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Mom's Time Out

Motherhood & Forgetfulness

Mary Angel

(12/2012) My mom used to joke, when I was old enough to understand, that children (or childbirth) caused her to lose some of her brain cells. I used to respond with the always expected, "likely excuse", followed by some reference to growing old. Well, now that I have kids of my own I actually believe there is some validity to that statement. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that childbirth has definitely affected total of my brain cells.

At the young age of forty-something I do not feel old. When I look in the mirror I donít look old (as long as I havenít gotten behind on my coloring regiment). Unless I try to wrestle with the kids or go for a walk with my one of my girlfriends (who loves a certain 3 mile walk) I donít feel old. I, of course, do have to admit that I can be found quoting my mother and grandmother more often than I care to count. So maybe I sound a little older than I would like to realize. But, my brain is a completely different story.

I am pretty sure that with each birth of each child I have gotten a little bit more forgetful, a little bit ditzy, and a little bit slower in my reasoning. Several times a day I will get up from a chair or leave a room with a definitive task in mind only to take one or two steps and forget what I am doing. I get papers from school and forget completely about them until it is too late. I have even forgotten to mail payments for bills. I cannot deny forgetting appointments, birthdays, or even anniversaries. I am absolutely positive that this has gotten progressively worse with each birth I have gone through.

I have had many moments where I canít even think of a word I am looking for and it is literally on the tip of my tongue. The other day my 13 year old was telling me about a script that his best friend had created with his help that was based on characters from their science book. In this script he claimed his best friend was trying to seduce a squirrel (or some other woodland creature). I knew for sure that he didnít mean seduce, but for the life of me I couldnít come up with the right word. It was a very lengthy conversation while he explained that his friendís character was going to give the squirrel a shot to calm him down. After some well needed silence it finally came to me and the word was "sedate". This of course led to a rather comical explanation of the meaning of seduce.

There isnít a day that goes by that I donít realize that I have misplaced something else. Today it was scrapbooking tools. I had put a lot of my tools in a bag to take them to a friendís house to teach scrapbooking for a homeschool art class. I ended up running out of time and decided to teach that at the next class. When today rolled around I couldnít find the bag. I remembered bringing it in the house and I also remembered moving it from the kitchen. I couldnít, however, remember where I took it at that point. So today when I needed it I looked in all the places I felt I might have put them. Guess what, I never found them. I do however specifically remember putting them in a place "I wouldnít lose them". The good news is when I find them I will find a bunch of other things that I put where "I wouldnít lose them"!

Luckily there are tools I have discovered that have made all of the difference in the world. Donít misunderstand, I still forget and lose everything. There are just a few areas where I have found little helpers to make things easier. The first and most important is the calendar on my phone. I put everything into my calendar and I set reminders (at least 2) for everything I put in the phone. The minute I schedule our next orthodontist appointment, I enter it into my phone and do not even bother to get the reminder paper they offer to print out. Then I set 2 reminders, one for about a day before and one for about one hour before (enough time that no matter where I am, within reason, I would be able to make it to the appointment). Today was my momís birthday and she unexpectedly called me as we were trying to get out the door to go to school. The minute I got off the phone with her my alarm went off on my phone and reminded me it was her birthday. We all called and sang happy birthday and I didnít end up with a lecture tomorrow morning for being the horrible daughter who forgot her birthday. There isnít anything too small or too big to go in my phone.

If you have a smart phone there are also sticky note apps that allow you to create digital versions of sticky notes on your phone. This is an excellent tool that I donít use nearly enough. If I did I would know where I put my scrapbooking tools. So with the birth of each child I would recommend finding more and better tools like these to help a failing mommy brain.

Suffice it to say, I am a scatterbrained mother of four who would legitimately lose her own head if it werenít attached. Someday the kids will be grown and I will declutter my house and my brain and hopefully it wonít be too late for me. But for now I will enjoy their childhood and hopefully not forget too much. Thank goodness for the technology that at least allows me to get my kids to the doctor on time!

Read other articles by Mary Angel