The Life Empowerment Center

Storm Stories

Storm Stories

Ruining My Daughter's Sweet 16 (and Our Relationship)

My daughter will turn 16 in one week, and I still haven't planned her birthday party. In my defense, I started asking her what she wanted to do a year ago, and she said that she didn't want a party. About 3 weeks ago, she decided that she DID want a party, and that she wanted to get some hotel rooms for her and 12 of her "closest" friends (most of whom I have barely even met).

In the meantime, my son turned 12 one week ago, and I had his sleepover party for 8 boys this past weekend. With all of the planning and cleaning for that, I was unable to plan my daughter's party. Once a day, I would get a text reminder from her saying just, "Hotels." Well, that hardly made me want to do anything nice for her, but I did try several times to figure out how to get 12 teenagers into as few hotel rooms as possible when the room capacity was only 3-4 each.

So, two days ago, the stuff hit the fan. She, understandably, was panicking about setting something up. I, of course, was panicking because I haven't been able to manage to plan her party because of my perfectionism (coping mechanism) and inability to multitask. (In the meantime, I'm spending all of my time trying to find a job because I can't seem to keep one.) She stormed out of the room, saying, "Fine--just don't have a party for me!" In my angst, I replied, "OK, I won't." Well, that didn't go over well. She spent the next hour in her room crying.

In the meantime, I was thinking of how I couldn't take it and wanted her to move out (she's 15, for goodness' sake, and a great kid!). I went to my room and slept, which is one of my coping mechanisms (along with eating). I have now delegated the party to my husband, who is not thrilled.

The emotional hangover from that day carried into yesterday, when I yelled at my poor son, who also has ADHD, during our homework time. I went up to my bed, covered my head with a pillow, and tried to figure out how I could run away from it all.

I used to drink to avoid these feelings of incompetence and inadequacy--in fact, I hid the feelings so well that I didn't know that I had them and couldn't have named them if you held a gun to myself. The shame of being inadequate (not good enough, or "less than") would have paralyzed me, so instead, I drank. A lot. For a long time. After 31 years of that, I finally admitted that I'm an alcoholic and sought help. I now have 19 months of sobriety, and while most days are absolutely wonderful, the emotional distress caused by my ADHD can still knock me sideways. I have met so, SO many women in AA who also have ADHD; our stories are so similar! I have to wonder how many other women with ADHD are trying to cope though alcohol.

Women these days have SOOOO much pressure to be perfect. We have to be smart, clean (what? do my hair before leaving the house??), have perfect kids, clean houses (um...), careers or overly involved in our kids' schools, do yoga...How on earth are those of us with ADHD supposed to accomplish all of that??

I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it. Time to go curl up in a fetal position and take a nap...

Thanks for listening. :)