This is a brutally honest post. It needed to be written. If anyone out there has yet to put stock in the blog posts I share and the reasons I want to help those with ADHD, perhaps this post will sway you. I know what it means to be impulsive and out-of-control. I’ve been there.
I’m finally back to being a part-time teacher after 5 months as “acting” department chair. I was glad to support my colleagues, but my family life was suffering. I’m a people person, I connect emotionally with others and I’m passionate about helping. I inherited a department with 3 new teachers who all needed support. This would be fine if I stayed at work after students left so I could respond to emails, meet with teachers and administration and be thoughtful about my own lessons and my department needs. Instead, I rushed out the door at 2:15 pm to pick up my son from nursery school and relieve my husband from 2-year-old duty. Needless to say, I was stressed at the end of the position. Things came to a head the night before Halloween. I was preparing 3 children for 3 different Halloween parties, sub plans for a work training, and a Halloween party we were hosting at my home all on the very same day.
Costumes were ordered a month in advance. I had purchased the googly eyes and other Michael’s supplies needed for kids’ Halloween parties the weekend before. I had even lined up my mother to attend the nursery school parties so I wouldn’t feel guilty that no parent was there. (I traditionally take off on Halloween so I can volunteer at my eldest son’s school parties.)
Were there things I had not yet done? Yes. Were there things I couldn’t plan for? . . . heck, yes. As I was packing up bags of supplies, and laying out costumes, my two-year-old decided she hated being a Ladybug. After parading around the house in it the entire month of October, she had had enough and wanted nothing to do with her costume. My husband came in from setting up the front yard with a fire pit, and I asked his opinion on L as a Minion for Halloween. He retorted, “You should’ve had her costume figured out way before now.” Mind you, I was silently fuming in the house packing party stuff and getting three kids ready for bed while he moved lawn furniture for an hour. We (he) decided to host a Halloween party at the last minute (which is how ADHDers do it) so, instead of helping me, he was outside.
After his comment, he made L’s milk and added a few last words about preparing before tonight. At that point, I completely lost it. I screamed swear words that I would be embarrassed to type. I slammed my daughter’s bedroom door so hard that the wall-length mirror fell off and crashed into a hundred pieces. The scariest part was that all 3 of my children were awake and they all heard me. My eldest backed away. I shooed everyone into their rooms and vacuumed for about 30 minutes to pick up any remnants of broken glass and my broken heart.
Be Aware of how PMS affects your brain
PMS does affect ADHD symptoms. It had been a tough few days for me because I hadn’t exercised or been eating well (I’ll chalk that up to work stress and PMS-induced trouble sleeping). When you’re controlling ADHD without meds you have to do the right things for your brain. Otherwise, you may completely lose it. That’s not fair to your kids or your significant other. Give yourself time to breathe, don’t take on more than you can handle, and CANCEL OR CHANGE PLANS if you need to. If I had canceled my work training earlier, I would’ve chimed in to help my husband prepare for the party and happily tucked my children into bed. Instead, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to pack and label bags of costumes and supplies for my mom and husband that night.
As it turned out, L woke up with a fever on Halloween so my mom took care of her. I skipped my training and watched my sweet 4-year-old dinosaur steal the heart of every person he serenaded at the nursing home. We had a fantastic time roasting marshmallows at our Halloween party. We connected with a lovely family that night. Even sick L woke up to play from 7 to 10pm after sleeping right through trick or treat. My husband and I got through the “rough patch.” He probably knows more about my cycle than he wants, but it’s better this way. If you want to make life work, you have to know what’s coming. And next year, I’m not working on Halloween. That’s one tradition I won’t attempt to change for the next 7 years of good luck. Two great lessons learned from one broken mirror.