Help A Heart Out?

Hi all! I am new to the forums and would love some perspective. I have posted on a couple of other posts, but am new enough I don’t want to derail others threads or mess up the dynamic :).
I’m a mostly happily married Heart. 13 years married/ 18 years together/ started dating when I was 14. He’s known about his ADHD since middle school and I knew early on in our dating relationship.We have two boys, 3 and 8 months. We also have 2 dogs, a house, and all the comes with being a couple in their 30s.
When we were first married I made it my personal goal to be the best wife to my Brain. He was finishing his electrical engineering degree so I worked while he was in school. I took over the house work completely, from finances to chores to cooking. Homework took him a long time and I wanted him to succeed. I also helped with his symptoms with systems set up to help him avoid distractions, etc. He was grateful and was not taking advantage, just legitimately did not have time to help.
At the time we were in a small apartment and it was just the two of us which was pretty easy. Then we got the house, the dogs, the kids and my aging parents moved to town… I’m still doing all the things with not much help from him with one major caveat I want to make clear-- he is an amazing father who drops everything and anything for our boys. He even took night feedings! SAINT!

I’m struggling right now as a Heart with too much to do. I’ve asked for his help, we’ve scheduled things into his day, tried incorporating things into his routine, and it just hasn’t taken yet. I don’t have time to fully devote myself to helping with symptoms but even my old tricks don’t seem to be working. He has hyper-focused on long distance cycling which has taken hours away from his family. I don’t mind the cycling at all, a super healthy thing for him to do, but it’s the two hours it takes to get everything ready. I can’t help because I am not allowed to touch the bike or his bike computer (it’s a thing, I don’t understand it, but he is all about it). Since he is consistently home late from work, that means on cycling days (four days a week, I put a limit on it) I don’t see him at all. If I don’t stop him right away, he spends the other days focusing on the statistics from his cycling computer. He struggles with a concept of time and has missed a lot of important things because of it, which has been really hard. Our children are adopted, which requires a lot of meetings, many of which he was late to or almost missed completely. We almost missed the plane when our son was being born!

I hate talking about this aspect of our marriage and my husband because he truly is a great man, but it’s been tough lately. Not in a “at the end of my rope, going to divorce” kind of way, because I’m a stubborn woman who said I do along time ago and I know my husband has some complications he has to overcome. And I kind of love the guy a little bit :).

In any case, I’m just very tired, all the time. Our 8 month old was born with illegal substances and has had a hard start medically. Our 3 year old is in the “say no to everything mom says” phase. We have open adoptions so I’m in charge of keeping up contact with birth family, which is great but is a lot of work! Our dogs are getting old and seem to have medical issues all the time. My parents live here now and though they “help” with the kids, they are also forgetting things and needing my help with a lot of things around their home. When I get “time for myself” (as an only child, I like some private time!) it’s usually doing something on my to do list without the kids present.

I really do love my life, I don’t want to sound whiny! It’s just a lot right now!

So, I joined how to ADHD to learn more about how my husband’s brain works and others who have similar experiences to him fight them, and maybe just hear from some parents who have survived the very young years with ADHD :).

Thank you!

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Can I just say, it’s awesome that you’re here! :grin: Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice right now, but I wish you good luck. I hope others on the forums will be able to provide some help. It’s nice to meet you!!!

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Omg your kids are young! This is a really tough phase even without all the extra factors (the open adoption contact, the aging dogs, the aging parents, the adhd in the relationship).

As a lay person, and reading this in conjunction with the other post of yours I just replied to, it sounds like you guys have a pattern of you being in the driving seat for a lot of the planning. And life has got very full, pretty quickly. Personally I think you are all in need of a support network that will help you through the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years (in different ways! It probably won’t be the same support network all the time, but you will need to keep an eye on whether or not it’s working and make adjustments every now and again).

It sounds like the cycling has become your husbands coping strategy. It’s one thing he is completely in charge of. And the rest keeps on throwing surprises and demands at you both.

This is another moment where I find myself wishing I could somehow share my therapist with other people! She has helped me see so much about how and why I do things and how I can help myself better by making different choices. The golden rule seems to be to be kinder to myself. Sounds like you both need to do this too.

There must be elements in this whole set up where you can agree that less might be more. Safe, as healthy as possible and loved, could be the baseline for all of this. If you burn out, no one will be better off. I hope that you can find an understanding counsellor who can help you both to make some realistic plans together.

Maybe your husband could see something in adding a new hobby into his life, taking up some of the current cycling time? Only this one being something he would like to share with the three year old? (And later, the baby). Or looking after the baby while you so something you and the three year old would both enjoy? Or both of these things!

Believe me, if I could have my time again, I would have done more one on one stuff with the kids. This would have paid huge dividends later and I am still trying to fix this (my 2 kids are in their twenties and it’s just about good now). Of course you still need some free time, but creating more enjoyable parenting situations would also lower everyone’s stress levels. Including those of the kids. They love undivided attention and doing something special with mum or dad. It makes sharing their parents with each other much easier, and will strengthen all the relationships in the whole family. Stuff with the four of you is also important, I just mean as well.

Good luck, both of you!

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I know this sounds simple and you might already have tried it but I have a chalk board next to my front door, my wife and I write down everything from appointments and anything I need to get done or remember on there, it really helps.

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They ARE young! I know most parents in this stage of life are just sleep deprived and busy so I’m definitely reminding myself that it! And trust me, we have been trying to have kids since day one of our marriage and went through infertility treatments/tough adoption processes to get these boys. They get a lot of attention, together and otherwise! WE just got back from an 11 day camping trip just the 4 of us which was awesome! My husband, though he often isn’t home or is distracted, does a much better job of dropping everything for the kids than for the house or my needs (that isn’t meant to sound like a dig at him… he just takes fathering pretty seriously. Struggles with focusing on it, though).

Thanks for your response! :slight_smile:

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Thanks Samuelburns! Yes, we have bulletin boards, phone reminders and all that jazz. We’ve talked at length at how I could help him be motivated and get a project done and recently, our attempts have not worked.

NOt necessarily a response to Samuelburns but in general; I think my husband has it in his head that he is too busy to do anything so he chooses not to. He has made cycling a priority so he pushes everything aside to do that, saying it’s his only “me time”. Even though his me time gets a lot bigger when you include the getting ready and getting the bike ready. He has a lot of pressure at work, as far as I can tell, so I can understand this feeling (heck, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by my to do list and watch netflix instead) but it’s been going on for a long time. I have shown him that I’m not asking for a lot more, just a little help around the house and somehow managing to cycle without taking so long to get everything ready… or needing to obsess over his cycling computer. He gets it… just doesn’t act on it.

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Man, I wish I lived nearby, I’d come help do it! Better than doing my own stuff at home, right?!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::sweat_smile: Sadly wrong continent…:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

About the cycling and getting ready time, 't his is where I was coming from with my suggestions to divert some of that time into stuff done with one child.

I think you’re saying that you want more of his time for family stuff, and that when he is fathering he is doing it very well.

If you ask him to swap cycling time for chores, that’s just not going to happen in reality… But asking him to swap some time for something else he can be enthusiastic about just might.

And the getting ready time and cyclng computer time: the getting ready can be helped by changing where he keeps his stuff and when he checks it, for example. A bit like the packing a bag for work/college the night before. So that going out literally means picking up keys and bag and going. Well, getting changed as well, but if he has put those clothes ready at an earlier time that will be quicker too.

And the cycling stats? Very addictive I’m sure, so have a serious chat about how much time and when and ask him how he plans to stick to that?

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Hi Blythe. I’m sorry to hear about this tough time. I have been on the other side of this issue recently so maybe I can give some perspective.

The first thing I would like to know is if your husband has acknowledged that you need help and that he is going to do it. Sometimes we need to declare stuff explicitly to start working on them.

These are all good suggestions, and have all been tried, unfortunately.
He is convinced he needs to reach a certain level of fitness every summer that coincides with his stats from his computer. So, we can’t talk him out of cycling. Which is fair, you can’t talk me out of my morning run either (nor would anyone want to, because I become a bad snickers commercial without it).
As far as getting ready, it doesn’t matter how prepared he is it still takes him a long time. It’s just the way he operates. He is so easily distracted it doesn’t matter if his stuff is laid out and ready, he will find something. He will see a minor adjustment on the bike, or get to listening to something on his phone, or any number of things. He generally just moves very slowly, as well. He doesn’t mean to, and I literally can’t remove all distractions for him.
Cycling stats have been a long time discussion in our house. Since it’s a hyper-focus once he starts he has a hard time stopping, even with reminders, alarms, etc. It’s very frustrating because he says he doesn’t want to get lost in them but two hours later, he’s still looking.

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Hi Quimerae!
Yes, he has acknowledged, on numerous ocassions, that I need help. He genuinely wants to be better at helping. He does what he thinks will help him make time to help me. It is frustrating!

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Has he declared when he is going to help?

As an ADHD brain, I deal with this A LOT. Limiting beliefs. I constantly feel like I have too many things to do, too little time, etc. I can often surprise myself by how quickly a task takes… but it is so hard to actually start it. Its so hard to make something like exercise a priority, so I commend him for that. But I also completely see how this makes things more difficult on your end. One thing that helps me is putting a timer on and seeing how many household chores I can complete in that time, and writing them down afterwards. That part is key – I just let myself go around the apartment and do whatever cleaning task I feel like doing. This does two things: 1. I’m not married to a list, which often leads me to feeling like a failure when I don’t complete everything and 2. Shows me just how many things I did accomplish in that time. I do so many random tasks in between that have value and that way they get acknowledged.

I don’t know if I necessarilly have advice… but maybe I can offer my own personal understanding of this in my life. I go through waves in interest… currently I am all about roller blading. It is the only thing that genuinely excites me enough to make me get out of bed. These motivational activities can be really hard to come by for an ADHD-er. I know for me, I feel like I need to roller blade everyday, and that if I don’t, I’ll lose the interest, something that happens to nearly every activity and hobby. Honestly I know I will fall off of the roller blading kick eventually… but thats part of why I feel a desperation to hold on to it. Of course, this doesn’t always work out for me, but I almost can’t help it. It becomes the most important thing… like not doing it makes me a failure. It is my gut telling me that I need to do it, so when I don’t listen, I’m ignoring myself (touching on a ton of other ADHD challenges related to self-esteem).

I am happily married and have a very understanding husband. He, like you, takes on a ton of the everyday tasks of keeping up an apartment, making dinner, etc. I tell him I appreciate it all the time, and thank him for supporting me. I know as time goes by and we start having kids we’ll have to figure out systems that work for us… but we should probably start now.

I’m not sure if this helps, but thank YOU for posting your story. It helps me to hear your perspective. And props to you for coming here for advice! The brains appreciate it :slight_smile:

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kelseythelemur (cute name, btw), thank you for your perspective.
Adding children adds a WHOLE lot of responsibility. We are currently in the hardest part, a toddler and infant, which is ridiculous.
I appreciate your input. Unfortunately, we’ve tried the “timer, do what you want cleaning wise” thing a few times. He usually ends up taking the entire time doing one item obsessively, and it’s typically not something that needs done, like organizing the medicine cabinet. LOL.

Thanks for your response! And keep thanking your husband! When my husband went quite a while without recognizing I do a lot (during our adoption paperwork) I wrote down, in detail, everything I did for our family and handed it to him. He was surprised by the amount of things on that list and has tried to thank me regularly since then.

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Quimerae,
Regularly. “This Saturday, I will do X.” “I will set aside 20 minutes tonight to start Y.”

He often starts his declaration. Not often is it finished. Before distractions or because he is just working slowly.

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What about “before cycling I’ll do X” or “before checking my cycling computer, I’ll do Y” and then use post it notes on the computer and bicycle as reminders.

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Ohhhh yes… yes, this can definitely happen :smiley:

Thank you! I love that you wrote everything down on paper. That is an excellent idea!

Gosh, does that work for you? You’re very lucky :slightly_smiling_face:

With me, that can backfire big time. I tend to assume I won’t manage so I end up doing neither…:pensive:

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This used to work. When I was the post-it queen for him and set up all his reminders. Sometimes the reminder works, and sometimes he thinks “Oh yeah! I’ll do it when I get back” and then forgets. And honestly, I don’t have the brain capacity to post-it for him in this season of life. I just can’t take it on with the kids, the dogs, the house, etc.
Sorry this is short and negative sounding. I am a few days into a summer cold and can’t breath through my nose and both boys are in the same boat. It’s been a long day. My Brain is finishing dinner with the boys, though, which is nice because I’m on the couch trying to survive, lol.

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Get better soon…!!!:open_mouth::cold_sweat: