Why “People First” Isn’t Enough. Where’s the “Mom First” Language?

By Amanda Morin, Understood.org

My Child Has ADHD, but Don’t Call Me an “ADHD Mom”

Sometimes people who don’t have kids with learning and attention issues marvel at what I manage daily. That may sound like a humblebrag, but it’s not. The truth is I don’t manage more than any other mom does.

When people tell parents like me, “You ADHD moms are so inspiring,” or “You’re such a Supermom!” I don’t know what to say. We’re really no different from other moms.

When I talk about kids who have learning and attention issues, I choose to use something called “people first” language. It puts the child first and the issue second. I don’t call my younger son “my ADHD child” or say that he is ADHD. I say he has ADHD.

His ADHD doesn’t define who he is. Primarily, he’s just a kid. He loves to laugh with his friends, roll around in the mud and play with toy trucks.

The last time someone called me Supermom, I realized we needed to have “mom first” language, too.

Primarily, I’m just a mom. I love to laugh with my friends. I get irritated at my son for tracking mud inside. And I try to figure out how I’m going to make it through another session of playing toy trucks.

From the outside, our lives may look more hectic to other parents. And it’s true, there’s more to do. I have to be more diligent about making sure the day goes smoothly. I attend IEP meetings. I keep track of appointments with doctors and therapists and I manage sensory meltdowns. Sometimes I make mistakes, even when I’m doing my best.

To me, that’s just being a mom. As moms, we all do what we have to do to make sure the kids we have are getting what they need to grow and succeed. That I’m doing what it takes to raise a child with ADHD is, to me, incidental.

Experts tell us the best way to praise kids is to praise their effort, not their personal characteristics. It seems to me it should the same for moms.

So please don’t call me an “ADHD mom” or a “Supermom” just for having kids with learning and attention issues.

The days when I manage to get three kids out the door in the morning, fed, in clean clothes, with homework, lunch money, and gym clothes in tow—and also remember to show up to chaperone a field trip? Now, that takes effort.

On those days, feel free to call me Supermom.

Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org © 2015 Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.

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