Mama Bunkfish

Navigating marriage, motherhood, and mental illness on Jesus, caffeine, and naps!

The ADHD Mess Up

Editor’s note: I would like to thank my son for letting me share his story and my husband for helping me put the words together a little better. This isn’t just my story to tell – it’s all of ours.

My son has ADHD. We’ve known since he was about three but our thought has always been that as long as it wasn’t affecting school – we’d manage. This year it’s gotten a little harder for him to get through the school day without interruptions. As hard as he tries there are just some things out of his control. And as his mama, his number one fan, and someone always ready to step in the ring behind my kiddo, this has been a journey. Let me say this first; my son knows I’m writing this (he came up with the title). I let him read it first and he gave me his blessing. He’s only in second grade but if you know him he doesn’t allow you to put limits on what he should be able to do based on his age. He rises to the challenge and I trust that he understands the words written here. Why am I writing this? When I started this blog it was a way of helping to unburden myself of the shame of having dealt with a very horrifying bout of postpartum depression. Over time it’s become a space to tackle my thoughts on mental illness, racism, religion, politics and other things. A year ago I was ready to take it to another level and life caused me to slow down. I’m not saying that I’m going to start writing regularly (life is busy right now y’all) but I know many parents who are fighting this battle. I can’t speak for all of them and if they disagree with anything I’ve said here I’m okay with that, but these are the experiences and feelings my husband and I have had and I suspect many others have had them as well.

First things first. I’m an educator. I’ve held various capacities in education in both elementary schools and now at the collegiate level. When I was a childless teacher I had many ADHD students. As I look back I’m ashamed at how judgemental I was of those parents. If only the parents had better boundaries. If only the parents supported the teachers. If only the parents would understand that their child isn’t the only one in the class. Guess what? We, especially educator parents, know all of this. We are smack dab in the middle of this whole thing but ultimately the most important thing to us is our child. I’ve realized that the one thing that hurts the most is when well-meaning friends and family say, but think about how that teacher feels. I do. A lot. I think about the teacher, the other kids in the class, the administrators, the custodians – everyone who has to interact with my child. I know with 100% certainty that it is difficult to deal with one ADHD child, let alone multiple. But I also know that my child just isn’t a child with ADHD. If he knows that you have written him off as that kid, he will do everything in his power to give you exactly what you’re expecting and have zero guilt about it because at the end of the day he doesn’t want to be that kid. He wants to be that kid that you call on to help, that you recognize for his giftedness and intellect and that you let eat lunch with you just because. I’ve been fortunate that he’s had awesome teachers in daycare and since kindergarten (we won’t talk about his stint at a local charter school) but it doesn’t make it easier when I’m reminded to think of others when my child’s well-being always comes first in my mind.

Before we considered a daily medication we tried a few other things. More sleep, less sugar, essential oils, consequences – you name it. The fact of the matter is this: ADHD causes the brain to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight. That is why kids with ADHD seem to be “on 10” all the time – they are. We prayed, we talked to friends with child development expertise, and we spent a lot of time talking to our pediatrician before we made a decision. Are we worried about the potential side effects? Are we scared to death that if we have to eventually give him a stimulant medication it might be addictive? Of course. But trust this: We’ve Googled, researched, analyzed, contemplated, and done everything we could for a very long time before this step.

Homeschooling? Researched and considered it. Behavioral therapy? That too. Home remedies? Yep. Natural solutions? Ditto. Listen to well-intending people tell us that it’s all fake and our kids really do have control over everything? You better believe that we’ve done that. They didn’t work. So now that we are here, what we want more than anything is that instead of telling us what we should do, you pray for us and support us. Even if you disagree. Especially if you disagree. Pray for us because just like it’s not easy to decide to give your child Tamiflu or chemotherapy because of the side effects, this isn’t an easy decision either.

One last thing. When my husband proofed this he was like, “UMMMMMMMMM, what exactly are you trying to say?” He’s read all of my blog posts and he said that this one wasn’t about pulling people in; that it was more like telling people to get on the bus and sit quietly and pray we get there safely or get off unless we explicitly ask for your advice. It is exactly that. You know why? Because I’ve seen my son in tears because a teacher wouldn’t believe that he was being made fun of because he’s that kid. I’ve seen him try really hard to sit still and not be able to do it and worry that I’m frustrated or angry with him. But I’ve also seen him help a little child who’s fallen down and hurt herself. I’ve seen him be the first one up in the morning because he doesn’t like to hear our puppy cry. And I’ve seen him be absolutely brilliant and wonderful. That’s what so many of my friends see in our ADHD children. And if you can’t see that first – then yeah, get off the bus.

2 comments found

  1. And that is exactly what friends or people
    In your life should do! I am so with you in this 1 no judgment at all, I have many friends and family and we’ve all dealt with it differently everyone of our kids are different for a reason and you have to do heat works for you but importantly for HIM ❤️

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