A Mom’s Guide to Embracing ADHD {from Someone with ADHD}

Managing ADHD can be tough as a child and as an adult. Oftentimes, people with ADHD are made to feel like they need to conform or change the way they act/think/feel to fit in. I hesitated to make this guide because I truly feel we should embrace who we are — ADHD symptoms and all. While managing symptoms is helpful, I think it’s equally important to embrace them.

People with ADHD have so many wonderful qualities. Trying to suppress, or mask, them can be exhausting. Instead of focusing on “managing” symptoms, I’ve written a guide to embracing ADHD.

>> RELATED READ :: ADHD :: You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea <<

History, Types, and Symptoms of ADHD

In previous years, ADHD was stereotyped as this adolescent boy that couldn’t sit still in class. Although there’s still a way to go with understanding ADHD, it is recently being more widely recognized and diagnosed in girls and adults. 

Symptoms of ADHD can vary. In fact, there are three types: hyperactive, inattentive, and a combination of the two. Many “ADHDers” have trouble focusing or paying attention, have a hard time being still, or display impulsive behaviors.

I once read a description of the ADHD brain that compared the condition to constantly having 22 tabs open on a web browser. I find that extremely accurate. 

An illustration of a head with pipe cleaners coming out the top illustrating unorganized thoughts related to ADHD.ADHD and Dopamine

Although the science behind ADHD is not completely understood, research indicates those with ADHD have a deficiency or disfunction of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” hormone. It is largely associated with motivation and the satisfaction we feel when being rewarded.

When dopamine is low or unregulated, it results in low motivation and the inability to stay focused on topics or tasks we don’t find interesting. It can also result in engaging in behaviors that give us a quick dopamine rush, which oftentimes are not positive in the long term.

As someone with ADHD, I’ve found ways to help me manage, thrive and embrace my diagnosis.

Have a Planner and To-Do List

If you know me, you know I’m basically obsessed with planning and making to-do lists. For me, this is necessary to remember all of the important dates and keep track of the things I need to do. Besides, marking something off your to-do list is rewarding, which results in dopamine production.

Some prefer a written planner, but there are also very helpful apps (which can come in handy if, say, you forget your planner at home). 

>> RELATED READ :: 10 Tips for an ADHD Diagnosis in Adults <<

Use Baskets for Clutter 

Sometimes keeping a tidy home or workspace can be overwhelming when you have ADHD. Baskets are a game changer.

I’ve found keeping baskets or storage containers around our home makes it so much easier to stay organized. For instance, we have a “coffee basket” on the counter that neatly stores all of our coffee supplies rather than being scattered all over the counter. We also recently added a “random toy” basket in the living room to easily store all of the miscellaneous toys strewn across our house.

You can also apply this concept to your school or workspace. These baskets give everything an easily accessible “home” and make tidying up much less overwhelming. 

Minimize Distractions

I understand this is not always a reality, but — if you can — try to minimize distractions when you need to focus on an important task. This might mean turning off the TV and wearing earbuds to silence any background noise or finding a quiet place where nothing can sidetrack you.

When distractions are minimized, it’s so much easier  to concentrate and get things done.

Take Breaks During Long Tasks

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a break to move around. Another idea is to award yourself breaks after working for a set amount of time. 

Better yet, schedule breaks that also include a bonus, like a cup of coffee or a quick phone or text conversation with a friend. 

>> LISTEN :: What It’s Like to Parent a Child with ADHD :: Momfessions Podcast :: Episode 42 <<

Eat a Healthy Diet and Exercise

It’s important to eat a well balanced healthy diet to feel your best. There’s a lot of interesting new research on the correlation between ADHD and diet.

Sometimes that’s harder than it sounds when ADHD can make you more inclined to binge eat, stim eat, or totally forget to eat at all. It also makes sense why those with ADHD often crave sugar and carbohydrates — it’s an instant dopamine rush.

However, foods high in sugar, artificial dyes and sweeteners, and processed foods have been shown to exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Instead, opt for foods high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and foods rich in magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Get Sunshine!

Vitamin D helps regulate dopamine. Plus, being outside does wonders for your mood whether you have ADHD or not!

Specifically, I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of morning sunshine on sleep regulation, metabolism, and energy. If it fits in your schedule, try spending 20 minutes outside in the morning to soak up some sunshine. 

Try to S-L-O-W down

I’m really bad about zooming through tests/applications/etc. and answering all of the questions without fully reading them. My tax consultant even told me to slow down and actually read before answering when filing our taxes this past year. My silly mistakes could have cost us hundreds of dollars. Because of this, I try to make a conscious effort to slow down and actually process important information before answering. 

For students, this is especially important when taking tests. Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath and read the question multiple times. 

>> RELATED READ :: I’m Not a Bad Mom – I Just Have ADHD <<

Think About the End Result 

When you’re working on a boring task (like helping your kiddo with math homework or cleaning the kitchen at the end of a long day), try to focus on the end result — a.k.a. the reward. Thinking how much better you’ll feel when it’s done can make getting through it easier. 

A nurse in scrubs holds a cup of coffee while taking a walk outside.

Find a Relaxing Activity 

With ADHD, it can be hard to relax. Sometimes it feels like your brain is go-go-go” and then crashes. Try to find a way to relax that you enjoy, like yoga or meditation.

Trust me, I know this one is easier said than done. It’s hard to turn our brains off! It takes practice.

But even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day, this time without stimulation can give your brain a much-needed break. 

Learn How to Say “No”

I’ve certainly been guilty of saying “yes” to every obligation because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. However, I’ve learned that it’s important to find a balance. It’s easy to get extremely worn down if you say “yes” to everything. 

Make a Chore Checklist 

I love checklists! They are kind of like to-do lists but for things that you do often or every day.

I like to have a daily chore checklist to remind me of all of the things I need to before the end of the day (clean the kitchen, make school lunches, get coffee prepared for the next day, etc.). 

Checklists can also be useful for chores or tasks for kids and teens, like brushing teeth, homework, picking up bedrooms, etc.

I like the idea of making a laminated list and using a dry erase marker to check off each item. This not only helps you remember the chores you need to do, but it’s also rewarding to mark each one off the list. 

Recognize Your Strengths

It can be easy to focus on the things we struggle with, signs and symptoms of ADHD, which can sometimes make us overlook the many things we’re great at.

People with ADHD are often creative, resilient, empathetic, and have a great sense of humor (just to name a few). These are huge reasons why we should be embracing ADHD and how it makes us unique!

Grant Yourself Grace

A lot of people with ADHD are perfectionists (super relatable) and feel like a failure when things inevitably go wrong. We also have such a huge fear of failure and criticism. It’s important to give yourself grace, remember that things don’t have to be perfect and that YOU don’t have to be perfect.

Whether this means asking your partner to help with household tasks, asking for an after school tutor on a subject that you’re struggling in, or seeking professional help, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. 

I know from experience that embracing ADHD can be difficult. We’ve been led to believe our whole lives that we should try to suppress our ADHD symptoms. I hope this guide helps you (or your loved one) embrace ADHD symptoms and be the best version of yourself. 

Jennifer Copeland
Jennifer is a native Texan and has called Collin County home for the past seven years. She is a proud wife and mom to Lilah (2018) and Luca (2020). They live in northeast McKinney and love the small town vibe while still being within 10 miles of Target and Trader Joe’s. She graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s in dental hygiene. When she’s not brightening smiles, she enjoys exercising, writing, a good cup of coffee, and her guilty pleasure — jamming 2000s pop punk. On the weekends, you can catch her and her family spending as much time as possible outdoors. She has a passion for helping and relating to other moms through humor and loves to share her favorite local adventure spots.


  1. This mom’s guide to embracing ADHD is such a heartfelt and insightful read! It’s wonderful to see personal experiences being shared to help others navigate similar journeys. Thanks for shedding light on this topic!

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