Hello, I'm Sharon Collins and you are listening to the ADHD Families podcast. I am a mom of three beautiful boys with ADHD. I love being a mom, but my home life was absolute chaos and the stress of daily life had a terrible effect on my health. My husband had so many horror filled stories of growing up with ADHD that I decided I wanted to change the experience for my little boys.
So I got to work and I systematically changed and streamlined my family's lives to suit the ADHD brain. And now that I have my family on track, I want to help yours. Do you want a life with your beautiful kids that is more functional, fun and full of joy? Let's explore together the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of raising kids with ADHD.
Welcome to another episode of the ADHD Families Podcast. Now, today we're going to be talking about probably something that's a little bit sensitive to me, so I hope you can bear with me. It's about coping, and I often get asked how I cope. People want to know how I go living day to day with my four incredible family members that have ADHD.
We've got some Tourette's. We've got some sensory processing disorder and some specific learning disorder in there as well. And people often want to know how I do it. How do I hope and my first instinct, whenever anyone asks me that, is actually to feel a little bit like a fraud, because sometimes I don't cope incredibly well and I never want to betray the image of making it look easy.
It's not easy, right? I just have really good systems and strategies in place that make it a little bit easier to pick it up when the wheels fall off. So that's what we're going to be looking at today. I'm so excited that you're here to join us on how do I cope. So sometimes when things aren't going awesome in our family, maybe we're struggling with, you know, some transitions or we've got going through a bit of a hard patch.
I always think, let's say I say to myself a lot new levels, new devils, right? So what I am actually good at is resilience. So as our kids grow, they bring new challenges. And as I go along with my relationship with Anthony, there's always new challenges, new levels, new devils, right? And so what I'm good at is handling it.
So there's no perfect family life that goes on here. There's no perfect. You can't structure or or routine or systemize your way out of intensity when you've got the dynamics of what is going on in our household. And I'm sure your household is similar if you're listening to something called the ADHD Families podcast, right? So we've got low frustration and tolerance, poor emotional regulation.
Everyone handles stress quite badly. There's lots of yelling, lots of chaos. And yes, we have really good systems and strategies in place, but it doesn't take away from the intensity of living in the dynamics of what our house, what our house puts out, basically. So what I learned very early on is that there was no one coming to save us.
There was no one coming to save us. And it was really quite sad because I really didn't have the tools back before. I was maybe coach and had an experience with this stuff. I didn't have the tools to deal with the intensity that our house was throwing. It was really I felt like I wasn't qualified. I wasn't qualified to handle it, and my stress was through the roof.
And you guys know through a little if you've followed along. In my journey, I've been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. My body literally just started destroying itself because of the amount of stress that I was on that. And I had to come to the realization that no one was coming to save us. We had to save ourselves. And that is an incredible you know, I know that you guys are feeling that as well.
There's a lot that people wouldn't understand unless you live it every day and you understand what is going through for beautiful people with ADHD that are struggling with some of these things, especially if they're on the more extreme end of the spectrum, like my boys definitely are. It it can be a really hard journey and you can actually feel like most of the time, like you're not qualified to handle it.
So that realization of that, that no one was coming to save us with a big realization. And I knew I could either sink or swim at that point. And I definitely wanted to swim. And I'm a problem solver. I like to go in there and experiment and try different things to see if I can make things easier for our family.
Now I want to talk to you about how I view our life, because when you are talking to someone with ADHD, they have a real tendency and a lot of people without ADHD as well actually have a tendency to view life with a sort of a black and white lens. It's called black and white thinking. So they are on or they're off, they're good or they're bad.
They have these real extreme ends of thinking, right? So we are either on routine or we're off routine, we're on our diet, or we're really off our diet. And it's called black and white thinking. And what I try and do with the clients that I work with and with my family members as well, is to encourage them to to remove or to remind them that there is a middle ground.
It is not all black and white, there is a gray, and we ideally want to live in the gray. We are not good or bad. We're not on or off. We are, you know, we are not succeeding or failing. We are living in the gray area. And that is really important to know when you're viewing your family. So we have as part of that thinking, we are often people with ADHD.
And I mean, I guess myself included in the early days, I was looking for like a magic bullet or a set and forgetting something. If I could just get this bit right, then life would be easy. If we could just find a medication that works, then life would be easy. If I could just find, you know, like, get on the like, getting a diet, right, then this would be easy.
But what I've learned throughout this journey and for so many years we've been going on with this is that there's no magic bullet. And it comes back to that. You know, like with it's about getting a few things right. It's about getting a few things in balance and how I view life. And this is one of the things that I always come back to in my own brain to stop myself doing that.
Black or white thinking or looking for that silver bullet is for is I view life like a massive control panel and it's got all switches and knobs that you can turn and switch on and turn at different times. And just as you get one right, another one goes out. And so you have to adjust. You have to adjust that.
And then just as you get that bit right, the other one goes out. And so you have to adjust that and that is how I view my life. You're never going to have them all perfect at the same time. It's impossible for me to have my business killing it, for me to be exercising, for me to be meal planning like a boss, for the house to be perfectly the kids to to do stupid home reading that I've got to do every night, you know, all of these things at the same time.
Like I've never ever been able to achieve all of my goals at the same time, because you can do anything but not everything, right? We're just one. So how I view it is like a control panel. We tighten this bit up, then this bit goes loose. We need to tighten up it up. We need to flick this switch now and then as we flip that one, this one's come undone and we need to flick that one out.
And that helps me not feel so. So I guess it's not the word hopeless is not is not what I'm looking for, but don't feel so downhearted about it. I just know that I've got to keep my eye on the control panel and things are going to need to be adjusted. It's a little bit like the new levels New Devils thing, which is something comes up, we handle it, we move on to the next thing that comes up.
We handle it, we move on to the next thing. It's never going to be perfect all of the time. Never going to be able to have that switchboard in perfect. Exactly how I would like it. We're just we're just going to handle things as they come up. And I find that quite comforting. I don't know. I would love to know if you guys find that comforting, but I find it quite comforting and it's just stops that pattern of black and white thinking, which we are also prone to.
I want to talk about a few little strategies, things that I've learned along the way that help me cope. But before I do delve into that, I wanted to raise that we as women and I know a lot of women listening to this podcast say sorry, way too much. This mum guilt thing that we carry around is just, I've got to do a whole episode on it.
It's just it's few, it's gross. And I think that part of me, I could joke and say that part of me has died a little bit. That part of me I don't stress about mum guilt or other people's opinion about my family or other people's opinion about me anymore. I probably did in the early days, but not anymore, because I've learned that just worrying about what anyone else's opinion actually change if you worry about it, does actually change their communities.
It doesn't drive people. Hate is going to hate people just. But I think part of having a chronic illness and living with chronic pain has changed that part of me fundamentally. I know that I am doing the best I can under difficult circumstances. And for those of you who don't know the back story got psoriatic arthritis. It's a major pain in the bones, not literally, but sometimes.
And it's just changed how I view life and how I handle stress. I know that stress is a trigger for it and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff that I don't have to. So I wanted to just touch on that and to recognize that you guys are all doing such an incredible job under difficult circumstances. Have you ever noticed that the people who have opinions about your kids behavior and things like have no idea what they're talking about?
Like, I would love them to come into my house for for a week and babysit and see how they cope with it all.
But I feel like we should give ourselves a pat on the back for how right we are doing, how we are handling it, how when things come up, we handle it and we go on to the next thing. New levels, new Devil's right and I feel like we don't give ourselves enough credit. And part of that is if you have ADHD yourself is that the ADHD brain actually has a negative bias.
We tend to remember things that are negative more the actual chemicals that are released inside your brain when you experience something negative versus when you experience something positive. The negative ones stay in your brain for about three times the amount of time, so you're more likely to remember the negative. And that goes for everyone. So we've got to celebrate our wins when we have them.
And I did Detour slightly, but I wanted to stop to raise the point that we should stop apologizing all the time. I'm sorry I'm late. I'm sorry. My kids behavior. I'm sorry that they're struggling with this. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Unless someone's been hurt, I don't want you to say sorry anymore. Our kids are struggling, and we're doing the best we can, advocating for them, running a house, working, doing all the things you know, in a world that's not really built for kids with ADHD or parents with ADHD.
Right. And the odds are stacked against us a little bit. So I just a little while ago decided to stop saying sorry. And I think it's a women it's a woman thing. I don't make too many dads that I work with that constantly apologize for things. And so that's a lesson that we can learn from dads. They seem to be able to, you know, just just take it as it comes a little bit more and not feel this intense pressure and guilt that comes from raising kids with extra challenges.
And maybe you don't feel like that, but I definitely come across a lot of the community. That, too, and I just wanted to raise that. But we should all stop apologizing unless we put someone, because I do believe in being kind, but I think the word sorry said way too much and I'm just not sure that we should give it any more any more airtime than it has to unless we've actually hurt someone.
And the next one is that when you one of the strategies that I have along with having really good systems and strict end to end procedures in place for my family, and if you want to know a little bit more about that, just as a shameless plug, our membership that only opens twice a year is actually opening on June the sixth.
We opened June six for seven days and then we open again in January 2024. If you're after a low cost, low time investment takes about 3 hours a month. Option for helping your family that has ADHD, then please do check that out on the website, because what we do in that is we just tackle one topic a month which we tackle a like a topic like this week.
This month we're doing tolerances and explaining about what tolerances are and how that plays into our family and our stress levels. And it'll either be a masterclass with me or a guest expert. And then we have an incredible mindset coach that comes in and helps us with our mental health stuff and then you get a template to help you integrate what you've learned in the Masterclass and also that beautiful supportive community and access to all the previous masterclasses as well.
So if you're after a low cost, low time investment option of working with me, so I know that coaching is not for everyone, then have a look at the membership because that is open for a short time and it's closing for 2023 when this podcast comes out. And if you if it's already closed and you're listening to this place to join the waitlist for the next time, because I would love to support your family in that way.
And it's great as a low cost option. But one of the things that I've learned is that for me, self-care is not a luxury. And I I've got to say that I hate the word self-care. Part of me goes, I read, but I don't know how else to say it. Like looking after yourself just doesn't have the same ring.
So just bear with me with that, with that word. But it's not a luxury. It's a necessity because burnout is a real thing. I think almost every single mum that I work with in parent mentoring in adult coaching is on some level of the scale of burnout. We're exhausted. We can't, you know, there's so much going on all the time and we're getting all this negative feedback about our kids and, you know, this this impression that we've got to be able to cope with everything with.
Not only do we have to cope, we have to make it look easy, guys, like we have to have like, you know, like exercise and have like great clothes and have a clean house and have beautifully well-behaved children and, you know, and still be able to do homework assignments and all of the things that it just places an incredible amount of stress on women today.
But what I've learned is that for me, whatever self-care looks like for you and for me, it's going for walk along the beach, being able to ring my friend and have a laugh, you know, have like this, like it's not it's not getting a facial and all those things all although those things are not speaking on an episode in the previous ADHD family's podcast, that it's not a luxury, it's actually a necessity if you're going to be handling intense stress on a day to day basis, which a lot of us are, then we need to prioritize our self-care it We have to we have to have time to ourselves.
Like how much better of a parent are we when we have some time away from our kids? I am so much more patient. Nice. I've got time to listen to their stories. I don't bring that rushing energy. I'm going to talk a little bit about that rushing energy in a minute. But how much better do we cope when we've had that time?
We've had that time to ourselves, invest in ourselves, and it's for some reason it always gets put last. It always gets we always think, Oh, now I've just got to get this done. I've got to get through this period work, I've got to I've got to be able to do this. I'll be happy when I'll be happy when the kids, you know, get through this exam.
I'll be happy when I'll be happy, when I'll be happy when they're happy. The time never comes, right? This is our life. We are our own people, aside from our kids. And now we're with them. We're separate, we're together. But we are also separate. We are also our own people. And we we deserve to have a happy life, too.
And if we're going to weather the storm, we have to adjust our stance and else. And how you do that is by looking after yourself first. It's not selfish. It's survival. It is survival. And so part of and that leads on from stop saying sorry, like we don't have to feel guilty for looking after ourselves first because what we are handling as the problems come up, as the, you know, the knobs and the switch has come up is extreme and we need to be the best version of ourselves to be able to handle that properly.
I know that I handle the intensity better when I have looked after myself better when my cup is full, or at least have not an empty aisle, I can handle the intensity better. And when I want to talk about when I don't handle it, when I don't handle it well, right. So I am not a perfect parent under any circumstance.
Since I've got good systems, I've got strategies other like a ADHD coach and ADHD coach. And still I have moments where I think, Oh, that, that wasn't great. That wasn't actually very well right. And I used to beat myself up about that. Those moments like, Oh, why can't I? What can I just, you know, do that all? But now I just view them like little red flags, little red flags that perhaps I am getting downtown, perhaps I'm not sleeping properly.
Perhaps I need to have some time by myself. I perhaps I need to go back to morning meditations again. There's an excellent app called Waking Up with Sam Harris. Guys, it's my favorite. Perhaps I need to call a friend and have I like. There's all of these things that I just view it like a little red flag. And then what I focus on with the kids is the repair and I own it.
I go because I think this is really important. We need to teach our kids that they can make mistakes and they can come back from them, they can own it and they can move on from them. Because feeding back into what we're talking about before black and white, thinking often our beautiful kids with ADHD, once they stuff up, they believe they can't come back from it.
It's finished, they're bad, they're done right. And I want to actively show them that you can make mistakes, you can stuff up spectacularly. And there's not that many mistakes in life that you can't come back from. You can own it. You can talk about what are you going to do differently next time? And you can move on. And that's what I want to show my kids and that's what I show them when I don't handle things how I want to.
And then I check in with myself about those little red flags, what is happening with me, What can I do to give myself more resilience? What can I do to to up my self-care game? And then I wanted to finish on talking about that rushing energy that we spoke about before. So when I am not coping, that will I notice an increase on of rushing energy.
So what I'm talking about when I'm talking about rushing energy is like, you know, come on, get the time going to be like that, that kind of vibe, that kind of parenting. And now we'll take us along and really get your shoes on and like, you know, that really like kind of panicked energy. And if you've been working with me for a while, you know that I view the ADHD brain as open or closed, right?
And there's things that open it, the things that close it and pressure and stress and that rushing energy is definitely one of those things that close it. And you often see when you have that energy around a child with ADHD, they kind of just go into this little paralysis state. They kind of just freak out. They either explode or they go into that freeze.
State. And it's more frustrating because when you're in that rushing energy, you just want people to move, want them to do what you say, but we're actually causing them to go into that paralysis or that explosive state of meltdown. And so that rushing energy usually comes when I am depleted and I have let my self-care game go down and I'm tired, you know, I just want it.
I just want it done. All right. And it's counterproductive because it causes everyone to freeze. It forces everything to take longer than it should, and it just exhausts myself. It's like running out of I run out of steam myself with the rushing energy. And so I have a strategy for when we're bringing the rushing energy. And because you can't always you can't always, you know, like sometimes you only notice that your self-care game has dropped when you're in it, when you when you stop bringing the rushing energy.
So I have a strategy of when I notice that I start doing that rushing energy that, you know, like, come on, me. Remember that that kind of energy is talking fast. You're doing rapid fire, you're doing lots of stacked instructions, not simple one step instructions, and you're causing your beautiful person ADHD to go into paralysis is I go intentionally slow.
It's so against my nature. I want to go fast. I want to get things done. I'm very productive. But when I go fast, I take bait and I go intentionally slow. And what I talk about when I'm talking about going intentionally slow is I lower my voice just like I'm doing now. It sounds painful when you're in a fast mode, but it actually helps.
I slow it right down, calm it down, I slow it down. I start guiding like saying things like, What can I do to help you with this? Can we do this together? Asking questions to engage the ADHD brain. Can you tell me about what's going on for you here? You know those sorts of questions slow it down and reengage the ADHD brain that has that which I've paralyzed with my rushing energy and I reengage it and open it back up and see if they're open to working with me at that stage.
And it's just about having that little bit of information to check in with yourself to notice what is happening from a different vantage point and thinking, okay, what can I do to fix this? What can I do to correct it? What am I going to do to get the best outcome for everyone in this situation? And so that is my couple of little strategies there to help you cope.
And I guess in summary, they are to not worry so much about what other people think. I don't know. I just don't sweat that anymore. And I hope you guys aren't wasting energy on that either. You've got bigger fish to fry to avoid that black and white thinking that comes along with ADHD. Stop looking for the silver bullet.
That's no one done here. I'm afraid. It's about adjusting, looking, viewing life like a control panel or adjusting things as things go out. We fix that to fix it as as problems come up, we handle it. That's how we that's how we roll in the functional family. Stop saying sorry when you don't need to. Don't be sorry. Doing a great job and tend to view self-care not as a luxury, as a necessity, and to avoid that rushing energy because it's not good for you and your self-care or your beautiful family with ADHD.
I hope so much that you can find those points helpful and to know that and to be reassured rather, that not everyone copes all the time. We don't have to make it look easy, right? We all we have to do is ask ourselves with an incredible understanding about ADHD, because through understanding comes compassion. And and I think you guys have heard me say this before, that I have such compassion for people with ADHD.
I always I might not feel it all the time when I'm in that rushing energy state, but when I am working with people with ADHD and when I'm talking to my kids with ADHD, I have such compassion for what they what they go through every day. So so arming ourselves with as much information as we can about ADHD, because then it comes compassion of him, view it with a different lens, but also having compassion for ourselves as we go through this journey and knowing that it doesn't have to be perfect all the time.
We can do the repair, we can we can make mistakes and that we can come back from it, and that there's no one that can do a good job at as good a job as what we can for our family. We know our kids. We know how to advocate for them. We are MSOs. With the information about ADHD, there's no one that can do a good is a good at as good a job control as good a job as you for your kids, your your their parent for a reason.
Your guilt for it you know them you can you can you're doing a great job. You're already doing it And I love the saying that you've made it through 100% of your hard days. Like out of all the hard days, you've made it through already. You're already doing the hard thing. That's what I'm trying to say. You're already doing it and you're doing a great job.
So I hope that that is comforting to you. And I look forward to sharing the next episode of the ADHD Families Podcast. Thank you for listening to this episode of the ADHD Families Podcast. If you loved it, please share it on your socials. I want this to start a conversation about ADHD. If you want to make this mum do a little happy dance, please leave a review on iTunes.
If you would like to know more about what we do, check out the functional family dot com. I truly hope that you enjoyed this podcast and you use it to create a wonderful, effective, joyful life with your beautiful children.