Wednesday, June 02, 2010

If I only had a brain..

"This is one thing they forget to mention in most child-rearing books, that at times you will just lose your mind. Period. "

- Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Once upon a time, I had a Brain.

It was a good Brain. It thought interesting thoughts, and it thought them from beginning to end, mostly without interruption. It got me through college, despite being challenged by too much Bud Light and not enough sleep.

The Brain was a curious organ. It asked lots of questions, and noticed that all kinds of people would tell it random things. So the Brain helped me find my way as a journalist. The Brain allowed me to write, and people hired me to do just that. The Brain did its job. Together, we were on our way.

Now, the Brain occasionally got overruled by other organs. The Heart, for one. And another one that's, well, Down Lower. This was never a good thing. The Heart would get injured, broken, even, and try to take it out on the Brain. But the Brain would simply say, "I told you so." Because really? The Brain? Never wrong. 

One time, the Brain and the Heart got together. They got together and said, "This is the One."

And so I married my husband. Then the Brain, the Heart, and the one Down Lower got together and, well, I got pregnant. I then noticed the Brain didn't always fire immediately. I'd forget some things. I heard tell of Pregnancy Brain, that your brain does, in fact, shrink when you're pregnant. But I knew it was still there. It would bounce back and we'd be just fine.

I was sure everything was fine between my Brain and I until I actually gave birth. Because suddenly, I was the stupidest person on the planet. Words? Those things you use to form sentences? Couldn't think of them. It was charades, all the time.

Then I had my second child and I realized that, yes, I actually COULD be even dumber than I was before. So it was no surprise that after the birth of my third, brushing my teeth became fascinating. It was stimulating my teeth, which are close to my Brain, right?

My Brain now became Mommy Brain. It wasn't pretty. Sure, the Heart was thrilled. Thrilled! The Brain? Not so much.

Anne Lamott wrote something about how when a baby is born it comes out clutching 1/3 of your Brain. Considering I've had three, where does this leave me? I'd do the math, but it's a bit over my head.

Sometimes I have a glimmer of my old Brain. I walk into a room and remember why. I go to the store and actually buy what I went there for.  I figure out how to assemble my baby's wagon. I answer my kindergartener's question - correctly! - on how our circulatory system works.

I turn a phrase.

But then I forget to put my son's homework in his folder. I can't find the new pair of tights I bought for Sage's dance class, which I've also forgotten to re-register her for. The baby? I haven't left him anywhere. Yet.

My Brain is still there. I know it is. It's just overworked. Overwhelmed. In need of Omega-3.

I promise to do better. I know there's only so much Elmo and My Little Pony and Bob Books you can take. I need to do the crossword puzzles every day. Start listening to NPR. I vow to get more fresh air, more exercise. Brain? I really, really need you.

I miss you, old friend. I miss you.

Mama's Losin' It

This post is part of Mama Kat's writing workshop. The prompt was: “What did you once lose? Write about your search to find it again.”


Momfluential said...

I really wanted to say something. Wait. It's on the tip of my tongue. It's... oh nevermind. Four kids here. I've clearly suffered a lobotomy. But you, you're still awesome.

kris said...

I am so happy to hear that others suffer from mommmy-brain, because I am afraid sometimes that I am going crazy. A word lost, an appointment forgotten, things left undone. It's very stressful and annoying.

I used to be on top of EVERYTHING.

And now? I am buried by the everything.


Corinne Cunningham said...

I love this. LOVE it! It's so true!!! I remember reading that bit by Anne Lamott and thinking she was so onto something ;)

Carole Thorpe said...

My theory on it? The placenta is made of grey matter (brain tissue) and when we moms push out the placenta...well, you know what happens! Annnnd, I did that FOUR times. It explains a lot about why my favorite thing to mutter in a post-mental-pausal, low-estrogen, brain fog is: a mind is a terrible thing to lose...because it takes one to find one!

KLZ said...

The mind is a terrible thing to...what was I saying?

Did some already make this joke? I can't tell.

TravelMommy said...

Great take on this topic! I feel sometimes that me kid has taken my brain too, especially when I can't find my keys or when I realize that those sunglasses I have been fretting over losing are actually on my head.

But that's why we write, no? To regain some sort of sense that we still have it. And you are a beautiful writer, so no worries. You still got it!

Dumb Mom said...

See? This is exactly how I got to be Dumb Mom. I was born this way, I swear it. I was born different. Better. More smarter and junk. Now, I'm just dumb. At least in comparison to the three evil geniuses ruling my house and my mind. I can't be expected to outsmart them on my reduced brain power. Which is why I've given up trying. I've moved along to trickery and magic at this point. I'll let you know how it works.

Alexandra said...

Oh, let me get in line with the others behind you...before I forget what it is I'm in line for....

Anne Lamott is one of my favorites, too.

TKW said...

God, my brain has GOT to look like a hunk of swiss cheese, I've gotten so dotty. I miss mine, too. Maybe your brain and my brain are on a beach in Aruba, sipping margaritas?

Anonymous said...

Brains are totally fair weather friends, the bastards!

caroline said...

Cheryl, LOVE this! What happens when one has given birth to 4 kids, the math equation isn't looking good for me. I am loving all of your great writing, glad I reconnected with your blog.

Cheryl D. said...

I can so relate to this post! I used to be smart, really! Now, I'd forget my head if it weren't attached to my body. It is attached, right? And I've only had 1 kid. Yikes!

Diapers and Divas said...

Thank God you guys understand this mommy brain thing because half the time Hubby just thinks I'm off my rocker. I'll tell him the same story 5 minutes later. I totally forgot I just told him. He looks at me like I'm an alien.

Good to know that the more kids we have the less brain I'll have...I'll keep that in mind...if I can find it.

Anonymous said...

OMG, so dead on, it isn't even funny. I had a brain once too. I miss it.

Kim said...

Your brain posted last week's entry in this week's submission.

You have proved your point - Mommy Brain does exist!

I'm here to tell you that your brain does return to normal as your children gain more independence, so don't give up.

One Photo said...

Love it! As a severe sufferer from Momnesia after just one child I can't imagine what having three children does to submerge the brain. Because that's what I believe happens, the brain is still all there, not birthed with your children, but all the minutia of mommydom submerge the brain under a multitude of tasks, sleep deprivation, hormonal wreckage and more.

I am just wondering, how long does it take for the brain to fight it's way back to the surface of all this detritus because I really do miss mine :-)

Anonymous said...

"I'd do the math but it's a bit over my head." So, so perfectly true. This was brilliant.

hezro said...

I love, love, love this post. I often lament the loss of my brain. And hey, I've got four kids so I'm in the red now. *sigh*

cheri said...

i miss my brain, too. i have to come up with so many lists, just in case i forget something...

from mama kat's :)

Mommyfriend Lori said...

Totally! I used to be smart, err smarter before I had kids. Now I'm so busy keeping track of everyone's shoes and Leggo pieces I can hardly construct a sentence. My kids are getting smarter and I'm, well, not.

Cheryl said...

Ciaran - Even without half your brain, you're still brilliant!

Kris - We are ALL buried. All of us.

Corinne - I just love Anne Lamott! She says what I'm thinking - only so much better!

Carole - Thankfully your brain was around when I needed it most!

KLZ - I don't think so. But maybe. Wait. Does this involve, like reading?

TravelMommy - Aw, thanks! And yes, I've run frantically through the house, looking for my sunglasses, which were on top of my head the whole time!

PBD - Oooh...trickery and're definitely on to something there!

Empress - Are we in line? What's a line? Did you say a loon? What? And yes, Anne Lamott ROCKS

TKW - Lovely idea, the Brains sipping drinks w/ umbrellas in them on the beach in Aruba..perhaps we should go join them?

Mombshells - Yes! When the going gets tough, the Brains go, well, to Aruba!

Caroline - SO glad you're back!!

Cheryl - Most days, the Brain is attached. Not that you'd know it, of course.

D&D - You need to train the hubs better. Tell him to smile and nod. Smile and nod.

Tonya - I sob from missing my Brain.

JFC - OMG! I had NO idea I did that until your post! DOH! See? I'll do anything to prove a point!

AM - I'm figuring my Brain will reappear moments before it decides to hit me with Senior Moments.

Tellmeastory - In full disclosure, that problem was over my head even when I HAD a Brain.

Hezro - You are SO in the red! How are you even functioning? ;)

Cheri - I'd make a list, but then I'd lose it.

Lori - I know! It's not "are you smarter than a fifth grader" at this point. It's "are you smarter than your toddler."

ericka @ alabaster cow said...

i miss my brain, too.

it was a very pretty brain.

sometimes i dressed it in bows.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post. I should send you one of my favorite coffee mugs I've gotten since becoming a mom. It has my 3 Childrens pictures on the front, and proudly proclaims on the back "Of all the things I've ever lost, I miss my mind the most"

p.s. - Got here from Mama Kat's

Michelle said...

I'm still searching, too. This post though? I LOVE it. Absolutely love it. And I can't come up with any other words right now.

Megan said...

Mommy Brain - it's the worst. I wonder if I could get a discount on repaying my student loans because of it. I shouldn't have to pay all that back now that half my brain is missing.

AiringMyLaundry said...

I miss my brain too.

I never seem to remember anything and when people talk about politics, my main contribution seems to be to nod dumbly along.

Varda said...

Wow that post hit a nerve with a lot of us. Mommy brain is real. I think chronic sleep deprivation is part of it. Wait, I'm writing this at 2 am - oops, I forgot to go to bed. Oh, well, I just have a meeting tomorrow AM with my son's principal about the School Leadership Team's bylaws revision, I won't need my brain for that...Doh, I will, better get to sleep. 'night.

Cheryl said...

Ericka - I think your brain is clearly prettier than mine. Sigh.

OCM - Good idea to have the kids picture on the mug, in case you forget who they are..

Michelle - Thank you! Words. They're tough, especially with no brain!

Megan - Yes. You should for sure get a refund. Or something.

Varda - I have for sure looked at the clock and wondering how it could have gotten so late when all I was doing was reading blogs...for four hours..

WW - My main contribution to anything these days is smiling and nodding.

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