Arrows pointing to five directions saying impulse

7 tips for ADHD Moms to Help with Impulsivity

Hey there, fellow ADHD moms! Today, let’s dive into a topic that often feels like an uninvited guest in our lives: impulsivity. If you’ve ever found yourself making split-second decisions or acting on a whim without thinking about the consequences, you’re not alone. Impulsivity is like that mischievous friend who shows up unannounced and wreaks havoc on our plans and routines. But fear not! With a bit of understanding and some practical strategies, we can learn to tame this wild beast and regain control over our lives.

Understanding Impulsivity

First things first, let’s define what impulsivity actually means. In simple terms, impulsivity is the tendency to act without thinking. Now, in ADHD brains, there’s a bit of a mix-up with certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals help our brains communicate and control impulses. But in ADHD, there can be less of these chemicals or they might not work as well as they should. This can make it harder for us to put the brakes on our impulses, like saying “yes” to that tempting snack or buying something on a whim. So, basically, it’s like our brains have a hiccup in the system that makes it trickier to stop and think before we act. And for us ADHD moms, impulsivity often goes hand in hand with our other symptoms, like difficulty focusing and staying organized. But don’t worry, with some understanding and strategies, we can still learn to manage it like a pro!

My Personal Battle with Impulsivity

Here’s one of my own stories. I’m at the grocery store, trying to stick to my shopping list and budget. Everything is going smoothly until I spot a flashy display of mini donuts with the option of getting it customised on your own. It was a DIY mini donut dipping and decorating experience. Without hesitation, I decorate a set of donuts and grab a pack, ignoring my budget and forgetting about the other items on my list (I came to buy milk, bread, and a few other essentials). Later, as I unpack my groceries at home, I realize that my impulsive decision has left a dent in my wallet and a pang of guilt in my stomach.

The same went to my AliExpress shopping sprees where I used to buy loads and loads of toys for my kid and cute gadgets for a dopamine hit for me. I didn’t realize how much money I was spending on some stuff, which would later just clutter my home.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there too, my friend. It’s moments like these that remind us just how powerful impulsivity can be and how it can throw us off course when we least expect it. But I must say, I have now literally cut down my impulsive purchases to 99% (except for a tiny sweet I see once in a while). I always think twice if I am not buying a non-essential item.

Examples of Impulsivity manifesting itself in our daily life

Impulsivity can manifest in various aspects of an ADHD mom’s life. Here are a few relatable examples:

  1. Shopping Spree: Picture this: You’re at the store with a clear list of what you need. But as you stroll down the aisles, you spot a shiny new gadget or a cute outfit for your little one. Without a second thought, you toss it into your cart, ignoring your budget and forgetting about the items you came for. Later, you realize your impulsive purchase has thrown your budget off track and left you feeling a tad guilty. Impulsive purchases create many other problems too like mismanagement of finances and even the house getting cluttered with all the unwanted purchases.
Worried woman after shopping looking at piggy bank
  1. Interrupting Conversations: You’re chatting with a friend or family member, engrossed in the conversation. Suddenly, a thought pops into your head, and before you know it, you’ve blurted it out, interrupting the flow of the conversation. While your intentions were innocent, you realize afterward that your impulsivity may have inadvertently disrupted the interaction.
  2. Overcommitting: You’re asked to volunteer for a school event, join a committee, or take on an extra project at work. Without considering your current workload or schedule, you eagerly agree, swept up in the excitement of the moment. But as the deadline approaches and your to-do list grows longer, you find yourself overwhelmed and wishing you had paused to think things through before committing.
  3. Snack Attack: You’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but when you open the pantry, you’re met with a tempting array of snacks. Without hesitating, you reach for the nearest bag of chips or cookies and indulge in a moment of impulsivity, ignoring your long-term health goals in favor of instant gratification.

These examples illustrate how impulsivity can sneak into various aspects of an ADHD mom’s life, often leading to unexpected consequences and challenges. But with awareness and proactive strategies, we can learn to navigate impulsivity with grace and intentionality.

Managing ADHD Impulsivity

But fear not, dear reader! While we may not be able to rewire our brains overnight, there are plenty of practical strategies we can use to keep impulsivity in check.

1. Pause Before Acting

Next time you feel the urge to make an impulsive decision, hit the pause button. Take a deep breath, count to ten, or do whatever it takes to give yourself a moment of clarity before diving in. I know are racing brains can be rarely slowed down. Trust me, with time you’ll be able to slow down those thoughts and actions even by a few seconds. Those few seconds of hesitation can make all the difference.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t just for yogis and meditation gurus—it’s for us too! By tuning into the present moment and staying aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can become more attuned to our impulsive tendencies and learn to respond thoughtfully instead of reactively.

3. Be grateful

Practicing gratitude strengthens our self-control muscle, making it easier to resist impulsive temptations. When we focus on the blessings in our lives, we become less susceptible to fleeting desires and more capable of making intentional choices aligned with our long-term goals. You start to appreciate the small things in life and realize you don’t need all those stuff to be happy.

A grateful woman with a bunch of flowers hugging a child

4. Be accountable

Having an accountability partner can be a game-changer in reducing impulsivity for ADHD moms. Sharing goals and intentions with someone creates a sense of responsibility, making it less likely to act impulsively without considering consequences. Support and encouragement from a trusted ally provide clarity and resilience in challenging moments. Celebrating successes together reinforces positive behavior and strengthens commitment to continued growth. With mutual support and shared goals, an accountability partner helps navigate the ups and downs of managing ADHD symptoms with confidence.

When I knew my shopping habits were getting out of control one of the few things I did was setting up my account in a way that my spouse got notifications every time I shopped. Some may not agree with me. But this really did the trick, I didn’t want him to get so many messages from my purchases. Also I set up monthly savings targets which curbed my impulsive spending.

5. Set Clear Boundaries

Creating boundaries isn’t just about saying “no” to others—it’s about saying “yes” to ourselves. Whether it’s setting limits on screen time, establishing a budget, or scheduling regular self-care activities, setting clear boundaries can help us stay grounded and make more intentional choices.

6. Declutter

Decluttering can be a powerful strategy to minimize impulsivity for ADHD moms. Once you switch on the declutter mode you won’t feel like adding on more to the clutter. Also, when our physical environment is cluttered, it can overwhelm our senses and make it easier to succumb to impulsive urges. By simplifying our surroundings and decluttering our spaces, we create a sense of calm and clarity, making it easier to think before acting. Plus, decluttering helps us prioritize what truly matters, reducing the temptation to make impulsive purchases or decisions based on fleeting desires. With a clear and organized environment, we can better focus on our goals and make intentional choices aligned with our values and priorities, ultimately minimizing impulsivity and enhancing our overall well-being.

A sign which says clear your space

7. Seeking Support: You’re Not Alone

Remember, dear reader, you don’t have to tackle impulsivity on your own. Reach out to your loved ones for support, whether it’s a listening ear, a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on. And don’t hesitate to seek guidance from mental health professionals who can provide specialized strategies and support tailored to your unique needs.

Conclusion: Embracing Imperfection

In the end, impulsivity is just one small piece of the puzzle that makes us who we are. It’s a reminder that we’re human, with quirks and imperfections that make us beautifully imperfect. So let’s embrace our impulsive tendencies with compassion and curiosity, knowing that with a little self-awareness and a dash of determination, we can learn to navigate the ups and downs of ADHD with grace and resilience.

Keep shining bright, ADHD moms. You’ve got this!

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