From the Coaches in the News Series

Excerpted from her article published in the Yummy Mummy Club

I’m a great mum. One of my boys said that “I’m the most grown up mother he knows…more than any of his friends mums.” How cool is that? It hasn’t always been that way though.

I am the mum of three boys with ADHD. In my time, I’ve been called a bad parent and a parent of ‘difficult to control’ or lazy children. My kids were always ‘different’. Adults felt they could say the strangest things to me. Meeting a former preschool teacher, she accused my then three-year-old of giving her breast cancer! One friend used to time my social visits. I would walk over to her home for a coffee, taking my two-year-old with me and the longest I lasted was three minutes and 23 seconds.

I appeared to fail as a mum at the local play group. Standing at the School Assembly watching awards being given out to kids because they had worked so hard I thought…that will never be my son(s) experience. How unfair is this? Do they know how hard we have been working? I remember tears of exhaustion, frustration and worry.

Actually, I had been and was a model ‘yummy mummy’ choosing the right school, the perfect home, the best nutrition, a wall of helping professionals including  professional trainers, mentors and tutors. I was doing it all. How dare they! It was enough to drive one to the bottle. And sometimes it did. I was beyond exhausted. They were the bad days.

The good days were better than good.

My kids were and are amazing. They are quirky, bright, creative, lateral thinkers and so much fun to be with. They can nearly always see the other persons point of view. They are generous to a fault, sensitive and caring. Most of all, they taught me a lot. I grew up with them. I did stuff other parents couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I got to live childhood all over again in the best possible way. I became a “can do” mum. Anything was possible with my boys. So long as it was safe.

My ADHD kids taught me so much and what I learnt I would love to share.  If you are a mum of a different kid, you are ok. There is nothing wrong with you. Breathe. ADD is a gift! Yes, a gift. An ADD brain is wired differently. And this wiring gives incredible strengths. It can turn kids and their parents into the coolest, sexiest and most creative people on the block. It’s just a matter of looking at and doing things a little differently.

Change your perception of what is right. Ask yourself, “Am I doing what others expect of me, or am I doing something which is authentically me?” ADHDers belong to a really special part of society…thinkers, creators, entrepreneurs, artists, dreamers, elite sportsmen and women, and those living on the edge. An ADHD life can be rich beyond others wildest dreams. And it is really fun. What is needed is an understanding of how an ADHD brain is different.

In the end, attention is all about interest

So, what is ADHD? I can give you all the medical terms, all the diagnostic criteria, but at the end of the day, ADHD is characterized by a lack of interest, not a lack of focus on an event or issue. No matter how you try, unless the interest level is there, the ADHD brain just won’t work. It doesn’t matter what you do: nothing will work until you can change the viewpoint to one of interest.

And that’s the secret. Live a life of interest, joy and passion..use your strengths, forget the rest. Sustainable success will follow. And this holds true for everyone, ADHD or not.

About Susan Macintosh

Susan Macintosh currently lives in Canada and has clients across the globe. Having lived on several continents, she’s skilled at transitioning!
Susan is on the leadership team of the board of the ACO and co chair of the 2011 Conference Committee. You can reach her on line at

Coaches in the News is an occasional Circle column. Do you have something to share? Perhaps an article or a particularly interesting talk or presentation. Email with your information. The monthly deadline is the 15th of the month.