I was just recalling how in the 1990s, the moms who had kids my kids’ ages always seemed to be plotting “Girls’ Nights Out” getaways, for which I could never work up any enthusiasm. There seemed to be an underlying sentiment of “let’s escape our meany husbands. We’ll show them! We’ll go out together!” Whereas all I wanted to do once the kids were in bed was either spend scarce time with my husband or hit the hay myself. I definitely had neither the inclination nor the energy to pile into a car and drive 45 minutes round trip to “seek refuge” with a bunch of women — or with anybody. Nothing sounded less relaxing.
Now the trend for adult women seems to be “getting my life organized”. Every other woman you meet claims to have “adult ADD”, or “ADD that went undiagnosed in childhood”. There’s a burgeoning industry aiming its products at this population, from life coaching to dedicated planners (since your Outlook sync-ed with your smartphone isn’t enough). Now I find this interesting: Boys are diagnosed with ADHD three times more often than are girls. Why, then, do I know so many women who claim to be ADD, while I can think of only one man who believes he is / was ADD (meaning he believes he is now, and was undiagnosed as a kid). Are all the not-diagnosed-as-children females now crawling out of the woodwork as adults? Perhaps, but I have another theory:
More moms work full-time now than a generation ago, including more single moms, of which there are both more in raw numbers and which make up a larger proportion of moms than they did a generation ago. That’s a lot of overwhelmed women, dancing as fast as they can to maintain a career (or just a job) as well as a household. And the men? They’ve never been expected to do as much householding as the women are, so little has changed for them: As kids, Mommy did all the heavy lifting carewise, and as adults, his mate does all the heavy lifting household- and carewise; the same attention span that served him (or didn’t) as a child, is serving him just fine as an adult. Whereas women’s attention spans are required to reach miles further than they did as kids, as well as miles further than the previous generations of women. Ergo, all the time management courses, dedicated planners, and life coaches.
Heck, I’d be at an attention deficit too if I didn’t have a partner who has my back. My guess is that a lot of the “adult ADD” among women would disappear if their partners, or the fathers of their kids, would hold up their end of the deal, by which I mean ALL it takes to run a household, which in my book includes child care and supervision; transportation; health care (meaning both appointments AND delousing); administrative duties (finances, social calendar, contact w/ schools); shopping (for groceries AND clothing AND school supplies AND birthday presents), cleanup and tidying; home, lawn, garden, and auto maintenance; meal planning and prep, including lunches, and on and on and on. In other words, scratch a woman who suffers from "adult ADD", and chances are you'll find a man in the equation who’s not pulling his weight.
Added Friday January 7, 2011: Just read yesterday that the Health Ministry is pulling Ritalin for adults from the health basket. I think I'm in favor.