ADHD women and mothers need support. It’s easy to say that, but not so easy to figure out a solution.
In the spring of 2015 I was spending the majority of my time in yoga pants, only leaving the house to go to the gym or buy groceries.
I had left my teaching job, and taken a part time position doing legal research for an attorney to make the payments on my student loan. I’d always worked in some capacity, and I liked having my own money.
But my son was showing signs of ADHD and sensory processing issues, and the stress of running around town to therapists and pretending to care about personal injury law was wearing on me.
One day I was folding laundry on my bed, while also listening to my son scream and watching an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Something about watching those women fight made me think about my ADHD.
Could the whole ADHD thing be affecting me now?
That night I did what most of you do – I went to Facebook and joined some groups.
I googled ADHD women, ADHD moms, and adult ADHD. There were some books about ADHD on Amazon, so I ordered three of those and went to bed.
I got frustrated with the Facebook groups pretty quickly.
People in Facebook groups want acknowledgement more than they want solutions.
People in Facebook groups also want to be distracted from whatever is making them uncomfortable.
But when you vent and roll around together in the same stew of shame, frustration, and overwhelm for too long, things inevitably spiral downward.
You see arguing, misinformation, and then new groups spring up from the ashes.
For six months I read every book about adult ADHD I could get my hands on. I filled so many notecards I finally bought a domain and started sharing what I learned.
My thought process went like this:
Nobody except therapists and doctors are writing about ADHD women and mothers.
There’s gotta be a better way for us to gather, share information, and move our lives forward.
I like writing and research. And I like talking to other women. Nobody can DO ADHD alone.
If I work hard and have good ethics people will be naturally attracted to my work.
After four years my naivety has worn off, but my original line of thinking remained.
ADHD women and mothers need support, and I’m gonna find a way to provide it.
Support for ADHD Women and Mothers
ADHD in adult women is still widely unrecognized and misunderstood. Many of us didn’t get a diagnosis until adulthood, so we are actively rewriting the narrative of our lives.
You’ve probably heard about ADHD coaching on social media. Here is a link to a list of coaches trained in ADHD.
I hired a coach and it was a positive experience. It was also very expensive to get that kind of one-on-one attention.
In the current economic environment, that type of personal growth might feel out of reach for you. I know it does for me.
So I want to create a safe space where we can talk openly about all of the issues. A place where we can coach each other through the shame, anxiety, overwhelm and chronic stress of life with ADHD.
I’ve invented a new way of learning and growing through ADHD, and I’m calling it Peer Coaching.
The amount of information out there about ADHD is staggering. Some of it is great. Some of it is total crap. Sometimes it seems like #ADHD is just another hashtag people use to get followers.
A couple years ago I started to gather a small group of women together to have book discussions, and talk about the day-to-day issues of our lives.
These meetings gave us a chance to dissect some of the information, and figure out ways to apply it to our lives. It also allowed us to tell our stories and get immediate feedback from more than one outside perspective.
I noticed immediately how much more powerful it was to have multiple perspectives on a situation.
This was so effective, I was able to move on from my personal coach and allow myself to be coached by these women.
Over time we transitioned to a new platform on Mighty Networks, and we named our new home The ADHD Enclave.
The ADHD Enclave
In the Enclave we talk about what really matters.
You probably talk about ADHD in terms of the way it shows up in your life. Maybe you’re disorganized, or chronically late. Or maybe you have a tough time regulating your emotions.
All of this is totally understandable.
But what we are most interested in the Enclave is your relationship to your ADHD.
We want to talk about your beliefs about yourself – how you identify as a person, a mother, and a friend. Telling your story is how you heal. And telling your story is how you learn to apply all the executive function strategies in a way that works for you.
You have to deal with your inner world before you can deal with the outer world.
Together, we created a community where we could talk about our relationship with ADHD, while also working on the more practical lifestyle considerations.
You are capable of growth and change your relationship to self, as well as your day-to-day functionality. And you don’t have to charge $1000 to your credit card to do so.
When I polled my email list the number one complaint about life with ADHD was overwhelm.
You feel like nobody really understands you or, “gets it.”
Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something. Everyone wants to be seen, heard, and understood. If this weren’t the case we wouldn’t have all these Facebook groups.
But if you are consumed with holding corks underwater everyday, the idea of doing something solely for yourself never enters your mind.
The ADHD Enclave was designed for convenience, ease of use, and affordability. You can use the app to check in, but there are no annoying notifications or distracting ads.
People join because the Enclave makes them feel calmer. It doesn’t amp up your anxiety or increase your agitation. It’s a soft place to land that doesn’t add to the overwhelm.
How it works
If you want to see how the Enclave is structured, you can go directly to the info page.
There are only two types of membership. BASIC membership includes body double sessions twice a week, and private place to post and interact with the other women. The LIVE membership meets with me on Zoom two nights per week.
In order to enter, you have to choose your level and create a user name and password.
Once you get inside it looks like this:
You scroll down to read posts from others in the center.
If you want to look through the ADHD topic library you navigate left and click on Topics.
I sort through the noise and present only the best information from vetted experts in our community library. So if you have questions or want to learn more about topics relevant to ADHD women simply look through the Topics.
During the week we have daily conversation starters, and I repost the Zoom link for anyone who needs it.
You can start your own conversation in the center feed anytime.
We also have a mobile app, and private messaging for all members.
If you are a BASIC member, or don’t like to attend meetings, I always post a recap in the feed so you can still be involved in the conversation and learning.
Peer coaching in the Enclave is intimate and personalized. Everyone participates in whatever way is most comfortable for them. It becomes a place to wind down after a long day, or share your wins from the week.
In the words of a friend, “It’s like Cheers, everyone knows your name and cares about you.”
Hope and healing
It’s easy to lose hope with a late-in-life diagnosis of ADHD.
Many women tell me that they are not capable of change. Or they’ve tried everything and nothing worked.
My answer is always, “You’re trying to change the wrong things.”
You’re trying to change your behavior without trying to change your mindset.
Tomorrow is another day and another chance to try again.
Come to a group meeting and learn how to cultivate self-compassion.
Healing happens, but not until you are ready and willing to try something different. You can’t double down on the same limiting beliefs that are holding you back and expect to see changes.
ADHD women and mothers need support
I’ve gathered a brilliant group of women to tell our stories, manage our emotions, and peer coach each other through the changes that make life with ADHD calmer and more satisfying.
The social media landscape is very loud, and very crowded. Not everything you see with the #ADHD is accurate. Some of it is downright misleading.
There are some amazing ADHD coaches, and there are also some con artists.
I love working with ADHD women, but I don’t love the ADHD “biz.”
Learn as much as you can, and get support in whatever form works for you.
You can’t do ADHD alone. And now you don’t have to.
Together we can revolutionize coaching for ADHD women.
Wanna support my work without the commitment?