paying attention part 12: Mama’s gonna have your back. Always.

Mama’s got your back.

I just did something I promised myself I wouldn’t. I organized my son’s high school notebook.

I couldn’t help myself. It’s high school. Everything counts now. It matters. Letting him start high school unorganized feels completely wrong.

As a parent, I promised myself that I will never do something for my sons that they can do for themselves. Has that always been easy? Nope. It drives me nuts how they put away their clean laundry, how they load the dishwasher, how they make their beds and “clean” their rooms, but I let them do it. Because that’s my job. To let them do it.

So if he can do all of that, can’t he can organize his school folders and paperwork all by himself? I mean, come on. He’s a Freshman in high school for goodness sake. Surely he can organize his own damn folders.

Except that he can’t. Sometimes my son’s ADHD rears its ugly head. Like it’s waving at us, desperate to get our attention saying, “Hello! I’m still here and I’m never leaving!” And when that happens, all I really want to do is give it the finger and leave the room. But unfortunately, that’s not an option.

After being diagnosed after the third grade, we tried three different types of ADHD medication over almost a two year period. Although the medication helped him in some areas, the negative effects of the medication weren’t worth the small benefits. We took him off of the meds and he as done very well without them. He has learned to compensate and for the last three years has been an excellent student.

But there are moments. Reminders that oh yeah, our son has ADHD. He still gets very distracted. I can’t speak to what he’s like in class, but his grades have been great so we assume that he’s paying attention in class. But when he gets home, distractions abound. I am constantly having to tell him to get off of YouTube, stop looking at your phone, etc., etc. His handwriting is terrible. And his organizational skills, well they drive me to drink.

Yes, that’s right. It drives me nuts how disorganized my son can be. Bonkers. And I’ve shown him. I’ve shown him over and over again about how to use his planner and label his folders and how to keep the correct papers in the corresponding folders. Several times throughout the year I get to have to reorganize him. And he lets me because he knows that I need to do that for him.

Because here’s the thing. He’s disorganized. He might always be a little disorganized. He might drive his future wife bananas with how disorganized he is. But for now, I can help. I can help set him up. I can get out my trusted label maker and get all over his files and notebooks and spiral folders and I can organize the shit out of all of it.

There are things that matter and things that don’t. How he puts away his laundry or loads the dishwasher or makes his bed doesn’t really matter. If he can’t find his Algebra homework because it’s in his Spanish folder and ends up getting a zero, well that matters. And this Mama can’t let that go. There’s a lot of things I can let go. Lots of things that I have no problem letting my kids suffer through to learn their lesson. His disorganization isn’t his fault, it’s his ADHD’s fault. He needs the extra help and Mama’s gonna have his back. Always. Even as a Freshman in high school.

And yes, I will be giving his bride a label maker as a wedding present. She’s gonna need it.

Click here for our son’s ADHD journey.


One Comment

  1. Kitty

    I love this! It's me to a T. My brilliant daughter has a super high level of Autism. She took did really well, til she fell apart, as in imploded. As a parent of a special needs kid it is your responsibility to get the pieces back in place so they can succeed! Good luck!

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