ADHD Makes It Hard for My Daughter to Pay Attention ... and Me Too

The size of my attention span, give or take
Last year, I went into one parent-teacher conference expecting to leave feeling completely bummed. It was a roundtable discussion including all of the folks charged with educating my child and they had been giving me plenty of heads up that Miss Thing was treating her school experience more like a social event at the country club. So I trudged into the meeting knowing that it was not going to be an immersion in feel-good.

But as I was soaking up their comments and observations, I noticed a pattern in what they listed as her problems: “Skylar is a bit flighty.” “She doesn’t stay on any one thing for longer than a minute.” “Her attention span is about thisbig.” “She has the potential to do better, but she’s so restless.” I could’ve punished the child, but I would’ve been dead wrong. Poor baby got all of those qualities fair and square straight from her mama.


I can’t ever remember being a scatterbrain as a kid but heaven knows I’ve got it down pat now as an adult.

In college and a few years after I graduated, I prided myself in my ability to juggle several tasks at once. Then when I got my first real job, moved out of my mom’s house, and navigated the responsibilities of being a single mother without the help of her and my grandmother, I mastered the art of being an expert multitasker. I swear, there were times I would be cooking dinner, packing Girl Child’s lunch, helping with homework, talking on the phone, ironing a school uniform, and answering emails all at the same time. I felt like one of those Kuan Yin statues with a thousand arms, all in action to get as many things simultaneously checked off my to-do list as I could possibly handle.

But the older I got, the more I noticed that I was having a harder time holding onto a thought for longer than a fe