Will you take the ultimate parenting challenge?

Despite my brick of snot brain, I could have written a Blogapalooza post last night about facing challenges, but earlier in the day when I told my son about Blogapalooza, he was intrigued and so uncharacteristically interested in writing, I couldn’t resist letting him run with it. I didn’t know what the topic would be when I asked him for help, but the universe gifted me with a community manager that whipped up a fantastic writing prompt.

Write about a great challenged faced. By you. By someone else. By an entity. At any point in the past or in the future.

Unable to resist, I wrote my own post about a challenge I face every fucking day, a challenge that whips my whimsy into despair, despite my best efforts to resist the darkness. I thought my greatest challenge was living with ADHD, and I wrote a little ditty about it, inspired by my friend Beth’s’ blog post about Comparative Pain. Here is a blurb from the post.

…lots of us face challenges in our lives. Some of us have bigger challenges, or multiple challenges, or different kinds of challenges. Arguing about whose challenges are hardest is stupid and pointless and it keeps us apart. It makes more sense to acknowledge that we’re all struggling, and try to understand the flavor of each other’s struggles, and work together to support each other through whatever those struggles are.

This reeks of truth and I couldn’t love it more if I read it while enjoying a bottle of cheap white wine and gluten free cookies dipped in dark chocolate, that had been served to me on a tray by a flying, fluffy kitten singing show tunes. But I still struggle when it comes to feeling justified in feeling frustrated by my struggles, even though I struggle so very much.

I do.

I joke that I’m practically disabled by ADHD, but it’s not a joke. ADHD negatively affects every aspect of my life. Yes, I am energetic, creative, bright, and capable, but my brain chemistry limits my ability to maximize my strengths and meet the expectations of others sometimes. My greatest challenge isn’t just having ADHD, but how my ADHD negatively affects others, especially the people I love. I have the attention span of a gnat. I’m messy, disorganized, impulsive, odd, difficult, and lack the kind of drive and motivation that would certainly result in a windfall of cash and career success in someone less distractible.

I cannot deny that disappointing others upsets me. It always has. I want to be better. To be dependable, responsible, to stop fucking up and forgetting and looking like an extra on The Walking Dead (which by the way, I totally would LOVE, so if you know anyone who can arrange this, or I'd love to be a corpse on NCIS or CSI - thanks). I want to remember to sign important papers and focus long enough to eat a meal sitting down.

Up until I read the amazing blog post my son wrote, I considered my greatest struggle to be finding a way to hide my deficits better. To work harder on changing some of these things, so that others wouldn’t be so frustrated with me all the time. I am scattered, but not oblivious to the needs and feelings of others.

PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME

PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME

After reading Zach’s post, you can read it by clicking HERE, I realize that I don’t need to change. Not entirely. His words made me aware of a different challenge. One that is much more important than remembering to sign a permission slip or put on a bra when his friends come over.

I don’t deny the reality that my neurological deficits negatively affect my life and the lives of others, but the kid who wrote the amazing blog post about how his greatest challenge is continuing to enjoy life on his own terms, staying in the moment, enjoying his life to the fullest. From what I can see, he seems to be more influenced by my energy, creativity, and down-to-Earth-ness, than by my disorganized, fashion backward, scatterbrained forgetfulness. I wonder if he even notices how difficult life is for me sometimes? Probably not. He's too busy enjoying himself.

So my greatest challenge is to continue to be exactly the person I have always been, doing the best I can, for him and for my daughter, encouraging them to keep doing exactly what they are both currently doing, which is loving and living life the live just as it is, one moment at a time.

Challenge accepted. Will you accept it too?

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Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind published by Penguin USA (NAL).

You should ask someone to buy it for you, or get it for yourself because - dammit - you deserve it. My book is a collection of humorous essays about the journey to and through parenthood, how life shapes you and why being a parent shouldn't ever mean trying not to be just who you have always been, even if you were crazy before you had kids.

*Editorial Reviews*

Barnes & Noble

Mothers in movies are generally gifted with offspring who misbehave only briefly before seeing the error of their ways; moms in real life often must cope with unregenerate brats whose antics only grow worse as they get older. As a parent and as a licensed clinical professional counselor, Nicole Knepper knows that real parenting involves recurring nightmares that Mike and Carol Brady never experienced. What she writes about her blog is doubly true of this book: "My goal is to provide you with support, tolerable discomfort, giggles and thought provoking information. I am also hoping to discover the meaning of life. This is not a site for the humorless and prone butt-hurt type of parent. If you feel like your kids are killing you, you've come to the right place." A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

Publishers Weekly

Knepper offers a collection of mostly funny, often irreverent essays on the umbrella subject of how to drink, swear, laugh, and love one's way through motherhood. The collection—derived from her eponymous blog —stalls at the beginning with an over-long introduction and an unfortunate chapter rehashing tired male-female battle lines concerning all things menstrual. Because they're nothing we haven't read before, the sections dealing with PMS, men's view of female friendship (and anatomy), and daily household struggles on the lines of dinner prep don't showcase Knepper's real gift for witty observation. She hits her stride relating one-off incidents, and uses a spice rack of approaches to her sundry domestically-focused topics. The almost absurdist tone of "Focus Girl" feels forced whereas the chapters in which Knepper invokes her son's point-of-view and pens a manic letter on lice on behalf of Everyschool Elementary's principal prove some of her funniest. Overall, Knepper's is an entertaining collection that many a parent may enjoy over a glass of wine (after the kids are in bed).

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