I once credited myself for being very organized and good at remembering things. It was seldom that I forgot a task, or something slipped through the cracks. But if I can be completely honest, I find that I struggle with maintaining that great memory, or being organized now that I am a mother. Or as some would call it, a case of the mommy brain.
I’ve heard of mommy brain before, and thought to myself, there’s no such thing. Is that the best excuse you got? If only I could go back to my younger self and shake a bit of sense into me.
Mommy brain is recognized as being foggy or confused those first few months after having baby. You tend to misplace or forget things more often than usual. However, I am learning that mommy brain can extend past the early months of giving birth. I have friends with four year old’s that have confessed that mommy brain is just as real for them too.
Truth is, mommy brain isn’t a bad thing. It’s simply having a lot on your plate. Things become fuzzy when you’re trying to juggle oranges with one hand and participate in the never ending hunt for your child’s shoes. Mommy brain hit me hard when I returned to work from maternity leave. I went from being home with my son for three months, to jumping back into the swing of constant emails and a loaded voicemail box. I felt like I was all over the place.
There was one morning I was preparing to leave for work. As I got into my car, I realized that I couldn’t find my car keys. The panic began to set in when thirty minutes had passed and my keys were nowhere to be found. I checked my usual hiding places like the kitchen counter, dining room table, nightstand, and even the laundry room. Nothing. My immediate thought was that maybe my husband moved them.
I went to wake my husband, asking if he had seen my keys. I had hoped that he would say he knew exactly where they were. Instead, his response with eyes half opened was, “Babe, what’s that hanging from your pocket?” Oh, behold! There they were. I had forgotten so quickly that I placed my keys in my pocket to carry my packed lunch. Now, that doesn’t sound like the same person I mentioned from earlier, huh?
I’m a first time mom, and caring for my son consumes so much of my focus that anything beneath it does not stick. I am ALWAYS thinking about what I need to do for my family. My mind is constantly running, to the point where the days seem like a blur sometimes. With time, I have learned some tricks that have helped with handling mommy brain.
My mommy brain tricks
Write Everything Down
Sticky notes are my best friend. I always keep them nearby so that I can jot down any notes that will help to remember what needs to be done. If I don’t write it down, most likely I will forget it. Dates, names, and times are all victims of being forgotten. Therefore, I have added a note to remember it. Once I’ve completed this note, I can happily scratch it off.
Do One Thing At a Time
This one is hard. Being a parent often means juggling multiple tasks at once. Sometimes, it’s the only way things can get done. For me, I’ve found that I tend to become scattered when I take this approach. I prioritize my day so that I can clearly focus on each task. It’s helped to eliminate confusion and has reduced the mishaps of using sugar instead of salt in that night’s dinner.
Get A Good Night’s Rest
This is easier said than done, but a good night’s rest helps to keep your brain fresh. My husband and I had to find ways to ensure that we both got sleep during those first few months. We took turns putting our son to sleep, or if he happened to wake up throughout the night. Even a cat nap has helped to get my mind cleared.
Find Your Zen
Everyone has a place or time of the day that is the most calming. It allows their mind to wander freely without interruption. For me, I like to do this in the shower. This is my happy place and helps me to think things through. I can even set a mental reminder of what to expect within my day, or simply to reflect on what happened the previous day. It’s relaxing and has helped to eliminate feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed.