While my husband doesn’t understand my brain, he has always understood (even before my diagnosis) that it just works a little differently than his (like everyones brain actually, no two people are exactly the same). He knows me very well and he knows my strengths and weaknesses and has always supported me in my weaker areas and played to my strengths. He of course has weaknesses and strengths, too and I try to do the same.
This does not mean, that we’re not both working on ourselves to overcome our weaknesses and be better versions of ourselves.
The gravy for example would have been the same challenge for me, too. Always wanting to be helpful I would have agreed to do it, too without actually having a plan for the whole process. My brain would have jumped into gravy-focus mode (which for my brain is not narrow like you would expect for focus mode but more like gravy-super nova mode) spending all it’s energy coming up with the ultimate gravy and not just the ultimate gravy but the ultimate way to make that ultimate gravy and so on and just like a super nova the explosion would have been so big that in the end my brain would have kind of collapsed (meaning no gravy in any useful amount of time).
So how could we have avoided that?
Well, ideally I would have been aware of what’s going to happen and stated that I need some help from someone that has an exact plan for making gravy or at least some more information about what exactly is expected from me (e.g quick and easy gravy, take the first recipe you find, needs to be ready in thirty minutes, timing is more important than the perfect taste)
Unfortunately my ADHD brain runs into tasks way to quickly and by the time I realize what’s happening it’s already happening (and it’s hard to stop a super nova). That’s something I’m working on with Coaching, because in the end it’s my responsibility not anyone else.
That does not mean my husband can’t help. He actually can. And that’s what we do in our relationship, we support each other and help each other to overcome or make the best out of our weaknesses.
What would he have done in this situation? Knowing me, he would have known, that I don’t really know how to make a gravy. If he knew how to make gravy, he would have most likely offered me his help and we would have made it together. But I know he does not really know how to make gravy neither.
In this situation, he probably would have asked me if I plan to make gravy from a package or if I have a recipe for it. My answers would have been “No” and “No, I first have to find one”. Huge red flag here, if you plan to have gravy on the table in the next 20-30 minutes.
At this point, he would have either offered to find a gravy recipe, while I prepare the pot or given me more tangible information (e.g just take the first recipe you find and make sure it’s ready in 10(!) minutes).
In the end he feels great, because he knows how much his intervention helped and he is happy he could help me and I feel great, because I managed to put gravy on the table in time and I am happy because I do know and appreciate, how much he helped me.
This is of course just one example. Time management being such an omnipresent thing
probably needs more work. It’s something a lot of brains struggle with and coaching would definitely help.
I think communication is important here, too. Him not being able to manage his time is one thing and something he should definitely work on, but for that he also needs to know when time management is necessary and what you expect of him.
From what I read, you planned a 3 hour bike ride in your head (starting now). In his head it was probably something like “I will get ready and then I go for a 3 hour bike ride”. No need for time management, since there is not really a time, when the activity is supposed to end for him (except the one in your mind.) If you need/want him to be back in three hours from now, tell him. And emphasise the importance. Even better, give him the exact time. “I need you to be back at 6 to spend time with the kids while I do …”. If he then looses 1 hour with getting ready that’s on him, you still expect him to be back at 6. A gentle reminder while he’s leaving never hurts (at least not for me). “You will be back by 6, so I can do …, right?”
Not sure if this is helpful for you, but it’s what works for us. Clear communication is the