It starts during pregnancy, then extends to the zombie newborn phase of moms. “Mom Brain”. It’s the explanation for many a thing.
- Clothes inside out
- unwashed hair, body, clothes
- forgetting others exist around you
- inability to ______ (fill it in)
- lost keys/phone/3rd child
- unfamiliar face in the mirror
The thing with those scenarios is that it is implied once the baby is no longer nursing/diapering/toddling you get your brain back.
Spoiler: You don’t. Not fully.
Your brain is now and forever a Mom Brain. It wakes you up in the middle of the night to remind you of an article of clothing that needs to be washed and prepped for three weeks from now. It reminds you during sex that the pediatrician appointment is tomorrow. It wakes you up to let you know you should probably go check your third graders breathing. Did I buy milk? How much is in the kids’ lunch account? Did I reply to that teacher? Oh shit, birthday party. Gotta get a gift…. what do you get another child?
Single moms, I can’t even imagine the brain cell overload you deal with so I wont. I can only speak from my own 2nd wife scenario.
So my husband arrives tomorrow from a month-long business trip in another country.
I do not measure that in days. That is too simple. This particular month has been:
- taking down Christmas decorations
- 2 3-day weekends
- 2 weeks of croup
- 3 dentist appointments
- 1 sick bird
- 1 report card
- 10 swim lessons
- 1 urgent care visit
- 2 pediatric appointments
- 4 trumpet lessons
Just a rough outline.
By the time the kids go to bed and all the peaceful playing, sibling bickering, dinner fighting, dishes, animals medicated and fed, stories, teeth brushing is done I am wiped out. Like done. Wiped. Finito.
Mom brain ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s a cinch. Other times it’s maxed the F-K out. Today I’m somewhere in the middle. Walking has helped, but let’s face it. It’s not an hour massage. It’s a 30 – 40 minute walk outside in frigid cold (30-40 degrees) and sweat. Today I’m still recovering from my 5k walk from last weekend. My hips have been threatening to separate from my thighs and just leave them behind. I walked briefly this morning because I knew I’d be at the Y tonight for a class my daughter really loves going to. While she’s there, I walk on the treadmill. Tonight, however, despite my best efforts, the small push I had to get it done was challenged one too many times.
First off, the only treadmill available was in front of a window. Great, right? Wrong. At night it’s just a giant mirror. Nobody needs to see themselves fighting to stay on a treadmill. I don’t need to hyper analyze myself while simultaneously trying to look like a coordinated rhinoceros on a moving platform.
Second, the super complicated over-specialized programs you can choose on the machines is distracting. I set a time limit for myself – 30 minutes – and tried to focus on anything BUT the reflection taunting me and daring me to stop. I had nothing to distract me except a slowly moving clock beside the window. During my “Monterey Bay Walk” along a pixelated coast I noticed the treadmill dipping now and then. Seriously, like I walked over a pothole or something. I just kept going. “Don’t fall for the distraction… keep going.”
At the 16 minute mark, the treadmill shut down. Workout over.
Did I push start again? No. I packed my shit up, found a chair and started watching Fyre on Netflix while I killed 40 minutes to get the kids from their class.
We got home and it was time for bed for everyone. I have no more planned fun activities or surprise destinations or sensory ideas or playdate set ups for anyone. We’re just trying to make it to the husband coming home where my kids will get to trade a worn out, wrung out Mom for a jet-lagged, impatient and exhausted Dad.
At least we aren’t snowed in!