So a mom in Arizona left her baby in a shopping cart recently and now the whole world is falling apart (sarcasm). I can’t lie, upon reading the headlines, my initial reaction was super-judgy… Like, “what braindead mom could forget their newborn?”… Then I realized that while I’ve never forgotten my baby before (and hope to never experience something so tragic), I’ve had more braindead mom moments than I’d like to admit, but feel so compelled to discuss.
I’m not going to necessarily jump on the #istandwithcherish bandwagon, but I am going to totally sympathize with the terror and embarrassment that comes along with having mom-brain. Mom-brain is real, it is not a joke, and I fully understand it now.
Somewhere in my early 2nd trimester, my once multitasking, intelligent, highly capable brain began turning to mush. I’d leave my car running in the parking lot at work, leave my wallet at home while running errands and completely forget whole conversations that I’d have with coworkers, family or friends.
My husband thought it was funny- how I went from being such a type-a, control-freak multitasker, never living in the moment because I was always planning the next – to forgetting what I had eaten for breakfast and eating the same thing for lunch.
Pregnant mom-brain is like pregnancy weight gain. You know you can’t help it, but you’re sure hoping it’ll go away eventually. Everything is cuter when you have the pregnancy get-out-of-jail-free card.
My baby was born in January, I fell more in love than I could have ever imagined, and naturally all my brain could focus on was her. For the first few weeks I didn’t know which end was up, what day it was, whether or not I had showered/eaten/paid bills. And then I realized, mom-brain was here to stay.
In my last 7 months as a mom, I’ve continued to let my mushy brain make me responsible for so many ridiculous things. Things I would have been so judgy of before… driving off with my coffee on top of my car, forgetting my groceries at the store and having to return hours later to pick them up, completely missing lunch dates with friends, and most recently, locking my keys in the trunk after grocery shopping.
None of these things are as epically life-altering as forgetting your baby in a shopping cart, or worse, forgetting your baby in a sweltering hot car. But they make you realize that yes, EVERY single part of you changes when you become a mom- especially the control center of your being.
You see, my mom-brain is 100% due to the fact that at all moments of the day, I am thinking about my child. No, not always in a lovey-dovey can’t-wait-to-kiss-her way, but more along the lines of:
– what time is it and how long do I have before she needs to nap?
– did she finish all of her food at school?
– do I have enough of her food to get me through the week?
– Is this restaurant too loud for her?
– what if she misses her nap today? I am doomed?
– what if she wakes up in the middle of the night?
– what can I do to ease her teething pain?
– why does the car smell like poop again?
– where the hell did the poop go?
– how do all her socks disappear?
Add about 500 more things to that list, and you get the picture.
See, your brain no longer works for you. Your brain has been hard-wired long before you created this tiny human to live in survival mode, constantly planning, anticipating and worrying for the well-being of your child.
Pregnancy was just a test run for all of this. I totally get that now. All those moments my hubby found funny and cute are now more real than ever, only much, much scarier once your child enters the picture.
Had my baby been with me last weekend when I locked my keys in the car, she would have either been:
A) locked in the car in 100 degree weather.
B) standing in the middle of a parking lot in 100 degree weather with her hysterical mother.
We are all very lucky that she was home with daddy that day. But shit really does happen. It can happen to any mom, at any time. Not because we are bad, evil, women out to destroy our child’s lives. But because we are real, we are moms, constantly thinking on overdrive for the better of our families. And don’t get me started on the mom-brain challenges for us working moms – we have to work twice as hard to not appear as flakey as we feel.
It is NEVER okay to leave your baby in a shopping cart, Cherish… But world, it is never okay for you to peg her as a “horrible mother” because her mom-brain got the best of her that day.
There is no way around it, every mom has had her mom-brain moment here and there (and everywhere).
So for now, until they invent a magic pill for this whole mom-brain thing,