Mom Brain

We all suffer from it, some more so than others.   It starts out with a feeling of fogginess and disorientation and then almost as if by the snap of the finger, I feel as if I’ve been hypnotized and suffer from some form of amnesia, at least this is how it all began for me.

It started early, in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Davey.   At that point, I blamed it on lack of sleep, which could have been a factor in feeling like I was sucked dry of all brain cells.   As the months and years rolled by, one child became two, and I found that it wasn’t just from lack of sleep.   It actually had me wondering if “mom brain” is a legitimate condition and if so, what causes it.

A couple of years ago, The Journal of Experimental and Clinical Neuropsychology examined evidence around reports of memory loss in pregnant and postpartum mothers, finding that your ability to organize and plan is disrupted during pregnancy and postpartum.   I knew it!

There can be various reasons for “mom brain” including biochemical and situational, but there are also pregnancy hormones affecting brain symmetry.  In other words, when a woman may have once been left brain dominant (logical), chemical imbalances can distort that and she could become right brain dominant (sensitive).   As we all know, most of us don’t think logically when we’re sensitive.

Most studies I’ve read have stated that moms go back to their normal cognitive functions after they stop breastfeeding.   Unfortunately for me, I seem to be in the minority of this case.   My mom brain has gotten worse as opposed to getting better and I’m going into 2 years since I last breastfed a child.

Why write about this now?   I suppose it’s because I’ve become less and less patient with myself as I continually suffer from mom brain.   What are some of the signs I experience?   Well, just last week I had an encounter with my youngest.   He told me his name was Henry, not Davey.   I knew that.   Then why did I continue to call him Davey, he asked.  I told him that he and his brother have sucked me dry of my brain cells, to which he responded with, “do you want them back?”   Yes, my son!   I would LOVE to have them back, but it appears mine are quickly dissipating, never to return especially if all of these studies I’ve been reading are true.

It’s not just that I call them by each other’s names, but I’ve also been known to call them by the dog’s name.

I have conversations with my husband.  Not unusual, I know, but most of these “conversations” I have are in my own head.   He’s at work all day, I can’t immediately talk to him about what’s on my mind, so I have the “conversation” with him and I portray how I think he will respond.   The problem with that is I completely forget that the conversation didn’t happen with a willing and participating second party.   This in turn leads to arguments of, “I told you that” and “we’ve discussed this already.”

I find myself wanting to say something, knowing in my brain what it is and how I want to say it, but it’s almost as if the spark isn’t there between my brain and my speech.   I know that’s a doorknob that’s broken, for example.  I can see it with my own two eyes, and I can see the word in my head, but I can’t for the life of me spit it out of my mouth!   I’ve never had a problem with speaking, especially speaking my mind, at least not until I had kids.

Then there’s my coffee.   My coffee intake has dramatically decreased for various reasons, but mostly because I get distracted by one of my kids and completely forget not WHERE the coffee is, but that I even HAD coffee to start with!

I lose my keys at least once a week, forget my YMCA membership card periodically, and I’ve even been known to forget to pack my son’s lunch before!   What the heck has happened to me?   Mom brain, that’s what.

I’ve even managed to sit down to write a blog and completely FORGOT what I wanted to write it on.   I lose my train of thought mid-sentence, leaving me longing for the days when I could have intelligent conversations about our country’s state of affairs, the economy, and anything NOT child related.   I no longer think logically, but have instead been reduced to a scatterbrained version of my former self.   Could I even handle it in the working world again?

I’m sure many of you have suffered from this phenomenon.   And if you’re like me, almost 5 years into being a mom, you STILL suffer from it.   Unfortunately for me, it appears I will be stuck with it for quite some time.   There have been zero signs of improvement.  On the plus side, while frustrating to me, mom brain has proven to be humorous to others.  I suppose you have to find that silver lining somewhere.


Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

Pregnancy and Its “Beauty”

Pregnancy is a crazy thing. I used to think it was beautiful and I suppose it can be depending on the day. For me, it’s elicited some things that I’m a little embarrassed about, to say the least. Obviously, not so embarrassed that I won’t share with everyone on my blog.

My first pregnancy was basically a piece of cake. I was tired a lot, but other than that things were pretty smooth. I was still working at that point as well, so all I really had to do was go sit at a desk for 8 or 9 hours a day. Not a lot of strenuous work. I actually felt beautiful during that pregnancy. Perhaps it was the fact that the majority of my pregnancy was during the summer and I was able to wear some of the cutest dresses (mostly recycled maxi dresses I was wearing pre-pregnancy). This time around, I’m having to scrounge for clothing and since I’m tall, finding pants with at least a 36 inch inseam is a bit difficult and costly. So, needless to say, I’m not feeling as hip and pretty as the last time around.

There was only one instance that was made me feel less than regal and less than feminine while I was pregnant with Davey. It was on a Thursday morning, about 7:45, and I stood in the lobby of my office, with a gaggle of other co-workers waiting patiently for an elevator to arrive. Once we were all on the elevator and it was moving, I had this uncomfortable sensation that I needed to pass gas. Normally, I would just hold it and trust me I tried, but unfortunately it snuck out. I was at the back of the elevator, as my floor was the very top. I noticed the smell slowly creep out from my back corner like a rolling poisonous fog. It began to consume individual co-workers and I watched as those who were near comatose (because they hadn’t had coffee and were still technically asleep) immediately jolt awake. Some turned around looking to see where the smell was coming from, while turning up their noses. I followed suit with them in the hopes that they didn’t know it was me. As soon as the elevator opened (not on my floor by the way), they all fell out like a bag of dominoes leaving me alone. They had to know it was me. How embarrassing.

Flash forward two and a half years and I have yet another less than ladylike moment. The only reprieve I have from this was the fact that it happened in the privacy of my own home.

Last week, I took a nap while my son was napping (might as well get in some sleep now, because it’s going to be a while before it happens again). When I awoke, Henry was treating my bladder as if it were punching bag, so I immediately took off to the bathroom. I emptied my bladder, quickly feeling like I lost 20 pounds, before walking back into the kitchen to grab myself a glass of water. Now here’s where the craziness commences. While pouring myself a glass of water at the sink, I start to feel something warm running down my leggings. What was this? I didn’t have a sensation of needing to pee. Henry wasn’t even moving around. Was this my water breaking? I look down to see just a couple of drops of water drip onto the floor from my legs.

Immediately I take off to the bathroom. I sit down on the toilet and try to pee again, but nothing! I call the doctor, go into in depth detail about what had just occurred. I answered a few questions that I found to be a bit embarrassing and then listened as the doctor told me I basically just peed on myself. Are you kidding me? I’m 38 years old, not 98! I’ve never had a bladder issue. The last time I peed on myself was when I was potting training 36 years ago.

I was mortified. I even told the doctor that. He proceeded to gracefully chuckle and tell me it’s a common occurrence and at least it didn’t happen while I was in public. True! It could have been worse, but the fact that pregnancy (particularly this one) is causing me to loose control of my bodily functions is making me feel less than beautiful.

Just this morning, after immediately peeing, I stayed seated on the toilet for a couple of seconds. There was no rush, so why not wait to see if anymore trickled out? When I figured I was in the clear, I walked out of the toilet. My son was standing at the vanity brushing his teeth. He turns around to face me right at the time I feel a sneeze coming on. When said sneeze hit, so did my newfound propensity to need to pee. In front of my son, whom I’m trying to potty train, I peed on myself. My son takes the toothbrush from his mouth while looking down at the pee on the floor and says to me, “oh no, Mama. Big boys pee pee in the potty.” He then points at the toilet before turning around to continue to brush his teeth.

And so goes the final few weeks of my pregnancy. I’m really looking forward to this one being over.