What is it about becoming a mom that makes you lose your ability to keep it together? Okay, I’ll be fair. It may just be me. Nope. It’s a lot of you. I know this. Because you’ve told me, or I see you trying to fake it. Even more comforting are those that don’t even try to hide it. Then there are those that actually DO have it all together, never seem frazzled, and make it look easy. I hate them. No I don’t. This describes my awesome friend Lori, and she’s very nice about the fact that she gets it all done in a day, without looking like she’s lost her mind. But I am no longer her, and I want to know why. So I thought I’d look back and figure out where it was that I lost the ability to think and do anything at the same time. You know, got mommy brain.
Are we destined for mommy brain?
I wasn’t always “flighty”, by any means. If you read my About Me page, you may remember that I used to be (well, I’m claiming that I was) fairly smart, and now I get out of the shower having shaved only one leg because 2 was apparently too many to keep track of. By my twenties, I could still feel that I was armed in a battle of wits, but memory was sliding. I blamed this on recreationally killing brain cells when I was younger. I was even able to make it through college while working a job and a half, planning my first wedding, and buying and partially remodeling a house. In my thirties, the fog was really settling in. I had horrible blood sugar control for the first half of that decade, so that explained some of it. I spent the entire second half of my thirties, and the first couple years of my forties, pregnant and nursing. Hormones can wreak havoc on the brain!
So far, plenty of good (although not always legal) reasons for brain slippage. But why is this so connected to how my day operates? Why am I finding it harder and harder to function as not just a mother and unpaid housekeeper, but as a gosh darn human being? And am I the only one feeling their grasp slipping so far out of reach? Is “mommy brain” a real thing? And what in the world brought this up? Sure, you may not care what’s behind the ideas for my posts, but sometimes I feel like I want to take you on the full ride.
What’s with the pants?
I was in the van on my way somewhere important. Or not important at all. It’s hard to tell, and depends on who you ask. The key point is that I was frazzled, as always, because I thought I would be late – I NEVER used to be late! I was driving away from the house as I went over the checklist in my head, making sure I had everything I needed. The checklist ideally should be done before leaving the house, but again, times have changed. I had my keys,obviously, even though for a moment I was unsure. Wallet in purse? Pretty sure I hadn’t taken it out for anything. Blood tester and glucose or candy in case of a low? Yes. Chapstick? Never leave home without one in every pocket or compartment. Normal shoes on instead of the horrible old slip-ons that have the back smushed down that sit just outside the door to house from garage in case I need to step out for a second and we don’t wear shoes in the house and I’ve left one too many times in these – grocery store, church, and family outings? I realized I didn’t even need to look down, I would have had to put regular shoes on, because the crappy shoes were drying out back. I had been watering plants in the front yard before leaving and accidentally hosed everything from the waist down. The shoes went out back, and I had to get out of my socks and pants and OH MY GOD am I even wearing pants? Frightful half a second while I glanced down, because I realized right there that if I had actually left the house without pants on, I was throwing in the towel. I give up. Somebody else can have this mom job of mine, because I can’t even keep myself clothed! Thankfully, I had them on, and made a mental note that maybe I should carry a spare pair in the trunk. Along with some shoes, a bra (missed that one more times than I’d like to admit), and my life-saving, you know, chapstick.
Will I ever be smart again?
So I had a plan (that I just remembered now, by the way, so mission un-accomplished <— I think I just found the title to my memoirs) for travel. But what about all the rest that feels like it’s constantly falling apart? I used to have a fairly immaculate house. Now, when I give it the white glove test (I’m a bitch of a boss), I always feel like firing myself. I have sympathy cards and thank you notes that sit in my outgoing file for a month. I stopped finding the joke funny about stay-at-home moms not getting a shower every day about 5 years ago, when it became the norm. Where did I lose it? Do all of us lose it at the same age, same schedule, same number of kids? That’s it! Baby #4. My point of no return. When now the house is clean once a day for a total of 10 minutes and if you miss it, we’re slobs. When if a bill is not on auto-pay (damn you whoever doesn’t offer that!) I may be a day late. And a dollar short, as the saying goes, because I didn’t have time to update the budget. When weekly craft day for the kids becomes monthly, or less. When my van is always in a state of needing to be washed. When the kids are reminding me that they showed me the hole in their stuffed animal that needs to be sewn 3 weeks ago. When I started feeling like a slacker. And it’s all down-hill from here. The kids after-school activities will increase. I will have 4 teenagers to get to practices, games, and jobs (Jackpot will be helping, of course!). This blog will have blown up and be taking 40 hours a week to maintain. Right. Here’s hoping!
Do I just accept it?
Looks like this is my life. My wonderful, crazy, spending way too much time cuddling with my kids life. Maybe I’ll just lower my expectations of myself. Wait. Did I just meet me? But I need to try harder to try less, if that makes sense. Fewer worries about if my house is clean to my standards. Fewer worries if I have a stack of paperwork waiting on me. (Just so you know, now I’m hyper-ventilating.) I’ve obviously already let go of my appearance. I could seriously stand to get in a fight with some hair dye right now. I should be able to let other things slip a little, right? Concentrate on what’s important. I check on four heartbeats every night before I go to bed. Let that be all that matters.
I had some good therapy for my mommy brain over the last couple of days. Moms standing around talking about losing their wallets, friends saying they,too, are sometimes getting out the door at the last minute, yelling at kids to get their shoes on. I’m not alone. I go to a support group. It’s called school pick-up. Thank you, friends. 🙂
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