With my F-A-C-U-L-T-I-E-S intact. Mostly.

Let me tell you about a woman I hate envy. We are both on the board of our kids’ day care. She has a three-year-old and a four-month old. And her mind seems completely untainted by this. In the meetings she alternately sits and nurses and stands and jostles her infant, all the while making reasonable arguments about complicated questions, recalling four-digit-numbers from last month’s meeting, and correctly predicting on what date the third Tuesday of next month will fall.

Meanwhile, my youngest is two, and I’m like, What was your name again?

Tannis posted recently about how long it takes to get ‘back to normal’ after having a child (hint: longer than three months), and Moxie’s readers went off the other day about how long it takes to lose baby weight (hint: usually lots longer than six weeks).

I realize that, coming up on four and a half years into this mothering gig, the statute of limitations on I birthed half my brain out with the placenta is drawing near. But really, I don’t feel the same, and it isn’t just because of all the legos on the floor. I was never one to make eloquent contributions to meetings, but I did used to be able to remember facts fairly well. I feel much more mentally capable now than I did when my kids were the same age as Ms. Fourdigit-Numbers’s little ones (albeit a little less so now that the nighttime hat trick of teething, bed wetting, and thunderstorms is doing me in). But still. Not the same.

Is it too late to keep blaming the children? When do I have to start chalking this up to ordinary decrepitude?

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7 thoughts on “With my F-A-C-U-L-T-I-E-S intact. Mostly.

  1. Well, I never could remember numbers even before I had kids. Or proper names, for that matter. I think I know what you mean, though, these polished, together people who can think on their feet, and spin a room full of people like a top. I will never be one of them for more than a highly concentrated 45 minutes or so, and then I will need to go somewhere to recover. You don’t even want to know what I daydream about in meetings. All last year I was surrounded by chirpy moms at preschool, enthusiastically volunteering for this or that committee. It was a little sad to realize that I may not become the PTA mom I thought I’d be, but I do think there are other gifts to share with school, like hanging out with kids, or even the grunt work nobody wants to do. And then you can think about poems.

  2. I could have written this word for word. I can rememer sitting in work meetings (Health Department) before I got pregnant with my first, being able to totally talk the talk. I couldn’t wait to have the baby “so I would get my brain back”. But almost 5 years on I find myself getting frustrated half way through a sentence because the other person isn’t guessing what it is I am groping to find the words for. I just can’t find the words anymore. (Unless it is an in-depth discussion about carseats, dummies, sleep habits, picture books or fruit bars).

  3. I don’t expect to ever get back to normal. My brain will forever be slightly occupied by my children, I think.

    I am working a bit on getting some of it back. I am making a concentrated effort to write more (by HAND with an actual PEN in an actual NOTEBOOK. Gasp!) to read more and to do brain puzzles like Soduku or brain teasers.

  4. You should read The Mommy Brain, by Katherine Ellison. It isn’t a perfect book, but it does a decent job of summarizing some research that says- yeah, there are permanent changes that come with motherhood. But they aren’t all “bad”.

    My daughter is almost 2 and a half, and I never really went back to “normal” before I got pregnant again (I’m 35 weeks along so can’t really remember anything right now). I did develop some good techniques to let me fake it at work. They mostly involve writing everything down and writing myself a cheat sheet before important meetings.

  5. I’m not really a “numbers person” but can someone explain the three-month old and the four-month old? what am I missing here? How does that work?

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