We’ve all been there: searching for the ingredient you just bought for dinner only to realize that you never unpacked the groceries from the car upon returning home two hours ago, or frantically looking for your cell phone while talking to someone on your cell phone about how you can’t find your phone.
You’ve got a case of the Mom-Brain.
For some of us, Mom-Brain is a short-term affliction, with affects limited to the 24 hours following an extreme mommy-circumstance. You know, like the nights you get 0.2 hours of sleep because you gave in to requests (demands) to sleep on the floor next to your sick kid’s bed only to discover, too late, that you forgot to position yourself outside of the vomit splash-zone.
For others, Mom-Brain has morphed into more of a long-term, chronic condition, let’s call it LTMB (Long-Term Mom Brain), because, honestly, our brains’ worn out temporal lobes cannot deal with even the appearance of extra syllables today. Unlike short-term mom-brain, LTMB is not correlated with the quantity or quality of sleep you’ve had the previous night. Instead, LTMB is the result of your brain’s inability to contain the unrelenting volume of data, deadlines, events, sensory inputs, and obligations involved in raising little humans.
Although there is no cure for LTMB, I have found that you can decrease your level of concern about your symptoms by basking in the schadenfreude of hearing about the things that other equally brain-fogged moms have done. Better yet, take it a step further and get competitive with friends, seeing if you can each one-up each other’s craziest LTMB moment.
Below are 15 questions you can use to both diagnose the severity of your case of LTMB and share with friends to see who has the highest number of “Yep, I’ve done that” responses.
- Have you ever texted a friend to ask her to send your child home for dinner and have her respond that both her child and your kid have been at your house for the past several hours?
- Do your children’s annual well-check visits typically get scheduled outside of the season of their actual birthday?
- Do you then panic in the waiting room for said well-check appointment because you realize your child hasn’t bathed this week and has toenails longer, and dirtier, than a feral cat?
- Have you ever accidentally ended a phone call with your boss by saying, “Love you!” or asked your husband if he “Needs to go potty” before leaving the house?
- Have you ever celebrated getting your child to an extracurricular activity on time for the first time ever, only to discover that it’s the wrong activity….and the wrong day?
- Do you have fourteen cans of black beans (or a similar item) in your pantry because every time you go to the store you can’t remember if you have run out?
- Do you have to do the math every time someone asks you how old you are?
- Do you then have to ask them to confirm what year it is so you can do the math to figure out how old you are?
- Did you then have to count on your fingers to do the math to figure out how old you are?
- When preparing a meal in a slow cooker, do you find that you are able to either put the food into the slow cooker or turn on the slow cooker, but never both?
- Have you spent most of the day, unknowingly, walking around with a sticker “gift” from your child stuck to your butt, and then upon discovering it, got distracted by something else and forgot about it until you saw it again wadded up in the lint filter of the dryer?
- Have you ever congratulated yourself for returning the books you checked out from the local library before the due date only to discover they were the books from your kids’ school library?
- Have you ever typed a Google search into the field of a Facebook update, resulting in friends commenting, “Wow!” or “You should have a doctor look at that!” or “Has your account been hacked?”
- Have you ever preheated the oven only to re-cook a pan of roasted potatoes that has been sitting in there since you forgot about it three dinners ago?
- Did you spend most of the time reading this list thinking about all the things you have to get done by the end of the day?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, congratulations! You have Mom-Brain! And as inconvenient and disorienting as it may be to never again be able to quite remember why it was that you entered a particular room, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of being a mom.
Speaking of which, I have to go track down my kids. I think they’re somewhere around here…. or at a friend’s house…. or did I leave them at the gym childcare center again?!…. or
Susanne Kerns is a Writer and Marketing Consultant living in Austin, TX. Her stories have been featured in several parenting anthologies, including the recently released, “But Did You Die?” You can find her writing on many popular sites, including her own blogs, SusanneKerns.com and at TheDustyParachute.com. Susanne also co-produced this year’s Listen to Your Mother show in Austin.
Follow her on Facebook to see why she’s frequently featured on Today Parents’ “Funniest Parents on Facebook” round-up. She’s also on Instagram and Twitter.