If you’re new to the Honestly ADHD Blog, you may not know me yet! My name is Erin Snyders, and I’m the founder of the Honestly ADHD Parenting Academy. Since 2015, I have been helping parents figure out how to better parent their kids with ADHD; how to make sense of the confusing behaviors and keep a strong connection with their children despite all the negativity ADHD can bring into a family dynamic.

Honestly ADHD was created because when my own child was diagnosed with ADHD years ago, I quickly found that there wasn’t a place where I could go for knowledge, community and practical tips that would help me feel like I was parenting in the way my child needed me to. I felt completely lost… and I knew other parents raising kids with ADHD must feel the same.

I understand how hard it REALLY is to raise kids with ADHD because I’ve done it… still doing it, actually!  After giving birth to my first child, it wasn’t long before I realized that my child wasn’t the child I had always dreamed of; and I wasn’t the parent I had always envisioned. Parenthood didn’t look or feel like I had planned on it being. It didn’t look or feel like my girlfriends’ experiences either. My parenting was… well… messier.

Let me take you back to the beginning, when I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy – my first born. I was so incredibly excited to be a mother. 

Since I was a young girl, I had dreamed about the kind of mother I would be – the way I’d support my children; the values I would instill in them. I had envisioned everything from the exciting to the mundane – the family vacations, birthday parties, trips to the grocery store, and reading books before bed.

But as I said, it wasn’t long before I realized that my child wasn’t the child I had dreamed of; and I wasn’t being the parent I had always envisioned. That’s not to say that I didn’t love my son – I did (and do), desperately. But he certainly did not fit inside the box that I had created in my imagination for him or us. 

To be sure, my son has amazing qualities – he is smart as a whip, super energetic, funny, kind, insightful, and loyal.

But he also had totally unexpected, impossible-to-manage qualities as well – he was extremely temperamental, a bad sleeper, and sometimes aggressive; he couldn’t calm himself down to save his life, and he acted unpredictably in virtually every situation. 

We had meltdowns everywhere we went. He never seemed to learn from the discipline I was trying at the time.

I blamed myself. Perhaps you can relate?

My son really began to struggle more when he started kindergarten. He spent more time in the principal’s office than in the classroom. He was impulsive, hard to manage and frankly, there were times he was hard to be around. 

To say that this devastated me as his mother is an understatement.

I felt the hot sting of judgment as other parents, teachers, friends, and strangers even, questioned my ability to parent; asked questions with a skeptical undertone; or blatantly told me that I must not be doing my job right.

Perhaps you’ve been there. Perhaps you’re there now. 

When he was in first grade I was getting called from school on a weekly – sometimes daily – basis. 

{Side note… does your heart sink like mine used to when that school phone number pops up on your screen? Ugh.}

Based on how he was struggling in school we finally knew that something was off. This wasn’t just “personality” or “being a boy.” Our child was struggling. Our family was suffering. And we needed help and answers.

So, we sought a diagnosis. 

The process of finally getting to a diagnosis of ADHD was long, confusing and stressful. I was OK with that because I honestly believed that once we received a proper diagnosis, we’d be on the path to help and answers. 

That wasn’t quite how it worked out.

We did ultimately receive the ADHD diagnosis, but instead of answers, we were just left with more questions and truly little effective help.

But that’s it for now. In part two of this series, I’ll share more about our journey after diagnosis.