Things That Are Helping

September 30, 2021

I was in a really low place just a few days ago. I told Josh I wanted to quit everything (and I even attempted to quit one of the committees I am on at work, though I have since spoken with higher-ups and have now decided to give myself some grace and not quit and just allow myself to do a B-grade job for a bit).


Feeling tired from call, having more frequent migraines (probably both a cause and effect), being stressed out about the wellness talk (done and being given today!), hormone swings (I take OCPs, but I had my 4-day placebo period which I do every ~12 weeks because otherwise things get a bit dicey uterine lining-wise and it’s always a roller coaster), having a mildly sick kid (just a very brief mild cold for G — she’s all better though and I am very much hoping no one else will get it), feeling dread about the holidays (filled with call and work for our family this year).

Ten Things That Have Helped:

1- The Comfort Book by Matt Haig. I really do find it comforting.

2- This recent 10 Things to Tell You Episode on her recent struggles and things she is doing to feel better. It made me feel less alone.

3- Booking a tip (Vero Beach). Josh and I have 2-night break to look forward to in just a couple of weeks. Just having that on the horizon feels amazing.

4- Taking it a bit easier, including sleeping in more and leaning into some great TV (this past month: The Chair, LuLaRich, and White Lotus).

5- This Dr Becky Episode, aptly named Parenting is Exhausting. She nailed it.

Really feeling this podcast lately

6- Our Patreon meetup. It did feel social and fun and helped break up the week.

7- New library haul, and diving into good books

8- Setting aside some time to plan today + tomorrow. Of course, these days are not wide open (far from it). But I am looking forward to even a block of time each day to get things organized for the Rest of the Year.

9- Hormone stabilization. I mean, of course. Here’s to ~11 weeks of stable estrogen and progesterone levels!

10- Being done with my wellness talk. I will feel EVEN better once it is over (you can do a virtual cheer for me at 1 pm today!).

ADHD Expert?

Anyone have a favorite expert (author, speaker, social media guru) on kids + ADHD? This was a requested topic for BOBW and I was thinking perhaps some of you might have ideas!


  • Reply lawandcreative September 30, 2021 at 6:19 am

    I love this list and hope you are feeling brighter soon!

    No ADHD recommendations, but if you feel there is any aspect of Pathological Demand Avoidance going on or would be interesting, Ruth Fidler is excellent.

  • Reply Gillian September 30, 2021 at 6:58 am

    There is a developmental pediatrician in Westchester NY named Mark Berin. I found him via a podcast and have read his books. He places a strong focus on executive function and was a good guest. I don’t know him personally.

  • Reply Nadine September 30, 2021 at 8:00 am

    The irony of a wellness talk making you feel less well cannot be lost on you! Glad for you when it’s finished & that you have a lovey break away to look forward to. Thank you for the book recommendations & here’s to you feeling better!

    • Reply Brooke September 30, 2021 at 8:35 am

      Dr. Hallowell or the women for the YouTube channel How To ADHD (forgetting her name)

  • Reply Jgold September 30, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Dr. Hallowell for ADHD. Has a podcast called Distraction.

    • Reply Mrs. Candid September 30, 2021 at 8:21 am

      Best wishes for your wellness talk and glad to know things have started looking up for you. Cheers Sarah.

  • Reply Amy F September 30, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Kudos to you! Sending you good wishes for a great talk 😃

    Very interested in the ADHD episode- my eldest was diagnosed early 2021 and the difference before and after medication are astonishing. This time last year we were afraid that DC would not graduate from HS (May 22) — DC is now a senior and has mostly As. I even got a text yesterday from her yesterday telling me how proud she is of herself. *Cue the ugly crying – so happy and so relieved*

  • Reply Chelsea September 30, 2021 at 8:36 am

    What a good idea about the ADHD expert! I think a series – or at least several episodes – on making life work with kids with special needs would be very useful. We are processing an ASD diagnosis, and I’m definitely in the market for “advice when all the other parenting advice is useless”.

    • Reply Irene September 30, 2021 at 8:59 am

      I wish I knew you in real life! We are still navigating various diagnoses (much delayed by the pandemic) and it’s pretty much the most stressful thing I’ve ever experienced. Wishing you and your family the best as you process this news.

      I found this book very helpful- not specifically focused on any one specific SN overall but has sections devoted to several at different points (which may have helped me since my kid is not neatly fitting in any one bucket) but really thoughtful practical advice.

      • Reply Chelsea September 30, 2021 at 2:23 pm

        Thanks, Irene. Same to you 🙂

    • Reply Nina October 1, 2021 at 2:50 pm

      Sarah, you have created such a fantastic community here. Reading your blog and the many comments has provided me with so much. Even some of your regular commenters feel like “friends”, such is the weirdness of the internet! Thanks everyone for reading and contributing. 🙂

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 1, 2021 at 4:29 pm

        Aww!!! I love it. Thank you and thank you for being a part of it!!!

  • Reply allison September 30, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Hi Sarah! Totally I enjoyed reading your list of things that are helping. Just offering solidarity on the migraines. I’ve been a long-time sufferer and they are… not fun. Hopefully you can find some long-term solutions!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 30, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Could you guys try to get Dr. Becky on BOBW? I feel like her expertise would appeal to your audience (for general parenting strategies, not specific to ADHD – not sure that is her expertise). I am personally a super fan of hers and we ended up buying her course on emotional regulation and managing meltdowns which has helped, if for no other reason that it pushed us to have conversations and was helpful to hear directly from an expert instead of me telling my husband what I read or heard on a podcast! 😉 I loved her parenting is hard podcast, too. It made me feel very seen as we are in a challenging stage with our 3.5 year old (horrible horrible tantrums!).

    I am glad you and Josh have some time away together to look forward to. Could you also take some time for yourself, perhaps on a week day when your nanny would be willing to spend the night (week days feel like an easier day to take for yourself than a weekend)? Just to put some gas in your tank ahead of your next call?

    I wish I had picked up The Comfort Book. It was available at the library for me but I didn’t get there in time to grab it. Now I am regretting that since you are finding it comforting!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 30, 2021 at 9:37 am

      Would love to get her – just figuring she may be quite booked these days, but we can always try!

  • Reply Amanda September 30, 2021 at 10:09 am

    I had a preceptor who is a developmental pediatrician, mom of 4 and married to an IM doc. She is not famous but treats lots of adhd and I believe one of her kids has adhd too. She also just has a really nice perspective on a lot of things. If interested I can email you her contact info.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 30, 2021 at 10:20 am

      She sounds wonderful! Can you connect us? That would be great!

  • Reply Elizabeth September 30, 2021 at 10:36 am

    You know what else will help? Tomorrow. You always feel better at the start of a new month and it’s coming for you, Sarah!!!

    Also, I have to tell you I relate so much to your feeling of wanting to quit everything that you don’t think you can give an A+ effort in. I suspect we have very similar personality in this area. It’s maddening to be a perfectionist. I also feel I can’t have something on my plate if I can’t do it the best that I COULD, if that makes sense. I’m working on letting go of this (in therapy) but it’s not easy. This is all to say—solidarity! You’re not alone. And also, probably your B effort is better than many people’s A+ effort. So try to give yourself grace.

    Glad you and Josh have a getaway to look forward to!!

    • Reply Elisabeth September 30, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Another Elisabeth chiming in here. I was just going to say that your “B-” is likely most others “A+” – it’s all a matter of perspective, but when you have such a high standard for yourself, it can get exhausting. I really hope you are able to get a bit of a breather from all the many pressures and demands. Two nights away sounds like a good start (but you CAN’T feel guilty when you come back and immediately find parenting draining, because it is no matter how much of a “break” you get).

      Also, whoever also mentioned that tomorrow will provide a clean slate is spot on. I turned the wall calendar over today because I was just ready to move past September (it wasn’t bad, just very, very busy) and look at a slightly less hectic – for now – October.

      P.S. Just put in an order for The Comfort Book through my library 🙂

    • Reply Amy September 30, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      Omg yes, feeling like a failure if you can’t give A+ effort. That can be such a handicap. You’re not alone!

  • Reply Ashley September 30, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I had a college professor who gave me the advice “never make a decision in December.” Because many people are stressed and overwhelmed and will make a decision in that state when it’s better to make a decision with the most perspective possible. I have extended this advice to “never make a big decision in may” (end of school year events can be overwhelming) and “never make a big decision when I’m sick.” Maybe you can add “never make a big decision when I’m on call” or “never make a big decision when on my period.”

    No diagnosing needed – no “am I really sick enough to apply this rule?” or “is the December actually stressful this year?”

    Obviously there are times when this strategy doesn’t work but I appreciate having a few bright line rules for when I am not allowed to burn it all down. All the rest of the time is fair game 😉

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 30, 2021 at 11:37 am

      I should NEVER make any decisions during my hormonal swings (cycle AND a few days after). That is 100% dead on accurate.

    • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly September 30, 2021 at 11:50 am

      This is such a great rule! I know when I feel extremely down for no apparent reason I’m either a) dehydrated or b) getting sick but not feeling the symptoms yet.

    • Reply Amanda E. Perrin September 30, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      I leave this idea! Definitely some great rules.

    • Reply Ashley October 1, 2021 at 11:15 am

      This is so true. I need to not make decisions when I’m PMSing and definitely want to burn it all down!

  • Reply Erica S September 30, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    At the bottom of this post there are some recommended posts from your blog. One of them is called “Day 40: Halfway Point?” It’s from April. Of 2020.

    This is a hard time. What’s making it harder, I think, is that the hard time keeps going on, defying all our narratives about a bad month or season or even year. All those pandemic puppies are full-fledged dogs by now. My pandemic baby started speaking in sentences.

    Also, you have officially gotten me hooked on planners. I got the Erin Condren fall seasonal surprise box for my birthday (um, I may have ordered it myself and put it in my husband’s closet to give to me) and it has a holiday planner for Oct /Nov/Dec and I’m super excited to start filling it in… tomorrow?

    • Reply Jordan September 30, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      Wow that really hits home – we all thought this was going to be over in 2 weeks, then a month, then once we had vaccines, etc. Now that we’re entering a second Covid winter, it is so rough to handle mentally :/

  • Reply Sarah K September 30, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Seconding the How to ADHD youtuber and also check out “ADHD Dude” on facebook (he also has a membership site). His stuff is geared towards boys with ADHD but its not exclusively for them I don’t believe. Miracle Creek is so twisty and good!!! I have been having a rough time lately too and I really need a good book to escape into.

  • Reply Evi Steegmans September 30, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Sarah, you might have come across Penny Williams already. She has a podcast ‘Parenting ADHD’. I saw her co-presenting (virtually) a Parenting Autism & ADHD summit in 2020.

  • Reply Evi September 30, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Penny Williams has a podcast ‘Parenting ADHD’. I saw her co-present a summit on ‘autism & ADHD’ in 2020 and liked her.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 1, 2021 at 5:36 am

      Subscribing now!

  • Reply Ashley October 1, 2021 at 11:18 am

    My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD at the end of second grade; he’s now in middle school. ADHD Dude (Ryan Wexelblatt) has been a great resource for us as parents. He is not as warm/soft/fuzzy as some of the self-proclaimed experts, but I can tell you that his very straightforward approach has worked much better with our son. Some of the more popular parenting approaches just REALLY do not work and actively make things worse for all of us. He specializes in ADHD support for boys, although I’m sure parents of girls would benefit as well.

  • Reply Lani Inlander October 2, 2021 at 6:45 am

    Wow. Thank you so much everyone for these amazing resources! I am bookmarking this post! I second the Dr. Hallowell recommendation. I heard him on another podcast and was super impressed with his positive attitude. I’ve ordered his new book, ADHD 2.0. It is next in my cue!

  • Reply Sarah Bonnema October 2, 2021 at 9:30 am

    another vote for Dr. Hallowell. He has a wonderful strength based perspective.

  • Reply Jen Czerepinski October 3, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Dr. Russell Barkley has written many books and has a lot of useful YouTube videos if you search for his name. Multiple therapists have recommended him for ADHD resources. He is excellent!

    How to ADHD videos are good and often based off of his research as well as many others.

  • Reply Lori C October 14, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I am anticipating an ADHD diagnosis for one of my kiddos when we visit the doctor next week, and I remembered you mentioning it here on the blog so I searched for “adhd.” I found this post and I am wondering if you had any luck finding someone for the podcast? I am feeling overwhelmed, but also mildly comforted by all the great resources on this post. I am going to check out the books and podcasts mentioned. I would love to hear what experience others have had, particularly with young boys. I know nothing about ADHD but the thought of medication makes me nervous (not sure why! I am a firm believer in taking necessary medications and do myself!) Also a bit stressed about school and what supports I should ask for? I would welcome any lessons learned, or recommended books, podcasts, resources etc. from others!!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 14, 2022 at 4:02 pm

      I’m going to email you!

      • Reply Rachael March 22, 2024 at 1:03 pm

        Hi Sarah,
        I also came to the post looking for adhd as I know you had mentioned a kiddo w it. My 7 1/2 yr old diagnosed w adhd combined presentation, have known he’s had it since 2-3! His father is very against meds, I’m not as opposed but unsure where to start w anything else. Thought I would see if you could forward me whatever tips you sent above 🙂 thanks for any help!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 22, 2024 at 2:12 pm

          Hi! I don’t know what I sent, but we did medication for about 2 years. We did stop medications a few months ago because we noticed more maturity and thought it might not be needed anymore and things have been good! Lots of physical activity helps. Being in a montessori environment which features a lot more moving around than traditional school helps, too. We did have a therapist involved at one point (and also worked with a very good psychiatrist as our PCP doesn’t treat ADHD . ..) and was glad to their input.

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