Kay Wyma On Motherhood-Onset Attention Deficit Disorder

(A visual depiction of the inside of my brain, courtesy of Reinaldo Sanguino’s graffiti-embellished ceramics.)

“Scattered” seems to have become my perpetual state of being. I’ve taken to repeating aloud the things I need to do while I’m tearing through my house so I don’t forget any one of them, mumbling under my breath like a meditating shaman (only without the inner peace), “move clothes to the dryer, sign homework, shower (yes, I have to remind myself to shower), thaw chicken breast.” I am chronically late, alarmingly forgetful, and generally running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ve officially become a working mom cliche friends…It’s a bad scene. I’m planning to deal with this situation over the winter break. Not sure how exactly, but “get my s&*t together” is officially on the “to do” list.

In the meantime, I’ll just take solace in the fact that my friend Kay Wyma is right there with me.



By Kay Wyma

Diagnosis of ADHD with one of our kids a few years ago explained a lot. Since the kid had little if no physical manifestations of meandering thoughts, it never dawned on us until dysgraphia entered the picture that the kid struggled to keep it together. Needless to say, once diagnosed, we’ve had many moments of “no wonder….”

I’ve decided he got it from me.

He must have.

For me, Attention Deficit Disorder all started about the time I became a mom. Well maybe not at first, but once number 2, then 3, for sure 4, and definitely 5 (Ed: 5!!! Kay you are my hero.) came along I far passed any semblance of “normal” (but that’s another story), and I find myself full-fledged disordered. In fact, it’s amazing I get anything done.

For instance, last Friday I set out to find my phone (…it’s a shame that thing isn’t connected to my body.) I searched my memory to think of the last place I had used it. I remembered being upstairs. So off I went.

On my way, I saw a pair of shoes on the floor. They weren’t my shoes, but they reminded me that I left my running shoes in Phoenix where we family-vacationed for Thanksgiving. I had been meaning to pop over to my brother’s house and grab the shoes that they very nicely brought home since I forgot to put them in my bag. So instead of ascending stairs, I turned to make my way to their house, which is just around the corner.

Heading for the door, I saw a couple dead plants that missed water while we were gone. They’re on their last leg, so I went back inside to get a trash sack in order to throw them out. It’s poinsettia time anyway. Of course, when I reached below the trashcan to get a sack (super-great trash sack hint: keep them at the bottom of your can so you will always have a replacement when the other heads for the alley) there weren’t any. So I started to look for bags.

When I walked into the laundry room, I found our paper-cutter (a necessity in any crafty home, along with a laminating machine!) and I remembered I wanted to try out the paper-scoring function. So I grabbed one of my many Christmas cards that need to be folded, stuffed, addressed, and mailed (for some insane reason I decided to make our own cards this year) and lined it up to be creased. It didn’t work quite like I had hoped.

But, while scoring my card, I saw a roll of Christmas ribbon sitting on a shelf above. It reminded me that I meant to tie a couple bows and hang the beautiful square wreaths I bought the night before at the Highgate House (one of the many wonderful Dragon Street hot spots) Holiday Open House. They smell deliciously Christmas – as did so many of the delightful treats on hand like Sarah Seay’s One Pink Cookie (of which I tasted more than one), La Crème Coffee, Nellie’s Shortbread and much more. Highland Park High School’s string quartet was also on hand to fill the room with delightful holiday melodies. So much fun.

Lost in thought, now holding the roll of ribbon, I sauntered to find the wreaths. Which I did. We wrestled a bit. But I won. Bow-adorned, the wreaths hung nicely on their new home. I had to go outside and admire my work. Of course a neighbor walked by, so we chatted a bit. Then I saw my car and remembered I needed to hit the post office before carpool. I raced inside to find my keys (… sure would be nice if those things were connected to my body.)

Which reminded me of something else that needs to be connected to my body… my phone. After searching for 20 minutes, I finally find it in the couch cushions where apparently a snarky little someone had put it for safe keeping – lest a sibling mess up his level on Star Wars Angry Birds. Needless to say, I had a few missed calls. Three of which were from my husband.

I call him, slightly amused at the flakiness of it all. “Hey.”
“What have you been doing?” he asks.
“I’m not sure,” I honestly reply.
“Well…I’ve been trying to reach you.”
“Ooops – Sorry about that. I couldn’t find my phone. I guess when I started to look for it, I got a bit distracted.”
“With what?”
“Well, as soon as I realized it was missing, I went to look for it. Then, for some reason, I decided to run over and grab my shoes from Charles’s house, and then… ”
He cut me off, “That’s great, I was really just calling to tell you that I’d be home late.”
“Oh… Okay. Thanks for telling me. We’ll save your dinner.”
“Sounds great. And – try to keep up with your stuff.”


I’ve heard those words before (out of my own mouth to a certain group of kids.) I guess I need to work on that…tomorrow. Yes, unlike ADD, my procrastination disorder didn’t arrive with motherhood. I’ve claimed it for years.

Now where are my keys?

Kay Wyma is the author of  Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that  come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone. 


  • Nancy Guzman

    Keep a running list. When I think of things – even in the middle of the night, I go put it on my list. Otherwise – I WILL forget!! I might forget before I get to my desk! Then I cross off my list as I get things done. Needless to say – not everything gets done in a day… Put an asterisk beside most important and do those first. As for the cell phone – today I had to call myself – only to find it under some papers on my desk!

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  • Jen

    Story. of. my. life.

    Currently I have about 20 windows open on my work computer along with half-written articles and barely-started e-mails. Of course, the list I wrote for myself to keep me on task today is sitting right in front of me, but the level of distraction was so out of hand that I ended up googling whether motherhood can cause ADD (or at least exacerbate a mild case of it?) … and here I am.

    **a quick note, while writing this short comment, I was drawn away to make a phone call and comment on a friend’s announcement on Facebook … guess I shouldn’t be surprised.