How To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom (With ADHD)

by | Apr 25, 2019

stay-at-home-mom with adhd

Stay-at-home-moms with ADHD are not the same as a neurotypical SAHM.

In the summer of 2010, I was very pregnant, and very much looking forward to being a stay-at-home-mom. But I was not acknowledging my ADHD so I had no idea what was in store for me.

You all know where your head is before your child is born. Especially your first child.

You picture yourself learning to nurse, reading stories, and hours of contented snuggling with your new baby.

What you’re not picturing is dog vomit on the floor, your baby screaming, and dirty laundry piled on every surface.

Many of us have a very specific set of expectations for ourselves. We want to be the consummate stay-at-home mom and homemaker.

You know what I mean. We push ourselves to produce the images we see online that are representative of perfect motherhood and homemaking.

This behavior is totally understandable given how many messages we receive both subtly, and not-so subtly, from the moment we reveal our pregnancy and plans to stay home.

When we finally give birth and make it home from the hospital with our babies, we are totally unprepared to adapt to life as a mom.

There is a steep learning curve for ADHD women when it comes to parenting, managing time, and running a house, no matter how many books and blogs we read.


How to be a stay-at-home mom (with ADHD)


Manage your expectations

You cannot totally avoid having expectations. But you can be realistic.

What you are picturing in your mind when you think about staying at home with your children?

Are you picturing a sleeping baby and a perfectly prepared meal? Or is it a child sitting in the middle of a clean, nicely decorated room playing quietly with a few toys?

It’s very easy to get caught up in Instagram images and Pinterest boards.  There are millions of blogs with pictures showing you what your home should look like.

And even more people are telling you what to do, and what NOT to do with your child.

Instead of trying to emulate the highly stylized lives of our favorite bloggers, why not be more realistic and kind to ourselves?

You can manage your expectations by getting clear on your values.

Get clear on your values

You know intuitively what is most important to you, but you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it.

Try this: Sit down and make a list of the top five people in your life. The people on your list represent your values.

For example, my top two people are my child and my husband. So they are what I value the most.

In order to make decisions about how to spend my time I need to first think about these two people.

You will notice that how you spend your time and energy changes drastically when you operate in alignment with your values.

Your expectations change as well, because the wellbeing of your PEOPLE is more important than taking Instagram-worthy photos of your child playing in your perfectly organized living room.

If your number one value is being a mom – Just do that, be with your child instead of worrying about the toys scattered on the floor.

create structure in your days and weeks

Starting your day is not easy. This is even more true when you are at home and you don’t have a specific start and end time to your workday.

Choose a kickstarter for your day.

A kickstarter tells your brain and body that it is time to get to work. And it doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it should be pleasurable.

Kickstarters include:

  • Spending five minutes on devotional/meditation/journaling
  • Enjoying a cup of coffee alone
  • Walking around the block
  • Stretching
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Putting your children on the bus

The beauty of a kickstarter is that you have a go-to place to start your day.

Instead of putting your kids on the bus and thinking, “Ok what now? What should I do first? Aarrrggh.” You know what you are going to do, which eliminates the decision fatigue before it starts.

After your kickstart, figure out how much time you have until your partner and children will return.

How many hours do you have at home?

Then make decisions about how you can break up that time into major tasks.

Major tasks include: facetime with your child, errands, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and personal time.

Choose no more than three major tasks per day, and stick to those tasks.

I can help you create some structure to your week.

Check out my private membership community.

Follow the rule of three

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE major tasks for the day.

I cannot recall where I first read about the Rule of Three, but since I implemented this my life has drastically improved.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, my guess is that parenting is one of your values – so it’s ok for that to be one of the three major tasks in your day.

Choose just two other projects, like cooking a meal or doing a load of laundry and then concentrate on those three major tasks.

ADHD makes our attention and focus finite resources, so we have to be very intentional in choosing how to use them.

When you are being intentional with your time, and working in alignment with your values, it gets easier to prioritize and perform the everyday tasks.

Accept what is

ADHD makes motivation and time management difficult. Being a mom requires every single executive function skill at our disposal.

Deciding to be a stay-at-home mom presents an extra challenge due to the lack of structure and external accountability.

We literally cannot trust our brains.


Running a home is a full-time job. I call myself the CEO of my house for a reason.

There is a steep learning curve for ADHD women when it comes to parenting, managing time, and running a house, no matter how many books and blogs we read.

Acceptance is more empowering than self-loathing.

Find support and community wherever you can. Stay-at-home-moms with ADHD need and deserve support.

I’m working to create a membership community that provides all of us with that, and more.

Check out the ADHD Enclave