An ADHD Child and His Not-a-Morning-Person Parent

02 Dec

An ADHD Child and His Not-a-Morning-Person Parent
“Hello. My name is Bonnie, and I am not a morning person….Oh, and I have an ADHD child.”

Notice which order I put those in?

I didn’t define myself by my atypical child.

I took ownership of my own issue. = First step to getting honest and dealing with the core issue: me, not my son with ADHD. (For more on my family’s struggles to make sense of ADHD, refer to the section of blogs dedicated to this subject matter and scroll through to see if anything interests you. My Reading List page also has a list of books that I found helpful.)

This blog is about the little morning explosions that happen when you take a very exuberant ADHD child straight out of bed in the morning and combine that with a sleepy mom who hasn’t had her coffee yet and barely got the first two kids out the door on their earlier buses. The Not-a-Morning-Person Mom. That one.

And it’s also about why I’m the one who has to change.

My almost-nine-year-old Tigger bounces out of bed like a ping pong ball shooting aimlessly around to eventually make it into the right slot—except that, in his head, he isn’t aimless. He’s accomplishing (or attempting to) about 12 things and processing many new ideas at once.

And…he’s eager to share them.

At 7 AM.

Contrast that with my sleepy mind that floated through the past 40 minutes getting the secondary school kids in my house out the door, and I’m still trying to retrieve the thought as to whether or not I packed both of those lunches, and did I tell them I wouldn’t be here right when they got home today?

I might even be thinking about the laundry. The pile of dishes I left last night. The fact I still have yet another lunch and snack to pack. And have I even stopped to use the bathroom this morning?

Is the coffee machine on? Did anyone turn it on yet?

While I’m still on Thought One and a Half, along comes my delightful, hyper, mostly happy youngest son who wants to share every thought in his head.

Right now.

Before coffee.

And I’m an introvert who not only hates morning but thrives on quiet in order to function and process.

“Oh, God, this is where I always feel like I fail.”

And I can get all grumbly, whiny, snappy, snarly, and inward right now. I can certainly get my selfish on. And I regularly do. But his disorder is here to stay. He can’t wish it away. He can “work on” coping skills and body regulation,

but he can’t stop having ADHD.

But I can find ways not to be grumbly, Not-a-Morning-Person, impatient Mom. I can go to bed and get up earlier. Start the coffee sooner. I can ask God to help me handle the bounce of life, energy, and mind from 7 AM until school drop-off. I have the warm hand of Jesus to hold. I can consult Him. I do not have to fail if I ask for His help. The thing is: I will fail if I don’t. I might stumble along and get a few things right now and again, but without the faith that God is carrying us both through these moments without wounds and fallout, I will not be whom I need to be for my son.

Since I pretty much analogize in coffee in my sleep, I will now share one here. (Aren’t you glad I don’t express these analogies in every blog?–wink!) I was thinking that my Little Man is like the air bubbles being blasted into the milk to make a nice frothy topper to the espresso drink. He comes in with full force and makes something flat and boring like milk burst into foamy, airy bubbles that soar above the dark espresso.

I’m the dark espresso…melancholic and weary, heavy and pensive in the morning, and in comes Mr. Bubbles of Life to make the drink more interesting, more varied, lighter. I am the strength under the foam, perhaps, but my strength can either encourage and support that lovely foam, or I can flatten it back to ordinary hot milk, with no vim and vigor—How boring!

My words and my attitude are choices. I can choose to see him as a complement to my personality and embrace the gift of us blended together in the wee, challenging hours of the morning, or I can squash his spirit, his mind, his heart.

It helps to get honest. I hope, if you have similar struggles as a parent (with either typical or atypical children), that you can feel some camaraderie in the struggle in my “get real” moment. I find that being honest about the journey brings me fresh perspective and offers hope that I can do better—not perfect, but better.

I want to “delight in blessing” every chance that I get. I want to “spring forth fresh water” and not muddy it up with my own salty murkiness.

How about you? How do you cope with these struggles? I’d love to hear from you.

James 3:9-12, James, brother of Jesus speaking, ESV

With it [tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Psalm 109:17-18, David (not yet king) speaking, ESV

He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!


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8 responses to “An ADHD Child and His Not-a-Morning-Person Parent

  1. Yolanda

    December 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Your cousin is the foam in my coffee in the morning. I have learned that I do not always have to respond to what he is saying but just listen. I can usually manage that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Haha, Yo, that’s awesome! I will try to remember that I don’t always have to respond. 🙂


  2. Susan

    May 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Oh Bonnie … this was such a great post. I’ve not had an ADHD child and my kids are all grown and out of the house now, but I did have six of them and homeschooled. I think God gave me six only because He knew how much of my yuck would come to the surface and I’d have to to deal with it … usually before coffee. Thanks for sharing your life so honestly with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    May 7, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Susan, thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate your perspective, having raised six! Wow, that’s fantastic! So true that our yuck comes to the surface. So so true. Not fun dealing with it, but good to get cleaned out, for sure! Thank you for being so encouraging and coming by “Espressos of Faith”!


  4. Amy

    May 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    I don’t have an ADHD child, but my children do have a not nice in the morning mama, so I can relate to that part of it. Thanks for telling us your struggles and what you are doing to combat it. I see a few strategies that I should work on myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      May 10, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks, Amy, for coming by and sharing your thoughts on this one. Mornings have always been so hard for me, even as a child/teen. Here’s to figuring it out together! Blessings, and Happy Mother’s Day!



    May 8, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Oh do I get this so much, Bonnie. I don’t have an ADHD child though, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be in the morning!! I am NOT a morning person at ALL. If I could, I would sleep until noon. Seriously. I would.

    I love how you have the wisdom and maturity to know that you are the one who needs to change- and yet, you are also (let me remind you!) the one who deserves the right to be a groggy cranky morning person too… because here’s the thing- Your kids need to learn boundaries no matter who they are and what limits they have. Right? At least that’s how I justify some of my actions!! (lol)

    Our kids will see us be less than we should… and mornings are ripe for the picking! But I’m betting that most mornings, you shine that mother light like the sun. And I’m betting that the rest of the day and night you score some pretty awesome home runs in the attitude dept. And most of all, I’m betting that your son remembers THOSE moments and they have a much deeper impact than any cranky morning would ever have… ❤

    *I will remind my kids that I have NOT had my coffee yet, so wait. Just WAIT!!!*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    May 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Haha, TheMomCafe…that is great balance, right there. Thank you for bringing that balance. You are right. It’s not about beating ourselves up for the bad moments. We just need to keep growing in character and grace. Thank you for taking the time out to write such encouragement! Happy Mother’s Day!



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