at the same time I was losing my mother to...
As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to thank all the special moms who supported me through the years. Parenting a neurodiverse child is challenging and makes it difficult sometimes to find understanding friends. When I was struggling, long before my child’s ADHD diagnosis, two moms stepped forward and gave me hope and the gift of friendship. This blog is in honor of them.