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The Shame of Consistent Inconsistency

The only time I have ever referred to myself as consistent was when describing my inconsistency.  If there is one thing I can share about my ADHD that is maddening to me, it is that this idea of “consistency” seems so foreign and far-fetched.

Last night the hubs and I were talking and discussing the state of our home right now. I can make this place appear put together in a pinch, but the truth is that it is full of cluttered cupboards, random piles in corners, and bins and baskets of mismatched items that I used in a quick clean up and never revisited.  I have clean laundry that sits for weeks, areas of chaos in each room, and each day I become more and more overwhelmed.

Saturday Paul texted me while I was out and shared that he gets anxious about the house, the car, and the garage, and wondered if we could work together to come up with better solutions.  Immediately the shame monster appears, and the sting of disappointment hits me hard.  To be honest, I knew this was coming soon. The house was overwhelming me and causing me anxiety, but I didn’t even know where to begin to tackle things. When it gets to be so much I become paralyzed, and I watch as it continues to get worse.

I am tired.  I am so stinking tired of coming up with solutions, plans, and systems that seem exciting and fun in the beginning but quickly get forgotten and irrelevant.

I am tired.  I am so stinking tired of coming up with solutions, plans, and systems that seem exciting and fun in the beginning but quickly get forgotten and irrelevant. If one part of the system we set in place to complete a task changes or doesn’t fit perfectly into the mold at that moment I simply stop.

Imagine the factories they show in “How It’s Made.” There is such an exact timing and precision that has to happen for all things to function smoothly.  If one part of the machine malfunctions the rest of the tasks after it cannot be completed until things are fixed.  For me it’s as if I shut down the entire factory as soon as one part of the machine malfunctions instead of going in to troubleshoot, fixing the problem, and continuing on with business as usual.

I cannot tell you how tired I am of shutting down factories. I am so tired of feeling like I start one process just to wait until I fail at it, because I know that even with my best intentions I will get bored, overwhelmed, and throw the whole thing out.

I see this in each and every are of my life, and when you continue to see this over and over again you begin to feel shame as you see your family impacted.  I feel like I am a good mom, but then I feel like a failure when it comes to providing an environment that is scheduled, structured, and has clear expectations.  I have tried chore charts, and while we do well for a while, they quickly get forgotten.

I wish this was a post that offered solutions for those of you who feel the same.  This is one of those “Brain Dump” posts where I am pulling all of the emotions out of my head and letting them out through my typing, because it is therapeutic. I wish I could tell you that medication has fixed it all, that essential oils made me magically consistent, that alarms, apps, reminders, paying for services, or even prayer made it all better.  The truth is that these things have helped for a bit, but they take consistency, that thing that I so desperately wish came naturally to me.

I know I preach to embrace your imperfections, and I do TRULY believe we can do this, but I am here to tell you that I know it isn’t an easy task.  It is hard when some of those imperfections bring about shame and cause frustration for others.  It is hard when we feel like our brains are “broken” in some way.

However, my encouragement for you (and maybe I am talking more to myself here) is to look for those areas where you shine, and know that they have value too.  God has given you gifts that He so perfectly chose for you.  Somewhere along the way He chose someone else to receive a passion for label makers, baskets, and storage bins (ha, my mother), and He chose you (me) for gifts that they might not possess. I know God has given me many gifts and talents, but the devil has a way of making me feel that the ones that matter are the ones God didn’t bestow on me.

If you have shame in the consistency of your inconsistency,         know that you are not alone.

If you have shame in the consistency of your inconsistency, know that you are not alone.

Together let’s try our best to learn that it is important to keep opening up those factories even if we feel we have to keep shutting them down.

Together let’s try our best to know that our value as a wife and mother is not based on empty laundry baskets and organized cupboards.

Together let’s try our best to always work at being better than we are today, and to keep giving ourselves grace.

And let’s just all accept that we will do all of the above consistently inconsistently, but maybe with a little less shame.




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Hyperfocus: the OxyMoron of ADHD

How My Brain Works

I remember the more I learned about my ADHD the more it felt like someone was slowing turning on the lights in a dark room. Everything started to make sense, and I began to feel less “lazy” and started to form my love/hate relationship with this thing called ADHD.

One such concept that blew my mind was when I started to read about “hyperfocus.” So often we assume that people who have ADHD CAN’T focus and complete tasks, so how in the world can we HYPERfocus?

For those who have never heard this concept before, hyperfocus is when we immerse ourselves into an activity that is enjoyable and pleasurable so intently that we might find other things are not getting done that need to.

Let me give you my real life example!  Back in the day I had a crochet business.  Nothing got me more excited than finding a new crochet pattern to try out.  It was a new creative challenge for me, and the minute I had it in my hands I was pulling out yarn and starting to hook.

The thing is that I found myself so immersed in these moments that I would take the yarn outside with me as I pushed my kids on the swings.  I would try to make lunch while my hands were busily trying to create the newest crocheted piece.  Whatever I did, the yarn came with me

At one point my husband (Lord, bless him) came home and looked around at all the unfinished household chores.  I had laundry unfinished ALL the time.  I mean, I STILL do, but I have four kids now and a full time job!  At this time I was a full-time mom to two kiddos without another job.

My “snap out of it” moment was when he said “Bets, before you crochet anything can you first get the laundry done?”

I was allowing myself to become so immersed in my creative outlet that the daily tasks I didn’t enjoy were being ignored and undone.

On a side note–those of you who have family who have ADHD, the BEST thing Paul did in his approach was to not ignore that crochet was important to me.  He knew I needed a creative outlet, but he also wanted to keep me accountable. 

Now that I know where I hyperfocus I can spot it a mile away.  Social media, creating graphics, immersing myself in editing a video.  While all of these are GOOD things, it is a constant battle for me to tell myself to shut them down and get other things done.  My brain HATES doing activities that aren’t stimulating (more on this later).

Hyperfocus is awesome when I need to get things done for work.  I LOVE what I do and the creative outlet it gives me.  It isn’t awesome when it comes to managing my home, finishing that pesky laundry, and getting out the door on time.

Hyperfocus is a daily struggle for me.  It helps when I have a friend or my husband home with me, because I am less likely to find myself lost in focus.  I need to keep working at finding ways to prompt myself to but down the phone or the computer.  Timers work great, but it’s easy to ignore them when I don’t want to stop what I am doing.

Squirrel moment: Full transparency–writing this post is hyperfocus for me

For those who have found coping skills to manage hyperfocus please share!  I am always searching for ways to manage my ADHD.  My newest purchase is this lovely clock, and it should be here by Saturday.  I’ll keep you all updated on my thoughts, and if I find it helpful!

In the meantime, I need to get some housework done.  Someone tell me how to make it stimulating for this brain! 😝


For more resources on hyperfocus check out this article.  I subscribe to their emails and it has been a fantastic source of information.