The Real Struggle of Mom Brain
Mom brain is so real. I didn't always believe in it, though. I remember being single at a time when it seemed as though every woman in my life had kids, and I would listen to them talk about their "mom brains." My ears filtered the words as "big excuse for being lazy and forgetful." Not fair, but true.
I wondered how life could be so different just by adding an adorable small human into it, that you would just stop holding yourself accountable and responsible for, well, anything.
Then I got pregnant. Soon thereafter I found a phone chip in the refrigerator. I, to this day, do not know where said phone chip came from or how it made its way into the fridge. And then I started to get it. And I started to worry about what was coming, and rightly so; the forgetfulness and sometimes downright-checking-out only gets worse as your pregnancy wages on, and worse yet after the little sucker is born. Now, I find myself using "mom brain" as an excuse about 300 times per week.
I read dear friends' emails and either mentally respond, or worse yet get distracted before the "Love, me" sign-off only to remember two weeks later (usually when wondering what said friend thought about my response) that I never wrote back (I just realized that I need a mind-reading dictation app).
I nod, "yes, honey" when my Love asks me to pick up this or that at Duane Reade, or to order something for the house, but could not tell you an hour later what he requested.
I take note of voicemails or texts, but may take days to stumble back upon them and respond.
The list goes on. And only gets uglier.
I have, perhaps, taken on way too much. I've you've site-stalked, you know that I accepted the privilege of SAHM-hood last year. But my overactive brain just started doing things. Like starting a blog, then taking a little responsibility back on at ADC, which grew into a near-full time position that I attempt to fulfill on a part-time availability (read: early AM's, naptime and post-baby bedtime). So maybe I've made it this manic. But mom brain operates on a sliding scale, it doesn't ever go away.
I used the "mom brain" excuse with a younger gal in my old/new/current office this week. I can't help but immediately imagine what she's thinking about me and my excuses (as she kindly says, "Don't worry!"), and worry that it likely resembles what I used to think. Then I spend a few minutes caring about what she thinks, until I remember that she will possibly have kids someday and then she, too, will get it. Sometimes the 'getting it' cannot happen a moment sooner than when a woman becomes a mom (yes, the moment of conception).
Plus I can't remember to care about what she, or anyone else, thinks for very long before life distracts me with the next calamity.
But as a woman who had a strong female mentor in the early stages of my career, I care what younger women think because I am very conscious to (attempt to) be a strong female mentor myself. That's where it gets tricky.
Do I present the facade that most do, which is to pretend that basic life isn't as blisteringly hard for a mom (any kind of mom, a stay-at-home-mom, a working mom, a part-time SAHM/working mom, or my personal favorite sanity-busting combination: the stay-at-home full-time-working mom) as it actually is, and murder myself to get it all done without offering any excuses when it all goes awry (which it does on a near-daily basis)?
Or do I woman-up and recognize that an "excuse" is actually an attempt at an explanation? A sometimes inescapable reveal of reality. A peek behind the curtain. A small hand desperately waving above the waves to say, "I'm trying as goddamned hard as I can to accomplish a Herculean task here, please forgive my small indiscretions like having no recollection whatsoever that you sent me that email." Do I show the younger women in my life a realistic model of what it looks like to try to do it all, and to sometimes rock it out hard, sometimes fail miserably (and it seems, always publicly) but most often landing somewhere in the middle? I tend to err on this side, if only sometimes by default.
But I don't know the right answer, to be honest (I'd love to hear other mama's experiences and opinions below), All I know is that the struggle is real.
Where are my keys?