I admit it. I’m high maintenance.
I like to be in control of the radio while in the car, and the remote while watching TV. I have systems set up all over the house that no one is allowed to screw with. I hate to be interrupted when I’m concentrating. And you don’t want to travel with me because I’m just a big pain in the ass when out of my element. I like to do what I want, when I want. I’ve been labeled a “bitch” by many people, even though I’m actually a very warm and caring person. But I am one of those ADHD control freaks who likes to keep a certain order to things, lest they fall into chaos and I fall into overwhelm.
Perhaps you know an ADHDer like me? Or perhaps you are an ADHDer like me? Our greatest lesson to learn in life is that we can’t control everything. It’s impossible. Life happens, and our challenge is to roll with it.
One year ago today, life taught me that lesson with the birth of my beautiful and precious daughter, Tigerlily. Actually, life started teaching me that lesson even before she was born. I planned on having a fit and active pregnancy, and instead I got a herniated disc. I planned on having a natural water birth with no drugs, and I got two days of painful, medicated labor that resulted in a c-section. Life was making it known long before my little baby even arrived: I was no longer in control.
And once she did arrive, life embodied the very thing that I had always feared so greatly: chaos. There was no order to anything. I slept whenever I could. I ate whatever there was to eat. I spent the first six months of my daughter’s life glued to a rocking chair breast feeding a hungry, slow, little thing that ate for 45 minutes, took a break for 75 minutes, and then ate again. And in between it all, I ran a business!
And you know what? I loved every minute of it.
Suddenly chaos lost its power over me. Overwhelm couldn’t touch me. I had something greater than myself to focus on, and she was all that mattered. Still is.
A year later, things are starting to come together again. We actually have a schedule. My daughter sleeps through the night, and so do I. She’s now weaned and eating regular food every 3 hours. And she doesn’t allow for tardiness. If that food is not ready at exactly 3 hours since her last meal, she will sound the alarm!
The house is still a mess most of the time, and we’re ordering out for pizza (for the parents, not the baby) much more than we ever used to. Last night the dogs ate off paper plates because their bowls weren’t clean. I’ve worn dirty jeans for a quick trip to the store more than I care to admit. But it’s all okay. This high maintenance ADHDer has happily given herself over to a higher power: a high maintenance baby.
I still like to be in control of the radio while in the car, although I’ve often put on children’s music to appease my daughter. I’ve given up on the remote when the kid is around—she’s not too concrned about the TV, but the remote is a great toy! Those systems that I set up all over the house are barely holding on, even though I hope to reinforce them at some point. I can no longer be annoyed when interrupted, because most of those interruptions are from or about my baby. And the ultimate test: when traveling by plane with my daughter last November, my partner actually commented on how pleasant I was. I had my baby by my side to make me smile. I’m sure some people still label me a bitch, but I’m also sure they’d take it back if they saw me singing and dancing like an utter fool to keep my daughter entertained.
I’m grateful to life for teaching me this lesson: things are much easier and more enjoyable when I’m not trying to control everything. Life moves forward no matter what, and chaos and overwhelm will pop in from time to time. It’s really okay. Eventually, they’ll find their way out and give me some room to breathe before they inevitably return. That’s life, and what a great one it is.
So Happy Birthday, Tigerlily! You’ve truly changed my life in more ways than you’ll ever know.