Debra Carpenter: Mom-brain

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart person. I hardly ever have to add or subtract small numbers on my fingers (okay, that’s a lie) and I’m proud to say I haven’t turned left at a red light in a very long time. But ever since I became a mom almost 4 years ago, I have suffered from a condition that leaves you perpetually confused, stressed out, and somewhat loopy: mom-brain.
May 13, 2014
Debra Carpenter, Mother Interrupted

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart person. I hardly ever have to add or subtract small numbers on my fingers (okay, that’s a lie) and I’m proud to say I haven’t turned left at a red light in a very long time. But ever since I became a mom almost 4 years ago, I have suffered from a condition that leaves you perpetually confused, stressed out, and somewhat loopy: mom-brain. 

Mom-brain can happen to anyone, even dads and aunts and people with no connection to children whatsoever, but it usually affects mothers. That could be because mothers have large amounts of relatively useless information clogging up their hard-working brains, like where the remote is located and why it’s important to separate whites from darks in the laundry. It could also be due to the lack of a good night’s rest or uninterrupted shower within recent memory, but who’s keeping track?

My favorite part of suffering from mom-brain is using it as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. Oh, I forgot about your birthday—for the third year in a row? Forgive me, I’ve got mom-brain. Oh my gosh, did I just skip to the front of the very long line? Sorry, mom-brain clouds my judgment. And why yes, I’m taking a nap in the middle of the day shamelessly - I’m just stressed out and a little tired from going to college full time, being a mom, and working part time. Mom-brain strikes again! 

This slightly serious condition usually resolves itself within about 18 years, or whenever the last child (we call them “stragglers”) leaves the house. Since that is a long time from now for me, I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that my brain function just isn’t like it used to be. Granted, that could be because I’ve probably lost IQ points from watching so many children’s shows (“Friendship is magic!”) or because I’ve been in school too long. 

Being a mom has taught me that sometimes, life should be about having fun and spending time with those you love, something that I am blessed to take part in every day. Suffering from mom-brain isn’t all that bad - if being a mom and focusing on my daughter means running late every now and then or putting the milk in the cereal cabinet once a week (at minimum), then I’m okay with that - as long as I don’t turn left on red again. 

Plus, there’s always one day per year that I can count on for some relaxation and meals cooked by people that are not me: Mother’s Day! I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I did mine. I’m sure the massage gift certificate you sent me just got lost in the mail - or maybe you have mom-brain too! 

Debra Carpenter, a Lebanon native, is a novice mother, wife, and college student. She writes a weekly column on the comedy of motherhood and blogs for The Huffington Post. She’s online at MotherInterrupted.com and Twitter @interrupted_ma.

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