A sticky note saying don't forget

12 Tips to manage Forgetfulness For ADHD Moms

Hey there, fellow ADHD moms! 🌟 If you’ve ever found yourself wandering around the house, forgetting why you walked into a room or struggling to recall important tasks, you’re not alone. Forgetfulness is a common challenge many of us face, and it can sometimes feel like we’re constantly battling against our own minds. But fear not! In this article, we’ll dive into the world of forgetfulness, explore why it’s particularly tricky for ADHD moms, and most importantly, discover some practical strategies to help us navigate through it with grace and self-compassion.

Unraveling the Mystery of Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness – it’s that pesky little gremlin that seems to pop up at the most inconvenient times, leaving us feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Whether it’s forgetting appointments, misplacing keys, or blanking out on where we left our phone (again! for the millionth time), the impact of forgetfulness on our daily lives can be significant. The only positive thing about forgetfulness is that I can rewatch most movies as I completely forgot what happened the previous time I watched it. But then this benefit outweighs all the negatives of forgetfulness right? So lets learn a bit about what exactly is forgetfulness, and why does it seem to plague us ADHD moms more than others?

Personal Story Time

Imagine a morning bustling with toddler energy – toys strewn across the floor, breakfast sizzling on the stove, and my little one bouncing with excitement. Amidst the whirlwind, I make a mental note to pack snacks for our park adventure. But as we arrive, I realize with a sinking feeling that I forgot the snacks. Cue the toddler’s protests and my own frustration. I used to forget his water bottle, snacks, extra diaper or even his insect repellent all the time.

One time, when we were on a trip to Malaysia, I forgot that we were almost out of diapers and we were on our way to Genting Highlands from Kuala Lumpur. When we reached our hotel in Genting, we couldn’t find his sized diapers in any of the nearby shops as they were closed by 10pm. I felt terrible as a mom, beacuse I had forgotten all about his diapers. This is just one story but something which was stuck with me all this time.

As a toddler mom, forgetfulness often sneaks in at the most inconvenient times and, moments like these are all too familiar. And the anxiety it brings is just too much to handle. The constant juggling act of managing household tasks, work responsibilities, and the never-ending stream of parental duties can sometimes feel like an uphill battle against forgetfulness.

Woman with hand on her forehead as if she forgot something

Understanding Forgetfulness: The ADHD Brain at Work

So, what’s going on inside our brains that makes forgetfulness such a common struggle for us ADHD moms? Well, it all comes down to the unique way our brains process information. Individuals with ADHD often experience challenges with working memory – the mental workspace where we temporarily store and manipulate information. This means that tasks, ideas, and even important reminders can easily slip through the cracks, leaving us feeling scatterbrained and overwhelmed. Our brains work different to neurotypicals which makes us forget things more often.

Working Memory Woes

At the heart of the matter lies our working memory – the mental whiteboard where we jot down and manipulate information on the fly. For those of us with ADHD, this crucial cognitive function often hits a snag. Think of it like trying to keep track of multiple tabs open in your mind while simultaneously navigating a bustling city street – it’s a recipe for mental overload.

Distractibility and Disorganization

Our ADHD brains also have a knack for getting easily sidetracked by shiny new distractions, making it even trickier to retain important information. Combine that with our tendency towards disorganization, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for forgetfulness.

Dopamine Dilemma

Ah, dopamine – the brain’s feel-good chemical and our ever-elusive friend. In the ADHD brain, dopamine plays a starring role in regulating attention and motivation. But here’s the kicker – our dopamine levels can sometimes resemble a rollercoaster ride, with peaks and valleys that can throw our memory for a loop.

Neurological Nuances

And let’s not forget the neurological nuances that set our ADHD brains apart. If you like to know the science behind this, I have briefly explained why this happens. In ADHD brains, differences in brain structure, like a smaller or less active prefrontal cortex, and alterations in neurotransmitter pathways, such as fluctuating levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, can contribute to forgetfulness. Think of it like a symphony, where multiple factors work together to shape how our brains function. These differences can make it harder to stay focused, organized, and on track, leading to challenges with memory and forgetfulness. So, while forgetfulness may be a common struggle for ADHD individuals, understanding the neurological nuances can help us navigate this aspect of our cognitive differences with compassion and self-awareness.

Human depicted as a puzzle and few pieces are away

Memory Techniques: Tools for Taming the Forgetfulness Beast

  1. Create Visual Schedules: Use visual aids like color-coded calendars, planners, or whiteboards to map out daily tasks and routines. Having a visual roadmap can help you stay organized and remember important appointments and deadlines.
  2. Create Designated Spaces: Implementing strict designated places for items is an effective method to combat forgetfulness. Assigning specific locations for commonly misplaced items like keys, wallets, and phones ensures they are always readily accessible and reduces the likelihood of forgetting where they are. Designate a dedicated spot for each item, such as a bowl by the door for keys or a designated drawer for important documents. Consistently returning items to their designated places after use reinforces this organizational system and helps to alleviate forgetfulness. With a structured approach to item storage, you can streamline your daily routines and minimize the stress of forgetting essential belongings.
  3. Set Alarms and Reminders: Leverage technology by setting alarms and reminders on your phone or smartwatch for tasks, appointments, and important deadlines. Choose apps with customizable features to suit your individual needs and preferences. Keep reading to learn about leveraging technology to combat forgetfulness.
  4. Use Memory Aids: Employ memory aids such as sticky notes, labeled containers, or electronic organizers to help jog your memory. Place these aids in key locations around your home or workspace for easy access and visibility. In school, I use to make notes on my arm so I wouldn’t forget things. Quirky, but it worked well. So find your own way which would work for you.
  5. Break Tasks into Manageable Steps: Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Focus on completing one step at a time, using checklists or task lists to track your progress. Don’t forget to add it to the Ta-da list for that dopamine hit
  6. Establish Daily Routines: Establish consistent daily routines for yourself and your family to provide structure and predictability. Routines can help reduce the likelihood of forgetting important tasks or responsibilities.
  7. Practice Mindfulness Techniques: Incorporate mindfulness practices such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga into your daily routine. These techniques can help improve focus, attention, and overall cognitive function.
  8. Stay Organized: Keep your living and workspaces organized by decluttering regularly and implementing storage solutions. Invest in organizational tools such as bins, baskets, or filing systems to keep items easily accessible and in their designated places.
  9. Delegate Tasks: Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to family members or enlist the help of a professional organizer or virtual assistant. Sharing responsibilities can alleviate stress and reduce the likelihood of forgetfulness.
  10. Stay Hydrated– I kept coming across the importance of staying hydrated to manage ADHD symptoms, and was keen to learn the reason. Apparently, when we are dehydrated our brain fog symptoms tend to worsen. Dehydration affects memory, causes fatigue, weakens the attention span, affects our ability to do β€œmental” work, and reaction time worsens. So chug up that water bottle which is sitting on your desk!!!
  11. Prioritize Self-Care: Prioritize self-care by staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being can help improve cognitive function and reduce forgetfulness.
  12. Seek Support and Connection: Connect with other ADHD moms for support, encouragement, and shared experiences. Join online support groups, attend local meetups, or seek guidance from healthcare professionals specializing in ADHD.
Paper men holding hands

Utilizing Technology to overcome Forgetfulness

In our modern world, technology can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing forgetfulness. From handy reminder apps to voice memos and digital calendars, there’s a wealth of digital tools at our fingertips to help us stay organized and on track.

I must mention Google Keep as a very helpful tool in managing my forgetfulness. Google Keep offers a range of features to help you stay organized and on top of your tasks. Here’s how you can use Google Keep to combat forgetfulness effectively:

  1. Create Reminders: Google Keep allows you to set reminders for specific notes or tasks. Simply create a new note or list, then click on the bell icon to set a reminder with a date and time. You’ll receive a notification on your device when it’s time to address the task, helping you stay on track and avoid forgetting important commitments. I’ve set reminders for my daily themed schedule so I know what needs to be done for the day.
  2. Use Color-Coding: Color-coding notes and labels in Google Keep can help you quickly identify and prioritize tasks. Assign different colors to categories such as work, personal, or urgent, making it easier to focus on what needs your attention most urgently.
  3. Make Checklists: Utilize Google Keep’s checklist feature to break down tasks into actionable steps. Whether it’s a grocery list, a daily to-do list, or a project checklist, ticking off items as you complete them provides a sense of accomplishment and ensures nothing slips through the cracks. I love the boost of dopamine it gives!!
  4. Capture Ideas on the Go: With Google Keep’s mobile app, you can quickly capture ideas, reminders, or tasks while on the go. Use voice memos, photos, or text notes to capture important information as it comes to you, preventing it from slipping your mind later on. The best part is I am able to sync across my phone, laptop and watch which super helpful to keep tabs on my tasks.
  5. Organize with Labels and Tags: Keep your notes organized by applying labels and tags to categorize them effectively. Whether it’s by project, priority, or topic, creating a logical tagging system makes it easy to find and retrieve information when you need it.
  6. Collaborate with Others: Google Keep allows you to share notes and collaborate with others in real-time. Whether you’re coordinating with family members on a household task list or collaborating with colleagues on a project, shared notes ensure everyone stays on the same page and nothing gets forgotten.

Overall, Google Keep offers a user-friendly and versatile platform for managing forgetfulness and staying organized in your personal and professional life. By leveraging its features effectively, you can streamline your workflow, reduce stress, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

A digital version of the brain being held by a hand

Self-Compassion to overcome forgetfulness

As we wrap up our exploration of forgetfulness and its impact on ADHD moms, I want to leave you with one final thought – be kind to yourself. Remember, forgetfulness is not a reflection of your worth or capabilities as a parent. It’s simply a quirk of the ADHD brain, and one that can be managed with patience, practice, and a healthy dose of self-compassion.

So, the next time you find yourself grappling with forgetfulness, take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it. Together, we can navigate the twists and turns of the forgetfulness journey with grace and resilience. After all, we ADHD moms are nothing if not masters of adaptation and perseverance. Keep shining bright, my friends – you’ve got this! πŸ’ͺ✨

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