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Episode 24: ADHD and Motherhood

Updated: 4 days ago

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Overwhelmed Woman


Welcome to the "Wellness in Every Season" podcast, where we embark on a transformative journey towards achieving total wellness, even in the midst of overwhelming moments. I'm your host, Autumn Carter, and I'm thrilled to have you here.

This podcast is a sanctuary for all mothers out there, and we extend a warm invitation to anyone seeking guidance and inspiration. We believe in fostering an inclusive community where we learn and grow together, supporting each other during life's challenging transitions.

Join us as we step out of survival mode and discover the path to thriving, embracing wellness in every season of motherhood. From sleepless nights to new beginnings, we'll explore practical strategies, share heartfelt stories, and uncover the transformative power of self-care and self-love.

Together, we'll unlock the wisdom, strength, and resilience within ourselves, reminding one another that we're never alone on this beautiful, yet demanding, journey. It's time to prioritize your well-being and reclaim your joy, one season at a time.




This is Episode 24 of the 'Wellness in Every Season' podcast, your host, Autumn Carter, certified life coach for Stay-At-Home-Moms, will delve into an incredibly significant topic - "ADHD and Motherhood: Navigating the Unique Challenges and Embracing the Strengths".

Throughout this episode, we will shed light on the often misunderstood world of ADHD, particularly as it presents in women and mothers. We'll explore the complex interplay between ADHD, anxiety, and depression, discussing how these conditions can be misdiagnosed or overlooked in women. We'll navigate the neurological underpinnings of ADHD, examining what's happening inside the brain, and debunk common myths about the 'hyperactivity' in ADHD.

Autumn will share relatable experiences, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of moms living with ADHD. Expect a lively discussion about recognizing the signs of ADHD in oneself or others and how to support a friend who may be facing these challenges.

We will also venture into practical territory with a lifehack segment, sharing valuable strategies for managing everyday tasks and bringing calm into the hectic life of an ADHD mom. Autumn will then guide us through a mindfulness practice designed to help quiet the overactive ADHD mind.

As we wander through this journey of understanding and acceptance, Autumn will provide poignant coaching questions to encourage self-reflection and deepen personal insight. So, Wellness Wanders, get ready to embark on a meaningful exploration of ADHD and motherhood in our next episode. Together, let's wander through this often misunderstood, but incredibly important, aspect of wellness. Remember, every season of wellness is worth exploring, and there is strength and beauty to be found in every journey.


Key point #1:

Living with ADHD is akin to perpetually navigating a labyrinth. The world often feels like an overwhelming surge of sights, sounds, and thoughts all vying for attention at once. For those with ADHD, there are days when they feel as if they're swimming against a strong current. The usual ebbs and flows of life become a tumultuous tide, marked by a struggle to concentrate, impulsive behavior, and an energy that seems endless and uncontrollable.

Now imagine this maze in the context of motherhood. Being a mom, the heart of a family, is already a task full of immense responsibilities. For a mother with ADHD, these responsibilities can be even more daunting.

One of the most significant challenges is time management. An everyday task like making a grocery list can feel like climbing a mountain. The racing mind and inattention might cause the mother to forget certain items, only realizing the missing milk or bread once back home. It’s the constant worry that something essential has slipped through the cracks of an often disjointed thought process.

The impulsivity associated with ADHD could also make motherhood more difficult. It’s like being on a roller coaster with sudden turns and drops. Impulsive decisions might lead to unnecessary purchases, or agreeing to a play date when there’s already a mountain of chores at home. It’s not about being reckless or not caring, it's more of an irresistible urge that’s often hard to control.

When it comes to inattention, it's like being lost in a dense fog. A mother with ADHD might struggle to maintain focus during her child’s long, meandering story about a school day. She doesn’t want to miss a single detail, but the fog makes it difficult. The same fog can make helping with homework an uphill battle, as the mother fights to keep her mind from drifting away.

Then there's hyperactivity - it’s like running a never-ending marathon. A restless energy fills the mother, making moments of calm scarce. When she longs to sit and cuddle with her child for a movie, the ceaseless drive to move might make it hard to enjoy the simple, quiet moments.

A significant aspect of ADHD is the difficulty in emotional regulation. Imagine emotions as ocean waves. For a mother with ADHD, these waves often come as a tempest. Anger might flash like a thunderstorm, or anxiety may swell and crash down like a giant wave. It's not just the struggle to control these emotional storms, but also the worry about how they affect her children.

Furthermore, many moms with ADHD live in a state of constant fatigue. It’s like being asked to run a race with a heavy backpack. Even when she's exhausted, the need to take care of her family doesn’t allow her to take the backpack off.

Lastly, the feeling of overwhelm. It’s like standing at the foot of a towering mountain, the peak lost in the clouds. The thought of having to climb that mountain, day after day, can leave a mom with ADHD feeling helpless and inadequate.

But it's essential to remember that every mother, with ADHD or not, has a unique set of challenges. Motherhood, despite its trials, also brings moments of unparalleled joy, love, and accomplishment. And with the right support, like therapy, medication, and a caring community, mothers with ADHD can find ways to navigate their labyrinth, conquer their mountains, and even enjoy the roller coaster ride.

Key point #2:

If a mom suspects she has ADHD, there are several steps she can take, both professional and self-help, to better manage her situation:

**Professional Steps**

**Psychological Evaluation**: The first step is to get a professional evaluation. She should reach out to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health professional specializing in ADHD. They can conduct a thorough assessment, which often includes interviews, questionnaires, and possibly cognitive testing.

2. **Treatment Plan**: If diagnosed with ADHD, the professional will typically suggest a comprehensive treatment plan. This may involve medication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or other types of therapy. Medication can help regulate attention and impulse control, while therapy can provide strategies to manage symptoms.

3. **ADHD Coach**: An ADHD coach can help with practical day-to-day strategies. They can assist with developing skills in organization, time management, and planning, which can be especially helpful for managing the responsibilities of motherhood.

4. **Support Groups**: There are many ADHD support groups where individuals can share experiences, strategies, and resources. It can be comforting to connect with others who understand the unique challenges of having ADHD.

**Self-Help Steps**

1. **Education**: Understanding ADHD is a crucial step. Read up on the condition from reputable sources to better understand how it affects you. There are many books and online resources specifically about ADHD and women.

2. **Routine and Structure**: Having a consistent daily routine can help manage ADHD symptoms. Structure brings predictability, which can be calming and help improve focus and productivity.

3. **Exercise and Nutrition**: Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can significantly impact ADHD symptoms. Exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain, which helps with attention and focus. Similarly, a balanced diet can also affect brain function and mood.

4. **Mindfulness and Meditation**: These practices can help manage impulsivity and inattention. By training the brain to focus on the present moment, it can be easier to control the mind's tendency to jump from one thought to another.

5. **Self-Care**: Ensure you're setting aside time to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. This could be in the form of hobbies, relaxation, or just quiet time to decompress. Sleep is also crucial as lack of rest can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

6. **Seek Help**: Don't hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, or professional services for housework, childcare, etc. It’s okay to acknowledge when things become too overwhelming.

Remember, while ADHD can present challenges, it doesn't define one's ability to be a great mom. With the right support and strategies, a mother with ADHD can navigate her unique path through motherhood. If you suspect you have ADHD, reaching out to a healthcare provider is an important first step.


Segment: Mindfulness Practice:

This mindfulness exercise, known as the "Five Senses Exercise," is designed to ground individuals in their sensory experiences, a practice particularly beneficial for those with ADHD.

Begin this exercise by finding a quiet, comfortable space where you won't be interrupted. Sit comfortably, either on a chair or the floor, and make an effort to relax your body. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to create a calm foundation.

Next, open your eyes and focus on your surroundings. Name five things you can see, paying attention to objects of varying colors, sizes, and distances. As you identify each item, take note of its shape, color, and any unique features.

Following this, close your eyes once more and concentrate on the physical sense of touch. Acknowledge four things you can physically feel. This could be the texture of the clothes on your skin, the surface beneath you, the room's temperature, or the sensation of an object in your hand. With each item, genuinely experience the associated feelings.

Continuing with your eyes closed, direct your attention to the sounds around you. Identify three noises, such as your own breath, birdsong, or distant traffic. Try to discern between sounds close by and those further away.

Now, open your senses to any smells in your environment. Recognize two things you can smell. These could be as subtle as the scent of your skin, the freshness of the air, or the lingering aroma of a meal. If you struggle to detect any scents, try moving to another location or take a deeper, more intentional breath.

Finally, focus on the sense of taste. Identify one thing you can taste, whether it's the lingering flavor from a meal or drink, or even the general taste present in your mouth. If you find this difficult, take a sip of water or a small snack if available, savoring the taste as you do so.

This Five Senses Exercise can be repeated as often as needed and can be practiced anywhere - be it at home, in the office, or outdoors. By focusing on the present moment and reducing the distractions of the mind, this exercise promotes a sense of calm and helps manage the symptoms of ADHD.


Key point #3:

Recognizing a potential struggle in a friend and feeling the desire to help shows deep empathy and kindness on your part. To approach this sensitive topic, you could initiate an open, non-judgmental conversation in a comfortable, inviting setting.

Keep in mind that ADHD in women is often misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression, and many women go through life without realizing that ADHD is the root of their challenges. ADHD in women often manifests as an internal restlessness, difficulty managing daily tasks, forgetfulness, and a pervasive feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s crucial to note that ADHD in adult women often looks different from the stereotypical hyperactive young boy often depicted in the media.

With a compassionate tone and genuine concern, share your observations. Use phrases like, "I've noticed you often seem overwhelmed, or find it hard to stay focused during our conversations. I wonder if you've ever thought about the possibility of ADHD?"

Now, having listened to this podcast episode, which discusses ADHD in mothers, it might be beneficial to suggest she give it a listen. You could say, "I recently listened to a podcast episode that delves into this very topic. It's filled with resources and insights about mothers with ADHD. Would you consider listening to it?" By sharing this episode, you're offering her an external, non-threatening source of information that she can explore in her own time and at her own pace.

If she's receptive to the conversation, continue sharing more about ADHD, particularly its often overlooked presentation in adult women. Assure her that there's no stigma in having ADHD. It's not a failing, nor does it define her worth as an individual or as a mother. It's simply a different way of processing the world, and with the right tools, it can be managed effectively.

Encourage her to consider seeking professional help. Offer to accompany her in researching and finding a mental health professional who specializes in ADHD. Reassure her that your role is not to pressure her, but to walk alongside her on this journey, offering your unwavering support.

Remember, it's crucial to respect her decisions. She may not be ready to take this step, and that's okay. Reassure her that your support and friendship remain steadfast, regardless of her choices. The warmth of your understanding, the steadiness of your support, and the authenticity of your concern could be a beacon of hope on her journey, wherever it may lead.



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Key point #4:

Many moms have a hard time discerning whether their struggles stem from depression, anxiety, or ADHD. When I spoke earlier about sharing your concerns with mom friends whom you suspect might have ADHD, I mentioned how easy it is for moms to misdiagnose themselves. This is a complex issue that deserves more attention.

You see, recognizing potential mental health concerns within oneself is the first step towards seeking help. As a mom, if you're constantly feeling overwhelmed, irritable, or simply "off," it's crucial to pay attention to these feelings. Remember, mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and ADHD aren't indicative of personal weakness or failure; they're real, common, and treatable medical conditions.

Depression in adults can manifest as persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness. You may lose interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed, have difficulty concentrating, or experience changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches, may also be signs of depression.

Anxiety, on the other hand, often presents as excessive worry or fear. You may find that you're constantly anticipating disaster, or you're overly concerned about health, money, family, or work. Physical symptoms can include restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep issues.

ADHD in women can be subtle and is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. It may present as chronic disorganization, difficulty completing tasks, problems focusing on a conversation, forgetfulness, or a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. ADHD can also lead to feelings of restlessness, difficulty relaxing, or constantly needing to move or do something.

It's important to remember that these are general symptoms and can also be signs of other mental or physical health conditions, or even just the result of a particularly stressful period. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms to the extent that they're interfering with your daily life, it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider.

You can start by noting down your symptoms, their frequency, and any patterns you notice. This will help your healthcare provider in understanding your situation. Additionally, there are numerous online self-assessment tools for these conditions. While they are not definitive or diagnostic, they can provide a starting point for a conversation with a healthcare professional.

If you suspect you might have depression, anxiety, or ADHD, it's crucial not to self-diagnose. Mental health conditions have overlapping symptoms, and only a trained professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You're not alone in this journey; there are numerous resources and professionals ready to support you every step of the way.


Lifehack segment:

Welcome, dear listeners, to the lifehack segment of our 'Wellness in Every Season' podcast. Today, we're focusing on practical, life-changing tips for moms who might be dealing with ADHD. These strategies aren't meant to replace professional help, but to offer some ease and efficiency in your day-to-day life. Remember, with a little bit of adaptation and a good deal of self-compassion, you can navigate life beautifully, even with ADHD.

Start with using reminders and lists. With ADHD, it can be easy to forget tasks, appointments, or important dates. Consider using a digital calendar or reminder app on your phone. Write lists for tasks and check off each item as you complete them. This can help manage forgetfulness and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Next, break down large tasks. Big projects or tasks can feel overwhelming when you have ADHD. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, instead of cleaning the whole house at once, start with one room or even a part of a room.

Then, implement a routine and structure. A predictable daily routine can reduce anxiety and make your day easier to manage. Try to establish a consistent wake-up, meal, and bedtime routine, and incorporate daily chores and tasks into this structure.

Don't underestimate the use of timers. If staying focused on tasks is challenging, try using a timer. Set it for a specific amount of time, like 15 or 30 minutes, and dedicate that time solely to the task at hand. This can make tasks less daunting and promote focus.

Prioritize physical activity. Regular exercise can help manage ADHD symptoms. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, even if it's just a short walk or a quick dance session in your living room.

Make sure to practice mindfulness. We discussed a specific mindfulness practice earlier in this episode, but generally, mindfulness can help manage ADHD symptoms. Taking time each day to be present and aware of your surroundings can reduce anxiety and improve focus.

Don't forget about self-care and rest. Make sure you're taking time for yourself. Adequate sleep, a nutritious diet, and relaxation are crucial for managing ADHD symptoms.

Finally, reach out for support. Having a support network is crucial. Whether it's family, friends, a support group, or a coach, don't hesitate to lean on others for help.

Every mom's journey with ADHD is unique, so don't be discouraged if some strategies don't work for you. Keep experimenting and adjusting, until you find the approaches that suit you best. Remember, you're not alone on this journey, and you're doing an amazing job.


Key point #5:

You may be wondering, "What is actually happening in the brain of someone with ADHD?" It's a great question and one that takes us into the fascinating world of neuroscience. So, let's talk science for a minute.

ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder. This means that it's related to the development of the brain's structure and function. While there's still much we don't fully understand about ADHD, we do know that it involves differences in brain activity and structure compared to those without the disorder.

Brain imaging studies have shown that people with ADHD have variations in the size and activity levels of certain brain structures. These include the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain involved in decision-making, attention, and impulse control; the basal ganglia, which play a role in reward processing and motivation; and the cerebellum, which contributes to coordination and movement, as well as cognitive functions.

Moreover, there's a difference in the way that neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine , function in the brain of someone with ADHD. These are the chemical messengers of our brain, playing a critical role in attention, motivation, and reward systems. In individuals with ADHD, these neurotransmitters are reabsorbed too quickly, making it more difficult for them to focus, pay attention, and control impulses.

The term 'hyperactivity' in ADHD can sometimes be misleading because not everyone with ADHD exhibits hyperactive behavior. There are, in fact, three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and combined presentation.

Hyperactivity in ADHD isn't always about physical activity. It can refer to mental hyperactivity - for example, thoughts racing, finding it hard to turn off your mind, or constantly shifting attention from one thing to another. Those with the inattentive type of ADHD, often underdiagnosed especially in girls and women, may not display noticeable hyperactivity but still struggle significantly with attention, focus, and organization.

So, even though hyperactivity is part of many people's ADHD experiences, it's not a necessary component for a diagnosis. ADHD is a complex disorder with a broad range of presentations, and it affects each individual differently. If you or someone you know is struggling with issues of attention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity, it might be worth discussing these symptoms with a healthcare provider and potentially exploring an ADHD diagnosis.

Key point #6:

As we close out today's episode, let's remember this crucial point: ADHD doesn't look the same for everyone. It shows up differently in every individual, and it can be particularly complex for women and mothers. From being misdiagnosed with anxiety or depression to silently struggling with daily tasks because their symptoms don't align with the more commonly recognized hyperactive picture of ADHD, many women face unique challenges.

But there is hope. With understanding, self-compassion, and appropriate strategies, managing ADHD can become a part of everyday life, not a barrier to it. And let's not forget, our neurodivergence also brings incredible strengths. Many with ADHD are creative, intuitive, and possess unique problem-solving abilities. If you or someone you know might be grappling with ADHD, reach out, seek help, lean on your community, and remember: you are not alone, and you are incredibly capable.


Segment: Coaching Questions

As we journey together in understanding ADHD, I invite you to delve deeper into your personal experiences. Let these ten heartfelt questions guide your introspection, stir your emotions, and maybe even challenge your perspectives related to the insights shared in this podcast episode. Remember, these questions are designed to evoke reflection and initiate a transformative inner dialogue, allowing you to better understand your journey with ADHD. There is power in vulnerability and courage in seeking understanding. So, take a deep breath, find a quiet moment, and let's explore together.

How do the descriptions of ADHD that we discussed today resonate with your own experiences?

Have you ever felt that your symptoms might have been misunderstood or misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression?

How might your life be different if you had a clear understanding and acceptance of ADHD as a part of your experience?

Which ADHD traits do you perceive as challenges in your daily life and which ones do you see as strengths?

Which tasks or responsibilities feel particularly overwhelming to you? How can you break these down into more manageable parts?

Reflect on your current routines - where might you add structure to help manage your ADHD symptoms?

How do you currently practice self-care and mindfulness? What new techniques or habits might you incorporate?

How might you gently and respectfully approach a conversation with a friend whom you suspect may have ADHD?

How could you harness the support of your community and reach out for professional help to better manage the challenges that come with ADHD?

Reflecting on the lifehacks we discussed, which ones do you think might work best for you? How could you implement these in your daily life?


Episode summary:

Episode 24 of the 'Wellness in Every Season' podcast, hosted by Autumn Carter, was an enlightening exploration into the complexities of ADHD as it intersects with motherhood. As Wellness Wanders, we journeyed together to understand the intricate aspects of ADHD, particularly as it presents in women and mothers.

Autumn guided us through the often misunderstood overlap of ADHD, anxiety, and depression diagnoses in women, prompting a crucial dialogue on mental health. We delved into the fascinating workings of the ADHD brain, debunking common misconceptions and illuminating what 'hyperactivity' genuinely means.

Our journey through this topic was enriched with practical advice from the lifehack segment, which offered invaluable strategies for managing the everyday challenges that come with ADHD. A specially curated mindfulness practice brought a sense of calm, offering tools to soothe the often overactive ADHD mind.

The episode concluded with profound coaching questions provided by Autumn, designed to inspire self-reflection and deepen our understanding of personal experiences with ADHD.

As we reflect on the insights from Episode 24, we eagerly anticipate our next episode, "Updating the Self-Love Map as a Mom". This engaging topic will navigate the transformative journey of motherhood, recognizing how each pregnancy and every new life phase reshapes us. Together, we'll learn how to nurture and love our evolving selves as moms. Join us, as we wander together through this beautiful season of self-discovery and self-love. Every journey of wellness carries its unique rhythm, and within these melodies, we find strength and beauty.



Thank you for joining us on this week's refreshing wellness discussion. I'm Autumn Carter, your guide through the seasons of motherhood, and I hope you found inspiration and valuable insights during our time together.

If you resonate with the topics we explored today and want to continue your wellness journey, I invite you to follow me on Instagram at Moms Wellness in Every Season. There, you'll discover a wealth of ongoing wellness tips specifically curated for moms like you.

Sharing our podcast with others is an act of caring, and I invite you to spread the word by sharing, subscribing, and leaving a review wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Your support is deeply valuable to us and enables us to reach more mothers who are seeking transformation and empowerment.

If you have a specific topic you'd like us to cover in more detail or if you're interested in a free coaching consultation, don't hesitate to reach out. You can send me a direct message on Instagram or visit my website,, to send an email. I'm here to support you on your wellness journey.

Thank you again for being a part of our vibrant community. I'm genuinely excited to connect with you, hear your stories, and continue this important discussion in the weeks to come.

Until next time, remember to prioritize your well-being, embrace every season with grace, and always strive for wellness in every aspect of your motherhood journey. Take care, and I can't wait to catch up with you soon.




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