Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mommy Brain

Sometimes I just have one of those days when the sleep deprivation and seemingly endless list of things to do just makes me feel a little, um, stupid. Well, okay realistically I probably have those days most of the time. Or maybe every day. But today I have been especially moronic I think. I am amazed by how forgetful I can be now. This started when I was pregnant. The psychological research has actually identified "Pregnancy Brain" as a real phenomenon where pregnant women get more dumb. Their brains actually shrink a bit (listen to me saying "they" as if this didn't happen to me too). However, the research also showed that this dummy phase is supposed to be just that, a phase, lasting only until shortly after the pregnancy is over. Evolutionarily speaking, it wouldn't make sense to have a bunch of stupid chicks running around trying to raise babies, right? So, the Pregnancy Brain is supposed to resolve after the baby is born, and women have actually been shown to perform better on certain tasks after "recovering" from it. So, even though being pregnant makes us gals temporarily ditsy, we are supposed to come out of the deal even smarter and sharper than we were before. So how come I nearly walked out of the house with mismatched shoes on today? I was very close to going to a meeting with one brown and one black shoe on. It is only the fact that these shoes, though similar in style, have a slightly different shape and heel height on them such that I looked down to see what the problem was when my feet felt different, that saved me from this error. And though my daughter was dressed impeccably in an adorable outfit, with everything she could ever possibly need carefully packed in her beautiful diaper bag and enough warmth on her body to protect her in an arctic blizzard, I proceeded to leave the house without a coat on. Not even a sweater or fully long-sleeved shirt. I live in Wisconsin and it's getting cold here!

I think the psychological research failed to mention that Pregnancy Brain segues directly into "Mommy Brain". So, although women may perform better on some tasks after giving birth, a permanent condition of semi-frazzledness persists that will never go away (okay, maybe after putting kids through college, but by then dementia is setting in anyway). This condition leads to increased forgetfulness and selective stupidity. However, there are also the areas where the Mommy Brain is a finely tuned instrument, capable of executing amazing feats, like the above mentioned ability to remember every single thing that needs to be in the diaper bag while simultaneously forgetting my coat. Or having the sixth-sense ability to just know that your child is about to put something in her mouth that you really don't want her to have in her mouth, and looking just in time to prevent this thing from entering her mouth. Or being able to keep nursing, naps, meals and bedtime perfectly on schedule, but not being able to fit in a shower or remember to call for an oil change (oh, that reminds me!). I could go on and on, but you know what I mean. Now, I really do have to go schedule that oil change before I forget again. . .

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