Mommy Brain Phenomenon in Working Parents
I was in a meeting yesterday with a colleague who had just returned from maternity leave that day. At one point she asked a question that had been answered ten minutes earlier by someone else in the meeting. We all acknowledged it with a laugh and several references to “Mommy Brain.” We all related. Even the men in the room. We were all parents — one a dad of infant twins and a toddler. We all know how it goes, and you don’t have to have a newborn to know what it’s like. For me, it’s my Kindergartener, and not my toddler, who has been both keeping me up at night and taxing my brain. Those with older children warn us we ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until our kids are tweens. Or teens. Or young adults.
Why is it so hard to keep everything straight? Because you can only connect so many dots before they no longer seem to make one cohesive picture. A quick look at a recent page of notes on my desk tells the story. It has a list of seven of the company’s locations with two managers names next to it. It can’t remember the significance of this list. To the right are the names of several countries. I’m not sure why. In the middle of the page it says “Gymboree.” The number 299 is written three times — to the right, upper right, and on top of it. I’m guessing a birthday party at Gymboree costs $299, but then again, that could be an address, a stock quote, or the price of an airline ticket. There are several other random numbers, dates and telephone numbers on the page. Lord knows the significance of those. Then, in the lower right, is a call list. They include my doctor, my daughter’s doctor, the place I’m having my daughter’s birthday, and the place we had my department’s holiday party. I’m generally not organized enough to make call lists. If I’ve made a call list it’s because I’m severely delinquent already in calling anyone on it.
Well, I was recently thrilled to learn that Katherine Ellison not so recently wrote the book on the subject. Your brain goes through a revolution when you become a parent, she asserts and according to Ellison motherhood is an “advantage in the lifelong task of becoming smart.” I think I am going to have to run out and buy the book now — or at least download in on my Kindle because I have no time to run to a store these days. Anyone or anything who can convince me that my intellectual capacity has done something other than slide into an irreversible downward spiral over the past six years has a special place on my priority list.