A mother of three kids with ADHD, learning disabilities and anxiety, I struggled to keep up with the demands of my family, devote energy to my work, and find time to take care of myself. I was stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
I knew something wasn't right when our kid's second grade teacher left him in the classroom alone, interpreting his ‘behavior’ as defiant while he hyper-focused on his reading. We didn't connect the dots that hyperfocusing for extended periods could mean our kid had ADHD. Our other two kids soon fell in line hiding under the school desk when asked to do a boring or difficult task, the other exhibiting memory issues and distractibility.
Instead of after-school soccer or science club, our kids filled much of their days with tutors, doctors and therapists. I worried about the message I was sending, maybe that they weren’t good enough, but I wanted and needed the best support I could find for them. Even though my background is special education, even though I am a teacher myself, I knew enough not to be their educational therapist.
Between the three kids, their rambunctious behavior fed off of each other. Our household was warm, loving and caring, but hectic, crazy and chaotic; it was like roping a herd of steers to get them out the door for anything, even if it was for something they wanted to do! (My eldest is 20 months older than my twins, so it was mayhem.) When people called me, they’d hear our kids in the background and ask, “Are you having play dates over there?” “No,” I’d answer, “it’s just my kids.” I was overwhelmed and felt out of control.
I was the parent running to school with the forgotten homework or lunch, the parent receiving the phone calls about the inappropriate outburst on the playground. (Where did he learn that word?) Something had to give after the phone call that our kids mooned the security cameras outside their religious school.
I can laugh at it now, but I felt like I was dragged through the mud, sorely embarrassed, judging myself as a terrible parent. Instead of enjoying my creative, fun and spunky kids, I was the disciplinarian, the warden, the taskmaster. I was exhausted, drained and felt very alone.
As parents we want to fix everything for our kids. We want to take on our children's burdens and make everything better. It was tough to learn that I couldn’t just make things right. What I could do was help them advocate for what they needed, but I couldn’t shoulder the bullying, or the comments my kid took to heart from a peer, for example, when he was late.
As an educational therapist, I was able help my kids navigate their needs in the school system, but as a parent, I felt isolated and conflicted. After years of working with other adolescents and young adults with similar challenges, I came to realize that other parents were at a loss too. When do we scaffold our kids and when do we let go? When do we attribute their undesirable behavior to their brain wiring and when is it poor behavior? And why can’t they just listen?
With a crew of therapists and psychiatrists behind us, I decided there parents had to be another way for us to assist our kids, who as we well know, in the blink of an eye become adults who also may want support. Looking to do just that in my work, I discovered coaching when a colleague asked me powerful questions that changed my perspective. (This colleague turned out to be a coach!) After lots of research I found ADHD Coaching, went back to school to get my certification, and began working toward mapping the principles of coaching onto ADHD Parent Coaching, ADHD Adult Coaching, and Launch Your Adult Child Parent Coaching.
Now, many years later, I'm committed to helping other adults, parents and families who are going through what my family faced together. As a certified ADHD Coach and mother of three now adults with ADHD and related challenges, and loving wife of an incredible husband and father who experiences similar challenges (our discovery on our journey), I gained knowledge and experience that reduced my stress, improved our communication, helped me gain the confidence and community I needed, and transformed our family.
You may wonder if I still have rough days and if I still get bone tired? Yes and Yes! Do I worry? Yes I worry, and I know I will get through it. Yes it can be crazy, and our family can manage it. Yes, I have frustrating days, and I can do this. And so can you.
The coach approach to navigating the journey living with ADHD led my family from surviving to thriving. And I believe it will make a lasting difference for you and your family.
- MA., Special Education, Learning Disabilities, California State University, Northridge
- MBA, The University of Texas at Austin
- BA, The University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa
- Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation
- Certified Professional Organizer Coach, Coach Approach for Organizers™, ICF Accredited
- Laser-Focused Masterful Coaching Intensive, Marion Franklin Master Certified Coach Trainer, ICF Accredited
- Certified Professional Educator, Social/Emotional Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Learning Behavioral Specialist, Illinois
- Professional Educational Therapist
- Certified and Licensed Sanity School® for Parents Trainer
- ADHD, Chronic Disorganization and Time Management Certificates, Institute of Challenging Disorganization
- Productivity Professional, National Association of Productivity and Organizing
- Parent2Parent Training™, Children and Adults with Attention Disorder (CHADD)
- Seeing My Time Certification, Executive Functioning Success™
- Member, Children and Adults with Attention Disorder
- Member, Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
- Member, Association of Educational Therapists
- Member, International Coach Federation
- Member, ADHD Coaches Organization
- Member, National Association of Productivity and Organizing
Honors and Awards:
- Torch of Gold, For Service to Youth with Disabilities, Northeast Illinois Council, Boy Scouts of America, 2017
- District Award of Merit, For Service to Youth, Potawatomi District, Northeast Council, Boy Scouts of America, 2017
- Phi Beta Kappa, National Chapter, Lifetime Member
A Little more About Me
In my free time, I support the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national organization that provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. NAMI provides free information and support, fights stigma and encourages understanding, a much needed beacon of hope for all people affected by mental health conditions.
As an outdoors enthusiast, I love to canoe, backpack, swim, and hike. I believe that getting outside fuels our spirits. I am also a devoted dog mom.