“It’s Only ADHD” and Other Stupid Things People Say

I like to believe I am a “people” person; one of those women who gets along with just about everyone. I can handle myself in everything from small talk with the neighbors, deep conversations with longtime friends to understanding when I just need to be a listener. But there is one situation where I am truly at a loss for words and often have to pinch myself back into reality, because my mind has gone to a very dark place, where I envision punching, smacking and overall head-bashing the person before me. When I hear, “Well, your son ONLY has ADHD. It’s not like he is dying,” I become that Scary Mom that no one wants to encounter. And I find it is getting worse as I get older.

Unless you have or love someone with ADHD, I’d like to politely ask that you shut the F*&k up when you find yourself in a discussion about it. Unless you watch someone you love struggle, every-single-day, to figure out how they fit into this crazy a$$ world we live in, unless you live with the “neverending-ness” of ADHD (the movement, singing, messes, missed assignments and appointments etc.), it would be best for you to just nod. If you must speak, try something like, “I can’t imagine.”

People never cease to surprise me with their rudeness (or as they call it, their “wisdom”). I understand many of these people ‘think’ they are helping, providing some golden nugget of information or insight I have missed. They might believe in their heart of hearts that this IS the answer to my problems. Let me assure you, I have thought of it. I have most likely tried it (maybe even more than once), I have read about it, talked about it, researched it and lived it.

I’ll be ok if I never hear any of the following “helpful” suggestions, comments, insights:

  • Are you sure it’s ADHD and not just him trying to manipulate you?

Hear me; YES I AM SURE! I have had him tested by a neuropsychiatrist – 12 hours of testing over 10 weeks. I have seen him struggle in school to sit still, to focus, to remember his homework (or pencils, or laptop etc.). I have seen him go into his room with the sincere intention to clean it, only to come out thrilled that he has found a host of long lost toys. An hour later. I have seen people repeatedly ask him to stop signing/humming/moving/tapping, only to watch him look at them confused and say, “Stop what?” It’s real people. I don’t second guess it and neither should you.

  •  He’s out of control. You just need to (insert inane suggestion here).

This is a favorite! The inane suggestions usually come in the form of:

  • Punish him more
  • Create a schedule and post it
  • Ignore the “bad” behavior
  • Get him into therapy

Punishments don’t work with ADHD. My sons brain lights up like it’s Christmas whether the stimulus is good or bad, so getting mad and punishing are seen as a reward in his mind. A schedule cracks me up. Hello? I now have to remind him all the time to read the schedule. Which most likely has moved to the corkboard in his room and is covered in pin holes from the “stick pin Minecraft creeper” he created. Ignoring him is like trying to ignore the urge to go to the bathroom. You can only ignore it for so long before something MUST be done. Therapy – check. He’s in it, done it, and yes, I do think this helps, but it will not “cure” his ADHD.

  • You just need to let him fail. Then he’ll wake up.

Ahhhh, the “let ‘em fail” suggestion is a classic. What people don’t understand is in his eyes he is not failing. His world is not built upon the same foundation as mine. Failure to him would be not being able to correctly get his lego set built. Not being able to draw Godzilla perfectly. School is not a failure, it is simply something he is not good at, does not like and really doesn’t care that much about. Messy room? Everything is exactly where he left it and he can find most things. The things he can’t – ehhh, he’ll find them later. Getting someplace on time, if he’s late it’s ok because whatever caused him to be late WAS the important thing. If where he was going was the important thing, he’d be there on time. ADHDland is a different world with a different timeframe and a different view of failure. I choose to help him more than I do my younger son in the hopes that repetition, the good feelings that come with getting good grades and the ease that comes with having things in their place, might one day (possibly) sink in and feel BETTER than the chaos he lives in now. But who knows…

So in closing on this, I only ask that people think before they speak. As I say to my ADHD son all the time, “Just because it’s in your head, doesn’t mean it needs to be said.”

What Do Men REALLY Want For Father’s Day?

With (the hell that was) Mother’s Day still fresh in my mind and Father’s Day looming, I began to wonder what my husband wanted for Father’s Day. Our situation is a bit different, in that this is our second marriage and we both have kids from the previous marriage. So Mother’s/Father’s Day is a little hard for us. Our boys are young so we need to ensure they are doing a little something for our exes (which gets into a whole discussion about what is “too much” for us to be doing on their behalf) and then also making sure we’re honoring our own parents. This usually ends up meaning what we do for one another is a bit jumbled or simply non-existent.

But this year, I wanted to do something really nice for my husband. So I decided to take a survey and ask friends husbands, co-workers and neighbors, “What do you REALLY want for Father’s Day?” The answers varied, but only a little. And when pressed, the shining winner of a gift was…

A blow job.

Really.

Of course, when I stopped and thought about it, I was not surprised. Isn’t a lack of sex what you hear about as being the biggest issue for married men? Now I did hear a lot of other ideas like “Time to enjoy my favorite sport or activity, like golf,” but the big caveat here was not just to be allowed the luxury of indulging in it, but to be allowed to do it without guilt. Hmmmm. So they do pick up on our subtle eye rolls, sighs of frustration and angry glares. Good to know.

I also heard a lot of no honey-do lists for the day. No suggestions, hints, notes, or smoke signals for help either. Just quiet. Also, no suggestions of what they might be looking forward to next weekend like, “I am so glad you are enjoying today. Hey! Next weekend, let’s think about tackling the mess in the garage.”

Also, coming in high on the list was “manly food.” Now I only had one person refer to the food this way, but in talking with the other men, I got the gist that this is what they were asking for, they just did not have the terminology down. The food mentioned was:

  • A good cut of steak. Not what is on sale; the gooooood stuff.
  • Chicken wings with real Blue Cheese dip. Not the low fat kind or the kind made with Agave.
  • Pizza. Good ole 5 meat pizza. Not thin crust, no light cheese and no veggies. Meat and maybe even extra cheese.
  • Burgers, grilled with all the fixings which included bacon, extra cheese, onion rings, BBQ sauce and one guy even wanted a fried egg.
  • Beer. Nuff said.

They specifically said no salads (including fruit salad), no low-fat, low carb or gluten free fare and they did not care if anything was organic or humanely raised.

Now, the men who I did not know that well, did try and earn some points by saying they wanted time with their family. Some even said “I don’t need anything,” but their eyes were shifty and they tended to say “ummm” a lot so I am positive they were thinking, “How can I say blow job to my neighbor without being a complete jackass?”

So, I am all set on husbands gift, pretty easy to go buy beer and I was feeling pretty good about my survey, when it hit me; what the hell do I get my DAD for Father’s Day? Guess a phone call to mom is in order. Ewwww.

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