Please join me tonight (Wed, April 13) 8:30 – 9:30 pm EST for a special teleseminar at www.ADDvisor.com where I’ll be presenting on Moms with ADD: Tips and Tools for Surviving an ADHD Family. Bring your questions for the Q/A portion of the presentation.
See you there!
7 Easy Steps to Dressing a Table for Dinner (How can I decorate a table if I can’t decide on a menu?)
Every weekend, our newspaper delivers a special supplement that is chock full of interesting tidbits that focus on home living: recipes, decorating, home repair, etc.
Last week, an article ran titled “7 Easy Steps to Dressing a Table for Dinner” and I just had to laugh. The piece was chock full of great ideas for displaying a beautiful dinner table, but how does that help me if I can’t figure out WHAT to cook, let alone how to display it like an artist’s masterpiece?
Here are the seven steps:
1.Pick your theme
2. Start with a great base
3. Pick powerful plates
4. Add flatware
5. Select gorgeous glassware
6. Tuck in a napkin
7. Add layers of fun
So…I came up with the Matlen version:
1. Theme: Circus. That’s pretty much how you’d describe mealtime at my house.
2. Base: Vinyl table mats. Easy to clean up.
3. Plates: Paper. Ok, kill me for not going green. But for me, it’s all about survival.
4. Flatware: Plastic. Kill me again.
5. Glassware. Hmm..they suggest gorgeous. Do plastic cups come in patterns?
6. Napkin: why is this one singular? With my crew, it’s a stack in the middle of the table. I can’t tuck in 10 napkins under one (plastic) plate.
7. Fun: How about playing The Guessing Game? All members of my family have to guess what’s on their plate. Losers get to wash, er…throw away the dishes, while mom retreats to the hammock to recover from the train wreck of a dinner preparation.
So, do you think I should submit my ideas to the newspaper?
Not all that many years ago, when my kids were still young and didn’t care much about hurting my feelings while expressing their (strong) opinions about my culinary attempts, I took their words to heart. Probably way too much, too.
I can’t say that I am or was a horrible cook; I simply hated every aspect of it. The decision making, shopping (two hours-all those distractions!), preparing, cleaning…only to hear a united “UGH” when the filled plates hit the table, brimming with meatloaf, chicken or oh…the other 5 things I had mastered over the years.
Cooking was and still is a horrific chore for me. As a woman with ADHD, the cooking machinery just doesn’t work too well, because it expects one’s executive functioning to be running as smoothly as silk. And I don’t know a single woman with ADHD that doesn’t have problems with executive functioning.
For many of us with ADHD, there’s simply too many steps involved in cooking and at some point, it often becomes ridiculously too difficult to manage.
I was thinking about the guilt involved in my giving up cooking on a regular basis and it struck me that the guilt hits me on several levels:
1. Women/moms are *supposed* to know how to get healthy meals on the table.
2. Many women I know seem to love cooking. So what’s wrong with me?
3. Many women are also pretty creative in the kitchen. I’m not one of them!
But even more so, the UGH words cut me deeper than they should have. And now I realize why: the words opened an old, vulnerable wound. It wasn’t “just” that they didn’t like what I’d prepared for dinner. It was a daily reminder that I was, in my mind, incapable of doing what most other women could do without blinking an eye. In other words, it wasn’t about feeling hurt that my food was not to their liking. It was a direct blow to my shortcomings as a woman; a mom.
What I’ve learned over the years is that I am not defined by how great- or not great- I am in the kitchen. When these feelings of inadequacy wash over me, I remind myself that my lack of certain skills does not define whether or not I’m a good mother or wife. I’m more than that. I’m also a writer, speaker, musician, artist, good friend to many, animal lover, advocate and more.
Can you re-define who YOU are by focusing on your strengths and uniqueness instead of your Mac and Cheese recipe?
In my last post, I talked about what NOT to do to prepare for the holidays if you have ADHD. One of my readers responded that it was refreshing to read a list of what NOT to do instead of what TO do, because she, as most of us, are overwhelmed with all the things we need to do but find hard to accomplish. That ADHD just keeps getting in the way.
So to expand on the idea of what NOT to do, in general, here is my list.
What NOT To Do If You Have ADHD
1. Do not compare your house, your family or yourself with anyone else. Of course, that’s something everyone should follow. But for those of us with ADHD, it’s too easy to feel our shortcomings by comparing ourselves with others.
2. Do not feel badly about “messing up.” Accept that our lives will be more challenging in general. Those without ADHD typically aren’t on high alert, worrying about getting to places on time, remembering names, meal preparation, having challenging children, etc. Give yourselves a break and relax a bit.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Do not get stuck in a bad job, marriage, toxic friendship, etc.
5. Do not blame your ADHD for all of your personal shortcomings. ADD is an explanation; not an excuse.
6. Do not stick with your current meds, therapist or doctors if they aren’t helping you. It can take quite a long time to find the right med/combo. Don’t give up!
7. Do not let your children wear white.
8. Do not forget about your own needs. You work so hard, harder than most, to get through a normal day. Allow plenty of down time, trips away from the kids, and whatever else it takes to replenish and renew.
9. Do not try to be someone without ADHD. You will battle disorganization, time management challenges, clutter, and more. As Sari Solden wonderfully states, “embrace your ADHD.”
10. Do not shop at the mall the week of Christmas. You are asking to fry all of your senses. Instead, do your shopping online.
Ok, who can add to the list?