Did you notice a change in the way your brain works after you had a child? I certainly did and for the last 13 years since I became a mom, it hasn't gone back to the way it was pre-kids. I keep waiting, but it's just not happening.
So, fellow moms, I think it's just time to accept—and embrace—that this is going to be our brain on kids forever.
1. We forget all the things
We all know that feeling of walking into a room only to forget why the hell we walked in there in the first place. If you have more than one child, you usually go through all the names of other family members before you get to theirs. If you have pets, throw those names in there too. We could be looking right at Billy and call him, "Mary, Tommy, Fido, I mean Billy" so many times he will grow up thinking that is his actual name.
2. We can't concentrate on anything anymore
I literally cannot answer a question if I'm reading something, trying to answer an email, looking for the damn butter (no one can find the butter, ever) or tying a shoe. I don't know why. I can empty the dishwasher with one foot while wiping down the counters, but ask me about the lifespan of a dolphin while I'm trying to sign a permission slip and I just can't.
3. We can't tolerate noise after a certain point.
I have a point where my brain shuts down. On an excellent day, it's around seven at night. Most of the time it's after cooking and cleaning up dinner. I have a shut off and it becomes impossible for me to help with homework, start a puzzle, or answer any more questions. My body and my brain can't handle the stimulation. This also happens about five minutes after everyone has woken up on some days if I'm being honest.
4. We get more emotional.
Everything touches us in a different way after we bring humans into the world. We have a bad day and feel horrible if we didn't enjoy them enough and weep into our pillow at night vowing we will do better the next day. We see something horrific happening on the news and right away our brains go to our children and how this world is going to affect them. We see a random stranger in the grocery store carrying a newborn and we tear up because it makes us remember when ours were that tiny once.
We're always thinking of the next thing because there are always so many next things.
5. We are always on high alert.
And by that I mean I'm anxious as hell. You have no idea how much you have to pay attention to your surroundings until you have a baby that starts to crawl and a toddler that starts to walk. Even when you can relax it's hard to make that switch. You body tenses up at the smallest rattle, it's harder to fall into a deep sleep and you rush in and out of a store even if you're alone because you're so used to being surrounded by a tiny person who can get hurt or make a mess in an instant.
6. We notice things we wish we didn't notice
Like dirt, dust bunnies, crumbs in the fridge, or if someone didn't wash their hands before touching your child's face. Dirty public restroom affect you on a whole different level when you bring your curious kids in. Things which used to have a small impact on me before I gave birth feel huge now and I long for my pre-mom self who was a little less uptight about things. Maybe this happened because we know it falls on our shoulders. Or maybe we need to get out of the house more. Either way, I wish I could shut it down, but I can't.
7. It's hard to shut off our mothering instinct.
If you're a stranger and have ice cream dripping down your chin, I might go wipe it off for you. If I get a text from a friend saying she's sick, I'll show up with chicken soup and try to nurse her back to health. Once that mothering instinct kicks in, it's hard not to live in nurturing mode. We like to make everything better for everyone. I'll try and draw the line at licking my finger and wiping off your mouth.
8. Our minds are always on speed dial.
It's hard to lose yourself in your thoughts. You can't spend too much time thinking about your grocery list or what to buy your mom for her birthday lest you forget an appointment or hear your toddler get into your box of tampons you forgot to put away. Moms don't have the privilege of day dreaming. We're afraid something is going to fall to pieces so we're constantly running a checklist in our noggins which means...
We're always thinking of the next thing because there are always so many next things. The next meal, the next diaper change, the next doctor's appointment, the next play date. Life moves fast and we are trying to keep up as best we can.
10. We worry more.
Of course we do, we're mothers. We're constantly worrying our children aren't eating or sleeping enough. We worry about if they're making friends, if they're being rude, if they wiped their bottom and washed their hands after going to the bathroom. We cringe at the thought of them licking the slide at the playground or a sick child sneezing on them, infecting them and taking our family down with them.
Case in point: When you become a mother your brain changes. It has to. There's so much to think about, so much to keep up with and something has to give. It's just unfortunate that it's the most complex organ in our body, but even with all the extra space our kids take up in our minds, we can still get all the shit done.