Message from Sari Solden

Hi all!

Sari asked me to pass this on to you. Don’t miss this very special event!

Free Virtual Open House and Celebration on July 25th for Men and Women with Attention Deficit Disorder

Hosted by Sari Solden’s, An Online Community For Adults With AD/HD or ADD.

Drop by on Saturday, July 25th between 10:00AM and 1:30 PM Eastern Time for a day of programming whose highlights include prizes of memberships, books, and coaching sessions, demonstrations and participation in mini-sessions such as group coaching, an Ask Sari call in advice show, a call in support group, lots of live broadcasting and video and audio programs designed for connection, fun, and interaction. The day is free and no membership is required to participate. Just log on to any time during the day.

This event is a celebration of the six month anniversary of, an online community for adults with Attention Deficit Disorder founded and hosted by psychotherapist, Sari Solden, the author of the books Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys through ADDulthood, an expert in the field for over 20 years, and a frequent presenter at international and national conferences on the subject.

The site’s mission is to use Solden’s strength based perspective to connect adults from all over the world and to encourage a positive view of oneself through the use of live broadcasting and audio and video programming that creates a sense of community and decreases the isolation felt by many adults with ADD.

What Am I Doing With This Spoon In My Hand?

Years ago…many years ago before I even knew what ADHD was, I had a moment of humiliation that affected me very deeply. I had forgotten about the incident until the other day when I was cooking dinner and found myself staring at a wooden spoon in my hand, flustered, because I didn’t know what I was doing with it.

Let me take you back 20 years to an evening when I had an out of town guest dining at my house. It was tough enough to prepare a meal for her when I had a hyperactive toddler and a pre-schooler under my feet. Somehow, I got through it.

After dinner, I began to clean the kitchen and my guest followed me in, chatting about something or another, when I realized that I could not wash the dishes and listen to her at the same time. I became so rattled by this frozen state, that I remember to this day, holding up a wooden spoon that I had just washed, and not knowing what in the world I needed to do with it next. I stared at it; no…gaped at it and questioned my sanity.

How could I not clean dishes and carry on a conversation at the same time??

Fast forward to the other night. I had someone over and we were chatting as I was cleaning up the dinner dishes. I held up the wooden spoon I was cleaning, and the exact same thing happened again. I could not maintain a conversation while washing the dishes.

This time, however, I was not humiliated. Rather, I understood that my brain “gets stuck” at times like this, when I need to multi-task, especially when it involves different types of activities. I can’t listen while “doing.” This is common with people who have ADHD; we have executive functioning deficits. “Executive function deficits are problems in the starting, sequencing and stopping of actions.” (

Those of us with ADHD often not only have executive functioning difficulties, but we also struggle with working memory. Working memory is the process of being able to hold information in mind for short periods of time. For example, if you call information to get a phone number and can’t keep it in mind long enough to dial it, that might be considered a problem with your working memory.

I’ve been intrigued by cognitive training programs, like Lumosity Brain Fitness Program, CogMed and others, and am interested in the research that’s been coming out.

I do believe that just like we need to exercise our bodies, our brain needs a workout as well.

So, next time you mysteriously find a wooden spoon in your hand, don’t fear! It’s just an example of executive functioning going wrong and how our ADHD can throw us for a loop.

Thank Goodness Robots Don’t Have ADHD!

Recently, I blogged on how Being Disorganized Can Make You Sick and it set off a lively discussion. I posed the comment, “If something makes you so distressed it makes you literally feel sick, due to your ADHD, what options do you have in getting help?”

And wow, you guys came up with loads of suggestions and comments. One that I found really fascinating was how to make household chores less stressful. More than one person shared that they use a Roomba– a robot that vacuums your carpet and cleans your floor. I’d heard of it but had never talked to anyone who had used one.

So, if you’re sick and tired of dealing with the drudgery of house cleaning, perhaps handing this particular chore over to the Roomba can make you feel better. If you’ve tried it, please let me know what you think. Roomba.

Guilty Vacations

I just returned from our little lake house in Canada where we spent a long 4th of July weekend. The water, sky, trees worked its magic and I fell into a state of…well…a good state of inattention. I didn’t have to focus on anything. The hours bled into each other, with no particular plans needing to be made. Dinners are always out, so there was no need to fret about meal planning. The kids were happy. Hubby was content doing what we call “Garage Putzing”, meaning…juggling all kinds of projects he loves to do in his little boathouse and garage.

As for me, I was absolutely happy staring out at the sky and water, watching as the blues leaked into the greens, which dripped into reds as the day aged into evening.

Still, a lingering feeling kept stabbing at me. It’s a feeling I get whenever I’m on vacation or other break from routine. The nagging thought that I *should* be doing something productive.

I’m not sure if those without ADHD feel this way, but walking down the beach, I saw plenty of people just relaxing happily on the sand, in the water and on lawn chairs. Or running blissfully with their dogs. Or playing long games of Frisbee and badminton. Why then, was I feeling pulled into doing…something?

I wonder if those of us with ADHD are so used to obsessing and worrying about the things we ought to be doing, that we can’t fully shut off the “on” button. I finally rid myself of this gnawing feeling of being lazy and useless by scrubbing down our wooden swing that had collected a few years’ worth of slimy green algae. I broke out in a sweat, felt my muscles being pulled in all directions, and when I was done, felt proud of my achievement. But at what price?

Am I the only one that feels periodically guilty while on vacation? Who feels pulled and swayed into the “ought to’s”, instead of allowing myself to truly relax and enjoy the freedom of daily responsibilities?

A Typical Day in the Life of a Woman with ADHD

There’s a stack of papers on my desk that needs my attention. In fact, it’s been needing my attention for at least 3 weeks. But there they sit, while I…

…write this blog, read the paper, cruise the internet (getting lost in the black pit of information on everything from Suri Cruise’s haircut to 100 ways to BBQ a chicken, to the Michael Jackson saga and everything in between).

I’m watching the rain pellets hit the roof out my window, which brings back memories of daydreaming in Mrs. Hoskins class at MacDowell Elementary School in Detroit. I’m remembering her pet turtle…and Helene with the beautiful sand colored curls, sitting in front of me. I’m counting the swirls cascading down onto my desk.

….and the laundry is piling up, but the dryer just broke and I forgot to call the serviceman. So that gives me a few extra days of not dealing with laundry.

I didn’t plan dinner too well, so hopped over to the market to buy some ready made Chinese Food. We eat it, analyze it and determine it’s not something we’ll repeat anytime soon.

Facebook is now pulling me in and I meet a fascinating fellow who shares my passion on various health related issues. Our kids have similar medical histories.

The dog scratches to come in. My attention is diverted to the pile of dishes. I put them away. Success!

My daughter needs to pack her suitcase for our cottage trip. And wait… here comes Twitter, luring me in with instant gratification to stimulate my hyperactive brain, which sadly, doesn’t match my sluggish body.

There’s that article I need to write for ADDitude Magazine and my newsletter waiting to be sent out to my readers.

Today I returned the jogging shoes that don’t fit, but stuck them in the wrong box. They won’t take them back, so now I have shoes that will sit in the closet till I figure this out. Anyone need a pair 10 1/2 New Balance shoes? WHY did I go a size too big, anyway?

And where is the receipt? Not that it matters, now. I glance to my left- at my desk- and see that horrific pile of papers that needs my attention.

Do I deal with it now? Or wait till I come back from the lake?

You guess.

Losing the Game Pieces, Losing my Mind

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog titled: I Don’t Want to Play a Board Game! (Does that mean I’m not a good mother?) , which stirred up some nice conversations with a number of you.

Today I walked into the family room and….what did I see?…. board games and game pieces strewn all over the floor. On the one hand, I’m happy my daughter is creative enough to figure out how to play them when there’s no one at hand to play with her.

On the other hand, the mess this kid makes can drive me up the wall. Since she’s so disorganized, many if not most of her games have missing pieces.

So imagine my surprise when I found this neat solution to the problem.

The Game Saver has compartments to hold game pieces when you’ve lost the box or if you’re worried you lose pieces. The top snaps shut! Genius!

It’s also great for traveling/camping. Check it out HERE.

Happy Occasions Can Ruin Your Week

I attended a wedding shower last weekend. It was a happy occasion, of course, and I enjoyed being with people I love and care about. But it also ruined my week. Or I should say, the last two weeks. Why?

This is one of those ADHD “issues” that most people simply can’t understand. Like many women with ADHD, I have a hard time making decisions. I procrastinate. And…I hate clothes shopping. That combination is a recipe for disaster when there’s a special event coming up and there’s nothing to wear- EVEN when my closet is filled with clothes. Ok, so some of that stuff IS from the 1980s, but that’s another issue.

Another common trait seen in ADHD is ruminating, obsessive thinking. So…in thinking about this shower that was coming up, I worried about the fact that I didn’t have an outfit to wear. Instead of looking forward to the event, I obsessed about what to wear and put off solving the problem by not assessing the options in my closet and avoiding the real possibility of having to get some new clothes.

Two days before the event, I began to panic. So I did what every other “normal” woman would finally do- head into the closet and see what might or might not work. Of course, that takes tremendous effort. Many women with inattentive ADHD, especially, have little energy to do things they hate. Trying on clothes, for me, is one of those exhausting activities. But imagine my surprise when I found an outfit that would work!

Lesson learned? The obvious one of not putting off what you can do today. Or as one woman recently told me, never put off today what you can do tomorrow (gotta love it). But really, what I learned is that had I jumped in and faced my fears early on, I could have avoided two weeks of ruminating and worry. I could have looked forward to the shower instead of dreading it.

What can you do to face an unpleasant task- today- so that you can finally get it off your mind or to-do list?

Lady, You Need a New Coil

Father’s Day comes and goes and we survive that well. We have carry out food. I am proud of myself for buying the gifts and cards two days in advance instead of the day of the event and even happier that I didn’t misplace them. We return home from Father’s Day Dinner to find that the a/c has died. Of course, our spring has been awfully cold and wet out here, so at first I wasn’t too bothered. Until I checked the weather forecast for this coming week and saw that we’re going to be hit by our first major heat wave of the season- temps in the 90s.

Did I mention we have no air?

The heating/cooling guy arrives to assess the problem. It must be a big problem because he’s here the entire day and still needs to bring in a second opinion guy.

Finally, the moment we’re all waiting for. Unfortunately my husband’s not here to interpret the lab findings for me.

This is what I hear:

Mrs. Matlen, the coil is hooked to the other unit and that’s not good because the old unit is not efficient and besides we don’t know if you’re under warranty because the new unit is only 3 years old and that should be under warranty but as this coil was pulled from the old unit and oh…do you have a crawl space? Cuz if you do, I’ll be able to see just where that coil is hooked up to. I’ll be right back. Ok, I’m back. Bad news. The last guy that worked on this used the old coil from the old unit and put it on the new unit. And oh, the compression blew out so I have to see if the whole unit is kapoot or if we can save it. But y’know, I have to check that other coil. Which by the way is spurting out your cold air into the crawl space and that’s a waste of energy. So I’ll have Mike come out and he’ll give you the options, there. But hmm…we should check out this whole thing cuz the other compressor, well that might be bad. We just don’t know. Whoever put that other coil in made a mess of things and y’know, it’s not cost-effective now cuz you’re losing cold air. And probably heat, too, in the winter. So if the old coil is no good, that’ll cost about $1,500. Unless the new coil is under warranty, in which case you have a few options.

Then I hear what I call the “blah blah blahs” because he’s lost me and I’ve given up.

Do you want me to go over the options with you, Miss?”

Do you ever wonder if it’s your ADHD that makes every day life confusing to you? Or do some people actually follow these kinds of conversations and make sense of them?

It’s hot. I’m heading to the mall. Remind me to pick up a fan.

When Even Socks Can Put You and Your Child Over the Edge

Wow, there’s been and continues to be a lot of discussion about sensory issues since I posted my blog on ADHD and Hypersensitivities.

You’ve shared lots of things that you are sensitive to, like wool, mouth noises, flip-flops, being tickled,certain kinds of shoes, pantyhose, bright lights, anything sticky….and the list goes on.
When I was on Blog Talk Radio yesterday, I raised the whole issue of hypersensitivities and it resonated with a lot of my listeners. What we can learn from all of this is that it’s time to stop fighting this and instead, figure out ways to deal with it.

For example..

I went clothes shopping today (have I mentioned how much I detest that activity?), as I needed a few things, including sandals for an outfit I’ll be wearing tomorrow to a wedding shower (have I mentioned how much I detest wedding showers?). The styles I saw were super cute but most had that darn THONG thing that cuts through your toes. I have NEVER been able to wear those, but figured I’d try once again. They looked soooo good on. But- I knew I would be miserable wearing them. Perhaps years ago, I might have bit the bullet- to try and conform to some degree ( though I never was very good at that) – by purchasing them and fitting in with everyone else.
Instead, I reminded myself that life is too short to walk around being physically miserable just to look good and be on top of things fashion-wise.

So I passed on them and instead got some super comfortable, but rather plain sandals, instead. Now I’ll be able to focus on the shower, the people, etc. instead of my feet.

As we think about these sensory issues and how they affect us, it’s important to realize the way our children react when they are uncomfortable. I’m sure we’d avoid many meltdowns if we, too, stopped fighting their hypersensitivities. So what if they insist on wearing sweatpants in summer? Many kids simply can’t tolerate tight fitting waistbands.
Others hate certain food textures, funny “smells” and well…hundreds of other irritating things.

One of the big offenders for kids- and adults with ADHD- is socks with seams. So when I found these seamless socks, I thought I’d share them with you. Check them out. Your child will thank you…and…they come in all sizes so the whole family can be happy!

Stop fighting the hypersensitivity war and find solutions, like these Seamless Socks.

When Hyperactive Child Collides with Inattentive Mom

We now know that ADHD is highly genetic. In fact, if you have ADHD, there’s approximately a 50% chance your child/children will have it, too.

There are three subtypes of ADHD:

1. Hyperactive/impulsive
2. Inattentive
3. Combined type

So what happens when mom has inattentive ADHD and junior is hyperactive and impulsive?

In my case, I have the inattentive sub-type and my daughter is hyperactive and impulsive. Let me give you an example of how these two subtypes under one roof can collide:

Mackenzie doesn’t close a door; she slams it. When she’s happy, she doesn’t laugh; she shrieks. When she talks, the volume of her voice often rips through my brain like a knife. When she’s hungry, she wants to eat.. NOW. Conversely, when she asks me a question and I need time to process her rapid-fire words, she’s already out of the room, feeling nothing but contempt for my slow cognitive tempo.

It’s like watching a hurricane sweep over a sleeping willow tree.

One way to help me cope is to use hand signals. When Mackenzie’s voice begins to rise, I signal her to lower it. When she’s racing through the room, I use a stop sign or time out hand signal. If I’m in desperate need of quiet and solitude, I’ll tell her I’m taking a time out in my home office and will be ready to interact again in 10 or 15 minutes. It’s often a matter of seeing it coming and having a plan before the overwhelm sets in.

I wonder if you have the same issue at your house and how you handle this mismatch of temperament and the resulting sensory overload.

I Don’t Want to Play a Board Game! (Does that mean I’m not a good mother?)

School’s out and if you’re a mom with ADHD, you’re either laughing or crying. Laughing, maybe, because you don’t have to deal with homework battles, IEPs, worrying about your child’s academic success, him being bullied, issues with friends, etc.

Crying because now you have 2 1/2 months to figure out how to keep your child entertained, happy and out of trouble.

Last night, my daughter asked me the one question that always puts a chill up my spine. It’s not about sex. Or drugs. No, I’ve mastered those topics, for the most part. At least in terms of feeling comfortable discussing them.

No, what she asked was, “Mom, will you play Sorry with me?”

Ever since my kids were little, I have always hated playing board and card games. I hated sitting through the 50th video playback of Barney, Mr. Rogers, Raffi (is he still around?). Well, you get the picture. Certain kiddy activities are simply over the top dull. Well, for me, at least.

Board games are aptly named, in my opinion, because they bore me to death. Sitting at a table, waiting your turn, playing games that typically hold no strategy and seem to go on for a hundred hours, is not my idea of fun. I’ve struggled for years over this one, thinking I was a horrible mom for either going along with the request but detesting every painful minute, or avoiding it like the plague (“Sure, Mackenzie…just give me a few minutes while I , etc.).

I finally realized that this was a no-win situation. One of us would be unhappy. So over the years, if I simply could not fathom the idea of playing a ridiculously boring game with my daughter, I’d suggest a re-direct. The best “out” was running out to get ice cream- that always worked. We still had time together and we both ended up very happy.

But last night, I did play Sorry. And I lost. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

Bracing for Summer: Keeping Kids with ADHD Busy and Happy

Face it. Summers can be tough if you have a family that includes a child or two with ADHD. And it’s even tougher if you, too have ADHD. I was reading the posts you wrote in response to my blog, ADHD and Hypersensitivities and was struck by how many of you, like me, are super sensitive to the chaos and noise at home.

With summer coming up fast and kids out of school, it can be pretty difficult to handle days filled with kids at home making noise, messes and more.

I always advise parents to keep their ADHD kids super busy with organized activities. But that can be awfully tough if you, as a mom, have ADHD. Organized isn’t our middle name!

Consider day camp (overnight camp if they’re old enough). Kids need activities and particularly, those that match their interests. But sometimes, camp is out of the question, so here’s an idea to keep them busy while allowing them to burn off some excess energy.

Hop Balls not only do that, but they also improve coordination! Let your kids bounce through summer. Just keep them off your carpet!

When ADD Works FOR You: My ADD Garage Sale

This past weekend, I woke up with a great idea: why not have a garage sale?

It was Saturday morning and of course, I hadn’t planned any of it ahead of time. But it just “felt” right. I’d remembered years ago when I had a garage sale and how much work was involved. So I decided to do something different this time around.

Instead of spending days grouping things and agonizing over prices, this garage sale would be a “pick your own price” event. I told my family that I didn’t want to be like everyone else in the neighborhood (ha, like that’s going to happen…), so they finally agreed to go along with my plan.

I spent all of 2 hours running through the house and basically grabbing things I normally would have tossed or given to charity, then my husband put up signs for me.

It worked! Though it only lasted 4 hours, we sold over $100 worth of stuff, plus we de-cluttered the house!

Sometimes ADHD can work for you. Had I not impulsively jumped into this project, I know it never would have happened.

I’m wondering when you’ve had flashes of positive ADHD moments!

ADHD Mainstreaming?

Let me be the first to say that I am thrilled that ADHD is getting positive media coverage and that it’s going mainstream in that more and more people are understanding this condition. For instance, this month’s Health Magazine , is featuring an article on ADHD and The Today Show had segments both yesterday and today on ADHD (one on adult ADHD and one on ADHD in children).

But, does that mean it’s become more accepted as a medical diagnosis?

Back when I first became professionally involved in the field of ADHD, it was quite an uphill battle to get people to understand that ADHD is/was real. I do think we’ve made good progress; after all, it has now become a topic in mainstream media.

I’m curious to know how this is playing out in your life. Do people you come across accept your ADHD or do they still insist it’s a character flaw or something you can overcome “if you only tried harder?” Let us know how mainstream it has become for you…

ADHD and Hypersensitivities

One of the things I love to write about is hypersensitivities. As in… being sensitive to certain fabrics, smells, lights and more. Little is written about this and it’s a shame, because most women don’t realize that ADHD and hypersensitivities often go together.

And it’s not just in women; it’s our ADD kiddos too who have meltdowns because of sensory overload. For many of us, it takes YEARS to figure out that clothes with tags make our kids grumpy. Or that wearing panty hose puts us over the top agitated. Or that we can hear the humming of the refrigerator in the next room. Or that we can’t tolerate what my daughter calls, “mouth noises.”

Does anyone else hate wearing nail polish? I swear, it feels like my fingers weigh 10 pounds each when I put it on. So I no longer do.

So here’s my tip of the day: stop fighting! If you hate wearing makeup, either stop wearing it or only put it on when you have to. If your kids are squirming all day because they can’t tolerate wearing jeans, give them sweat pants!

I highly recommend the book, “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World“, by Sharon Heller. Read it and I promise you’ll feel so much better, knowing you aren’t alone.

Also, check out my article on this topic HERE

What makes your nerves shatter? Wool? Telephones ringing? Certain odors? Do tell!

Being Disorganized Can Make You Sick

Those of you who know me and/or my work, know that I try hard to teach folks with ADHD to forgive themselves. We are sooo hard on ourselves when we are trying to manage piles of paper, keeping our homes orderly, remembering important dates, managing our families, staying on top of things at work…and more.
You know how some weeks can be simply overwhelming. Well, I am having that kind of week, myself. I feel like I’m a target for anything and everything that possibly could be going wrong. But to save you the trouble of having to read about my week of insanity, let me focus on one area that really got me crazed.

I’ll be writing a lot about my kids. After all, this is about Moms with ADHD and Moms with ADHD who have Kids with ADHD. I belong in both categories. I have one daughter with ADHD and one without.
Mackenzie, the one *with* ADHD has other special needs. That means that once a year (usually more), we have to attend an IEP at school. An IEP is an Individualized Educational Plan Meeting where we discuss what her needs are and how they’ll be addressed.

Of course, my IEP is THIS THURSDAY and my papers aren’t in order. That’s where the “sick” part comes in. Though I’ve known about my ADHD for…oh…a long time now…and am considered an expert in the field, I still have my moments. And this is one of them. Papers make me sick. Or I should say, disorganized papers falling off my desk into piles on the floor make me sick.

One of my mantras when I offer presentations on ADHD is to do what you can to get the help you need. In my case, I lucked out. My older daughter, Kate, is extremely organized. Now, I could have chosen to spend hours looking for and organizing the papers I need for this upcoming meeting, but Kate was in town and she offered to help me.

She was able to pull together a binder with all the needed papers in oh…about 2 hours, tops. If I had taken this on, either it wouldn’t have gotten done, or it would have taken me literally weeks to finish this horrific task.
The moral of the story- if something makes you so distressed it makes you literally feel sick, due to your ADHD, think about what options you have in getting help. It could be hiring an ADD coach, a professional organizer. Or it could be as simple as asking someone you trust to help you out.

Time to put away the Tums!


Dear Friends,
I’m utterly thrilled and excited to offer you a whole new resource, here at . But let me explain how this new site evolved.

After nine years of running the very successful, I’ve learned quite a bit from you. In recent years, I found that many people – women – were contacting me because they’d read my book, my articles and understood that as a woman with ADHD raising a child with ADHD, I had the unique perspective of understanding their own challenges.

Little is written about the unique challenges we women face, so I’ve decided to focus my attention on you- a woman with ADHD who is raising a child or two that also has ADHD.

I will be posting information about moms, kids and even a bit about my own experiences in raising my daughter, Mackenzie. Hopefully, my insights will help you along as you search for ways to make your life easier. I know how hard it can be!

Look for blog posts, articles, resources, products and other tidbits from me. You’re not alone on this journey; I’m here to help! And I’m glad you’re here!

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