Working parents with ADHD children can find balance
Parents have numerous responsibilities these days. And if you’re a mother, research shows that women are busier than ever. Interestingly, research also shows women are far more likely to start their own businesses now than they were in the past. This means moms are more often juggling the various duties involved in raising a family and building entrepreneurial ventures.
Additionally, rates of childhood ADHD are on the rise. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, there was a 50% increase in ADHD cases in children from 2003 to 2016.
If you parent a child with ADHD, you need to ensure you’re taking steps to help your child succeed regardless of their cognitive challenges or impairments. As the world has offered exponentially more distractions, parents must work diligently to provide opportunities for their children’s success.
Moms who balance a self-directed business, and the needs of children with ADHD, have difficulty finding time for self-care. Luckily, following simple tips can help you take care of your own needs, while also driving a thriving business and raising a happy family.
1. Be Efficient
All business owners understand the value of efficiency. If you can find ways to get more work done in less time, you gain a competitive edge. The same principle applies to taking care of your ADHD children’s needs and your own self-care. Whenever you can, combine like tasks together, make the most of time away from the office, and batch errands so your time is efficiently spent.
One of the best ways to stay efficient with your time is to understand your time management personality style. The TSSI is an online time and organizing personality assessment that can give you a baseline of how you are naturally programmed to manage your time. When you get your report you’ll learn more about useful behaviors that will help you break bad time management habits.
Another way to be more efficient is to manage your stress. Active exercise provides obvious physical health benefits and helps you guard against stress. Socializing with friends is also a strong stress-buster. If you don’t think you have time for both exercise and friends in your busy life, combine the two by taking a fitness class with friends.
2. Consider Making Ready-to-Eat Meals
As a mom, you want to provide healthy kids meals to ensure your children get proper nutrition. When your child has ADHD, nutrition is incredibly important. In fact, there are many doctors who believe that ADHD symptoms are much easier to manage with a high nutrient rich, high healthy fat, high macronutrient diet. Studies have shown very positive responses for ADHD symptoms when parents eliminate gluten, sugar and dairy from an ADHD child’s diet. Those foods can create inflammatory responses and affect the hormonal balance. Inflammation is difficult for anyone to manage. However, when you’re a mom who has a child with ADHD, planning your family meals is an essential way to have a happier home life. This can be difficult if you’re also a busy entrepreneur. Finding the time to prepare meals as working parents with ADHD children is a major challenge when you have so many other responsibilities to address.
That’s why busy moms should consider feeding their children with nutritious make-ahead meals. Many studies show the positive benefits of healthy eating to lower ADHD symptoms. Busy moms with ADHD kids can save so much time and lower stress by starting with a healthy, nutritiously dense food plan, create menus that are easy to prepare, and recycle the same shopping list of items weekly. Eating healthy requires planning and preparation. You’ll know they’re eating well, and you’ll have a bit more time for yourself.
3. Schedule Everything
When you’re a mom with ADHD children, things can feel out of control often. Add to all those responsibilities running a business. When you have so many balls in the air, it’s important to land what you can on your schedule. Successful moms in business know the importance of sticking to a schedule. It’s a great way to communicate with your family and set boundaries. Managing your schedule is best when you create consistent weekly schedule review routines. You can accomplish a lot more than you otherwise would when you list weekly priorities and assign time for them on your weekly schedule.
For moms of children with ADHD, be sure you schedule some time for self-care. Self-care must be a priority. Creating time for relaxing and pleasant activities in your weekly schedule is one way to be sure you do not overlook them.
4. Prioritize Tasks Daily
Making a schedule is important. However, it’s just one step to balancing your responsibilities as a working parent with an ADHD child. To truly find the time for everything including self-care, you need to prioritize and determine which tasks are ‘must dos’. Everyone has essential tasks to complete each week, and tasks that can be done at any time. To prioritize, take time to review your list and separate them into daily and weekly tasks. Another key to successfully prioritizing is to include opportunities for self-care in the “must be completed” list.
5. Identify Who and What Saps Your Energy
One of the distinguishing characteristics of moms and entrepreneurs is that they often wish to please everyone. When you are a mom entrepreneur, pleasing everyone is high on your list. However, when you prioritize pleasing other people’s goals over your own, you may spend too much time focused on people who drain your energy.
To identify energy zappers, pay attention to who and what impacts your energy levels negatively. People who zap your energy make you feel yucky. You may feel emotionally drained, or a person may trigger an unexpected emotional response.
When you encounter someone who drains your energy, you may feel tired, shut down, irritable or angry after you engage with them.
So one of the best ways to check in with yourself is to actually track your emotions daily. Create a simple way to chart your emotions, and then sit down for a few minutes three times a day to check in and record your responses. Over two to three days, you may easily see there might be a relationship with someone who isn’t worth your time. It’s important for you to actually track each engagement. For instance, if someone is constantly sending texts or emails demanding your attention, and you have a negative response to this, you may have an energy zapper on your hands.
Your solution to lower your stress and create a better sense of balance is to cut out as many energy-draining factors from your life. So, if you have an energy zapper who constantly nags you and demands your attention, you may need to take intentional steps to create distance between you and that person. When you do, it will help you focus more on what matters.
6. Ask for Help
Moms who start their own businesses are often independent, courageous and ambitious. As such, they’re often not the type of people to ask for help.
This is understandable. Your superpowers that helped support your decision to create a business, can also be your blind spots to your own success.
If you’re a busy mom and you have a child with ADHD, asking for help may be essential to your sense of wellness and life balance. But it’s not that easy for a successful, independent thinker to ask for help.
To make it easier on yourself, think of gaining assistance as you would about delegating tasks. When you don’t have time for everything on your to-do list yet still want things accomplished in your business, you delegate specific tasks to someone capable enough to step in getting things done.
Similarly, the same should be true in your personal life. If you have an important meeting during a non-essential parenting task (picking the kids up from soccer practice) ask for help. Remember to enroll your spouse or close friend in the process of whole-life parenting. Often, when you work together with others, you can get creative with carpools and share taxi-mom responsibilities.
Self-care is the key for working parents with ADHD
Many working moms in business put self-care as last on their list. However, without a strong and healthy body, mind and spirit, your business, motivation to parent and even your sense of intimacy with your partner will suffer.
Therefore self-care is the key ingredient to feeling a sense of life-balance for professional moms with ADHD kids. You must make time to not just take care of yourself, but honor your own private health and wellness goals. To ensure long-lasting success as a great mom and a productive business owner, self-care needs to be an essential structure.
In conclusion, moms in business who also juggle the many responsibilities of caring for ADHD children significantly benefit from these six activities. When you simplify daily routines there will be more time for your business, your ADHD children and yourself. Instead of cooking, serve ready-to-eat meals. Instead of socializing and working out separately, combine them. Keeping basic tips like these in mind makes it much easier to practice self-care on a regular basis.
Please share your thoughts and comments
Working parents with ADHD children are busier than ever. Do you feel that these tips could help with balancing responsibilities and self-care? If you are a working parent of an ADHD child, which of these tips will you try or have you found to be most successful? Please leave a comment below and let us know!
Special thanks to Rae Steinbach for being our guest blogger today!
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing about kids health, of course. You can find her on Twitter: @araesininthesun.