I’m a little bit scared. You want to know why? Because the pile of mashed potato that replaced my brain during my first pregnancy some seven years ago is still there. And this potato is not showing any signs of restoring itself to its fog-free glory days before kids, no siree; this mash is settled, and happy to stick around and enjoy the entertainment that is my maternal clumsiness.
While the science behind ‘baby brain’ in women is still yet to be properly pinned down, many a mum will attest to its existence, and not just throughout pregnancy and the early days with a newborn, but well down the path of motherhood – beyond the nappies and mashed carrots.
Think you might be a candidate for maternal brain-fuzz as well? Here are some sure signs you’re in the club:
You constantly talk to yourself
All day, wherever you go: the chemist, the library, as you tidy, as you cook. Thankfully the supermarket is something of a safe-zone for self-mutterings as it’s full of other mums experiencing the same repercussions of motherhood.
You clap and make big eyes at anything remotely exciting
Be it your child’s attempt at tap dancing or cheap petrol, this becomes the natural reaction to general good news and happy events, much to the amusement of onlookers who clearly aren’t parents.
You put things in stupid places
You put the milk in the pantry, the car keys in the dishwasher (true story) – even worse, you put yourself in a cubby house you simply do not fit in and risk pulling a muscle to get out of again.
When I look for my cell phone, I always check the fridge. Because that's happened.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) May 29, 2016
You are highly sensitive and cry at the drop of a hat
Movies involving violence and war become something your husband has to watch on his own. The evening news is a no-go zone, and newborns send your tear ducts into overdrive.
You speak “kid” most of the time
“Goodnight, Punky-pie, don’t forget to go wee wees before nigh nighs.”
Your long-term memory seems to be broken
You can remember library day, lunch order day, swimming day, gymnastics day, the art teacher’s birthday, but you cannot remember how old you are without stopping to think for a while.
You can’t make a decision
And in fairness, this is often due to the wrath that the wrong decision might incur on the part of your children. “You bought me green shoes? Green is the colour of snot, Mum!”
Other times, choosing what to cook for dinner can take three cups of tea and an hour scouring recipes online to decide.
All ‘round forgetfulness
Like returning to the same room three times before remembering what on earth you went there for. Or, starting a sentence only to have it evaporate from your mind, never to return.
Make no bones about it, we mums aren’t perfect. But, while we may be forgetful, emotional and not quite up to reading Dostoyevsky in those extremely rare moments of peace and quiet, we probably should cut our baby brains some slack. Not only is raising kids an all-consuming job, it’s also the most important job. Russian literature can wait.
(Sorry if I’ve put you off mashed potato. My bad.)