Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mom Brain

Leftover picture from summer vacation....seems like a lifetime ago, but it's been less than two weeks.

Ever since I became a mother, I've complained about "mom brain."  Among mothers, the term needs no explanation.  We get it.  We understand it.  We give each other grace and understanding because of it. 

We know that the minute the pregnancy test registered positive, tiny brain cells fell out of our skull causing ordinary tasks to be forgotten and past knowledge (like the square root of 20 or the capital of Argentina) to stump us.  We have a pass when we forget to pick up a child from school or pack a lunch with only chips.  We're not expected to win Jeopardy (until the kids leave the house).

 And for those of us blessed enough to have more than one child, the "mom brain" phenomena rises exponentially with our number of offsprings.

What I've come to realize is that brain cells aren't lost upon becoming a mother.  Instead, I believe our finite supply of brain cells are used in other ways and the information we previously stored within the confines of our skull gets pushed back to the far recesses of our brain by other "mommy" knowledge.

I'm no doctor.

This is just a theory.

Let me explain.

Last week we returned to school.  For the three months prior, my brain was in summer mode.  The extent of my summer cerebral activity consisted of knowing the direction to the pool and how to pack for summer camp.

Then came the first day of school.  I was immediately thrust back into school mode and forced to retrieve the information that used to dominate my every waking thought.  

It was imperative that I remember each child's lunch box.  (Each one is blue, but they are different, or so my boys say.)  

Then, I had to recall what each child wants for lunch.  (Cooper wants peanut butter AND jelly.  Connor prefers ham with Colby⎯and only Colby cheese.  Caleb wants the same thing every day.  Don't try and change it.  Collin doesn't care and will probably not eat anything for lunch anyway.)  Remember the restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally when she creates the intricate lunch order.  Welcome to my world.  

And I have to store so much more information, like:

Some children want more time to wake up.  Some thrive on rushing around in the morning.

Some won't wear socks (or underwear!), unless forced.

Some wear only jeans.  Others will wear sweatpants until the day they die.

Some want you to eat lunch with them.  Others would rather die (while wearing their sweatpants).

Some want to talk about their day.  Other will chat, if forced (or coerced by a particularly decadent snack).

Some will do homework willingly. Others will do homework, if forced (or coerced by something even greater than a particularly decadent snack).

Some want to chill at night.  Others want to flutter around the neighborhood.

Some value hygiene and willingly shower in the evening.  Others don't see the need.  (True story: Last night one child stepped on dog poo with bare feet.  He still questioned the need for a shower.  I've got my work cut out for me!)

Some appreciate an early bedtime.  Others crave the nightlife.

I retain all of this information in my little skull.  I remember this, that, and the other about four separate sons.  The price of keeping all the information relevant is that other tidbits of knowledge pack up and vacate (or become buried under the weight of everything else).

And so, that's why I may remember what jelly my son wants on his toast, but probably won't remember to pick him up from school.

(And don't bother to quiz me on the capital of Alaska.)

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