Managing expectations: Living with adult ADD, disability, and limited space

Mr. Moon is the first to admit that he's scatterbrained and unfocused. And he'll be the first to tell you that if he doesn't have a list, it doesn't get done. However, making lists isn't exactly his strong suit. Thankfully, he married a woman who lives by her love of lists & structure. The hard part is struggling with falling into stuffy old gender roles. Ultimately though, we have to do what's best for each of us and our partnership, utilizing our strengths and working around our weaknesses, even if they're the ones we learned through a society that taught them to us based on our perceived genders. Recognizing where they came from doesn't negate their existence and the reality is that I'm both a lot more organized than him, and have a lot more time to BE organized.

With the wedding out of the way and staring down the moving target of daily parenthood, we had a long discussion about priorities and what we want the rest of our lives to look like. It's not a new discussion, and frankly I'm not sure there was even anything revelatory in it, but the point was more about identifying our next steps anyway. One of those is getting our house in order, in general, but doing so by tweaking and following our routine. Having a routine of chores that get done daily, a daily slot for chores that get done weekly, setting timers for those chores and actually sticking to it so that not only does Mr. Moon hone his skills but also increases his speed.

ADD makes getting distracted easy--and that means not having a task that is intended to take an hour. His top timeframe seems to be about 20 minutes before there is a critical lack of focus--a task that should take 15 minutes takes either 20 or an hour. Recognizing that was a critical part of tweaking that routine plan, to set him up for success. With a checklist and a timer, he's racing the clock to get everything done so it's kind of like a game. And if it's a really bad focus day, well, 20 minutes is still enough time to get something accomplished even if it's not all of the list.

I know I've talked about our lists before, and it's nothing new. But we've gone so far now as to hang picture frames on the wall of each room with that room's checklist, as well as the daily checklists we already had in the hallway. And I think that was the tweak we needed. The checklists were available before, but usually stashed in a drawer between uses, and he'd completely forget about or ignore them. But with the checklist requiring no action on his part to be able to look at it, he actually uses them more.

I think I was worried about shaming him in front of our family and friends. It's no secret that he does a vast majority of the housework. But in the end, the people we invite to our home and our lives are friends for a reason--and that's in part because they're not the kind of people to make fun of our systems that work for us.

We're finishing up two weeks now of managing to stick to our system pretty consistently. Eventually something will happen that we'll fall off the wagon and need to get back on, but at least when we do that it takes no effort. Work the checklists. Eventually, we get to a point where it doesn't take 10 minutes three times a week to deal with the paper pile because we're caught up and keeping up on it. Where it doesn't take an hour to firebomb the kitchen because it's staying clean enough to do things like wipe the stovetop, sweep the floor, and get the fingerprints off the microwave on a whim. After a two weeks of wedding damage control and two weeks of simply working the systems, we're finally getting caught up enough to start with some decluttering and organizing projects. And the first one I want to do: the office & craft supplies. So I'm looking forward to that next week!


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