By Carol Kaufmann, Columnist, “Mama Tricks: Wrapping Your Head Around Motherhood”
I swear – the following paragraph was not intended as a clever way to start this Mama Trick.
I kept meaning to write a column on Memory Loss, but I kept forgetting. New moms know I’m not lying. The notebook where I scratch out all my rough drafts was, somehow, never near my computer. And when I did remember where I had left it – the notebook, not the computer – in the time it took for me to get the laptop and fire it up, I forgot what I was doing. I also had many things to say about how children can zap your memory bank, but I also kept forgetting to write them down. Anyway, this topic is long overdue.
Since Day #1 of living in Kiddietown, I’ve been forgetting. All day long. I forget the simple, easy information I’ve known all my life and simple, easy information necessary to function in the modern age. Like the year. It happened when I was writing a check. It wasn’t January, or even February, when it’s permissible to slip up. This brain freeze happened in SEPTEMBER. Was it 2006, or 2007? I stood there, pen in hand, staring at the check made out to the hospital (for my never-ending C-section bills – what else?), and honestly didn’t know.
But at least this happened in the privacy of my own home.
A week later, I was running errands on an exceptionally beautiful fall day and choose to walk from store to store instead of driving. Fresh air is good for the soul! The walk is the beginning of the path back to physical fitness and normal weight! I can feel like me again! Hey, I’m looking good! But my euphoria evaporated when I was in a jewelry store getting my watch repaired. I peered behind the counter at the horizontal mirror there and noticed that my shirt was on inside out, the tag protruding ungracefully out of the bulging side seam. I had talked to many people that day.
The next weekend, my mother was visiting. Appropriately, she oooed and ahhhhed and would barely let anyone else hold new baby girl. At one point, I noticed she was no longer holding the baby. Confused and somewhat alarmed I asked, “Where’s Sara Clare?” I then realized Mom had given the baby to me and I was nursing.
Then, shortly after, I was compiling a list of my friends who have kids so I could tell them about the launch of The Well Mom site. I put my friend Heather on the list. Heather is The Well Mom.
I’m not even going to mention all the items we’ve lost because they remained on the roof of the car while we drove off down the road. Those are a given. And fortunately, we’ve never pulled a Raising Arizona and driven off without one of the kids. Still, the flirtations with insanity are daily reminders I’m losing control over something that, unlike my body, time, physical space, energy, is exclusively mine. My mind.
And while I really don’t like not remembering my ATM pin and the reason why I drove to the grocery, I do manage to feed my newborn daughter, laugh at my son escaping from a diaper change and streaking through the family room, and, on most days, shower (though often have to use bar soap on my face because I’m always forgetting to buy facial cleanser.)
Food, laughter, cleanliness. I win.
As for the other stuff, I vow to reduce my mental inventory since the ol’ mind just isn’t what it used to be. Plus, I have a job, one in an office where I have to commute, wear dry-cleaned clothes, and rely on firing synapses. A co-dependency with a caffeinated beverage of choice will just have to do.
Copyright 2008 Carol Kaufmann
Carol Kaufmann regularly shares her “Mama Tricks” with The Well Mom. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, The Washington Post, and in the anthology A Woman’s Europe. She lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, toddler, newborn, and two obese rescue cats.
First published on thewellmom.com, February 15, 2008.