I thought being pregnant made me stupid. But, it turns out that it doesn't get any better once the baby comes out. In other words, I've got a bad case of Mom-Dumb, more commonly known as baby brain.
Previously, I was an articulate adult with generally good math, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. However, those skills have recently gone the way of the dinosaurs. Want me to do basic math? Give me a calculator because I will try to convince you that seven plus two equals eight. It's so bad that my husband actually supervises me as I make formula because I can't even seem to count to eight accurately anymore. As I try to make adult conversation after Baby K has been put down in her crib for the night, words have seemingly just fallen out of my head. I even had to be reminded of the name of one of my closest friends last night. It's really quite sad.
Unfortunately, my arguing skills and stubbornness are still as strong as ever. So despite the fact that my basic math skills are at the same level as a kindergartener's, I will try to convince you that you're the one who's got it wrong until I'm as turned around as a kid about to whack a piñata.
So what's causing this sudden onset of chronic brain farts? I sat down and had a lengthy discussion about it with another one of my mom friends, and here's what we came up with.
Whoever came up with the rule to "sleep when baby sleeps" never had children. I've been blessed with a happy baby who sleeps a lot, but I'm still averaging about 6 hours of sleep per day when I'm lucky. And REM sleep (you know- the good stuff that makes you feel rested and brings on those fabulous dreams that star Gerard Butler?) is a luxury reserved only for the nights my husband decides that my mom-dumb has become so perplexingly severe that he stays up to grab the baby before her cries can wake me. Naps aren't likely because during her waking hours she demands my undivided attention and during her sleeping hours my dishes, laundry and marriage demand the same thing.
So, that leaves this household with one sleep deprived mama. And with sleep deprivation comes reduced cognitive function, increased clumsiness and logic so perplexing that it has people scratching their heads and dramatically mouthing "what" when I turn my back to them.
The term PMS has been terrifying men for centuries. Why? Because once per month, a little hormone fluxuation turns their wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, friends, teachers, bosses and other female counterparts in to an Jekyll-and-Hyde-style emotional psychopath who can only be soothed with chocolate. Newsflash- having a baby is a million times worse than PMS.
When our body pushes out this tiny human and realizes it's not pregnant anymore, we get a hormone swing worthy of the Olympics. Also categorized as the "baby blues" in the beginning, this surge of hormones causes mood swings, uncontrollable weepiness, confusing thoughts and physical symptoms that we won't even get in to. However, the baby blues are only touted to last a couple of weeks. But it takes much longer for our bodies to get back on to a normal cycle, resulting in a hormone-driven haze that makes measurements for the baking I've been doing more of an "art" than a science.
Lack of Adult Conversation
Maybe it's just adaptation. I spend my days making up stories, cooing and trying to entertain someone who's only form of communication is crying. I don't need to know big and intelligent words like gregarious, ubiquitous, eclectic, paradigm or cavalier. No. My vocabulary now centres around words like poo, cutie-pie, bottle, fun and Mr. Bojingles. Really, in this case, it comes down to the old adage, "use it or lose it". Maybe I need to get out more.
Low Blood Sugar
Similar to lack of sleep, I'm also suffering from a lack of food and water. I mean to eat, I really do. It's just that Baby K's needs now come first. So, it tends to go like this… I get up with her at about 8 a.m. I feed her, I change her, I play with her and she goes down for a nap. I prep for the next cycle of feeding, changing and playing. I get a piece of bread in the toaster, and a cry sounds from her swing. The cycle starts again while my bread goes stale in the toaster slot. Then 2 p.m. has rolled around and I realize I'm ravenous and end up eating a pizza pop and a Snapple as my only meal until dinnertime when my husband can take over with daddy duty and let me cook something nutritious.
Guess what. Low blood sugar has similar symptoms to sleep deprivation; unclear thinking, fogginess, headaches and tiredness. There's a reason that doctors and nurses tout the importance of good nutrition as a mom- it's not just a matter of health, it's a matter of intelligence!
The moral of the story is this:
Next time you're talking to a mother and she gets a little mixed up with her numbers, words or facts, just smile and nod along. It's only because she's given everything, including her mind, to do the important job of raising up the next generation of leaders, artists, mechanics, doctors, teachers, lawyers and more. So, cut her a break.