Before I forget…
I want to talk to you about “mommy brain.” And I want to do that before I forget what I have to say, as that’s basically what it’s been for me: Forgetting things and confusing things. Putting the return address where the stamp goes on an envelope. Putting baby food in the bottle and formula in a bowl meant for cereal. Almost wearing home someone else’s shoes from the baby gym…almost! Leaving the house without shoes on period. Shoe mistakes have played a large role in my mommy brain.
It’s good for the baby!
Are the changes part of an effort to adjust to the new needs and responsibilities of caring for a small, helpless person? Is it a survival thing? Does the brain reorganize to prioritize our love and protection of our children, as this article seems to indicate?
Or is it just that life changes so much? And it’s not just the key stuff of keeping the baby clean, fed, and generally healthy. It’s also the day-to-day minutiae. Figuring out how to get a baby out of a car seat into a shopping cart. Then how to get food into that shopping cart. Then how to get bags of food and that baby out of that shopping cart into the car. And of course getting him back into the house. And maybe with a large dog jumping and barking at you all the while. Parking and outside temperature also play a role in this thought process. It’s like Double Dare for parents.
So many costume changes.
Our brains did not evolve to solve the puzzle of how to hold an almost-toddler and a diaper bag and balancing on our feet while removing both of our jackets and shoes before entering a padded baby gym. Or how to deal with said jackets and their removal and re-application for car seat safety. Hunters and gatherers likely did not have to think about holding a squirming baby on a protruding, plastic counter in order to successfully change a poopy diaper before returning to a meal in a diner. Hopefully without stains on either of our clothes, or a baby costume change.
Speaking of those costume changes, the brain has to now keep a roster of items needed in the all-important diaper bag. Because there will be a costume change at some point, sooner than later probably. And the brain needs to keep a tally of the bag to know when diapers need to be replenished. It needs to know when said extra baby costumes are too small or not seasonally-appropriate. Fleece pj’s in August for the messy, down-the-leg poop at music class, anyone?
At least I’m not alone.
So it’s no wonder that the brain is not remembering other things. For example, the name of the woman I’ve talked to week after week in my exercise class. It’s too late to ask again now (“Jaime?” Is it “Jaime?”). Or the reporters who broke Watergate – thankfully, that one came to me a few minutes later: Woodward and Bernstein. It’s not as bad as forgetting other famous duos (e.g., Laverne and Shirley, Page and Plant, peanut butter and jelly). But it’s not good either. At least I’m not alone.