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Mommy brain, baby brain, mommy brain fog, pregnancy brain, etc: there are so many phrases for this one thing that happens to a lot, if not, all of moms.
Some question if it is a real thing or if it even exists. In my experience, the struggle is real!
Some of my mommy brain moments include things like:
I went to pour my daughter a cup of milk the other day and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t pouring. Turns out, I forgot to open the container!
I sometimes walk into our pantry/laundry room and try to turn on the light… when it is already on.
When changing my baby’s diaper and outfit the other day, I took the dirty diaper off and started to put her clothes back on. Then I realized I had forgotten to put on a clean diaper!
Trust me, these are just a few examples of the many moments of mommy brain I have had in the last few years. Sometimes I can recall an entire conversation I have had with my husband, but we actually never had it… or he just had a daddy brain moment! I really couldn’t tell you for sure!
What is it?
According to WebMD, ‘Mommy Brain’ is “used to describe that spacey, sleep-deprived state when new moms tend to forget things and act scatterbrained”
I would have to agree with this assessment as I definitely feel spacey and scatterbrained sometimes.
Before getting pregnant, I was reliable, on time, and I could remember SO many things. People turned to me when they needed to remember something. When was the last time I paid that bill, when did we last see our friends, how many apples do we have in the fridge, when are people’s birtdays, where did my Aunt say she put that one piece of paper for her taxes,
When I got pregnant, however, it was like a fog had settled over my brain. Things were still in there, but it was a lot harder for me to see and remember what they were.
Work was hard. People would explain something to me, and it would make sense. But, as soon as I went back to my desk, it would be so hard to remember and comprehend. I felt like such an airhead going back to ask the same questions again.
Some causes of ‘Mommy Brain’
In WebMD’s definition, it mentions a “sleep-deprived” state for “new moms”. I agree with that but would also add a few things. I don’t think it is just new moms and sleep-deprivation that causes this mommy brain fog.
Having too many other things on our mind
Before becoming pregnant, all I had to really think about was myself and my immediate family.
Once you become pregnant, there are so many other things to think about.
- What you can and can’t eat
- When is the next doctor appointment
- Maternity leave
- What you really need for the baby
- Baby showers
- Thank you notes
- Baby’s room
- Birth plan
Once you have the baby, you also have to think about
- What time the baby last ate
- How long or how much the baby ate
- How long did baby sleep
- Baby doctor appointments
- Postpartum doctor appointments
- Washing clothes
- When did YOU last eat
- Are you producing enough milk
Then you have a second baby and the list just continues to grow
- When did the toddler last go potty
- When did I feed the baby
- Does the baby need solid food now or a bottle
- How much TV has the toddler watched today
- When did the baby take a nap
I could go on and on. My point is there are so many other things to think about and keep track of now that you had children. No wonder I walk into a room and forget what I need all the time. Or I can’t remember what I ate for lunch or even if I ate lunch. Did I brush my teeth this morning? … I think so because I don’t feel fuzzy teeth sweaters. 🙂
Not only do I feel we have more to think about now, but, I would argue, we don’t let ourselves forget about things we feel are more important. I think a lot of moms put their families first and forget about themselves. I know I look really spacey when I forget my coat in 30° weather. But all I know is both of my kids have their coats, my toddler has her snack and water, I have diapers and a bottle for the baby, and I have a change of clothes for both kids. So, as long as the kids are taken care of, I can suffer through the cold for a bit. #momlife
When I notice the start of Mommy Brain
As I previously mentioned, I really started to notice mommy brain during pregnancy. Specifically, around the 12 to 14 week mark is when I saw a big change in my memory. It was also when I felt the most tired. No matter how much sleep I was able to get, I was still tired and my memory was just getting worse.
I couldn’t remember if I put dinner in the slow cooker
At work, I was having a lot of issues with what should be simple tasks but took a lot more effort than before.
This was the time I started using some of my hacks to combat my mommy brain fog.
It took some effort to make habits from hacks, but it sure did help. Two kids later, I still have
Helpful tips and hacks
Here are some helpful workarounds I have found to help combat the fog. Some are simple and others may take a bit of effort. However, these hacks and tips really help me to remember more and get more done.
I know most of you know that I love sticky notes. I try to keep them in places I think of things or where I think I’ll need to write something down really quick. Places like the kitchen where I usually talk on the phone when making appointments. I also seem to remember a lot after taking a shower, so I have sticky notes and a pen in the bathroom as well!
Best ways I have found to use sticky notes:
- When I need to return something back to a friend, I put a sticky note on the door to the garage telling me what to grab on the way out.
- If I have something that needs to be done on my computer first, I will put a sticky note on my keyboard.
- To remember an appointment, I will use a sticky note on my mirror so I can’t ignore it.
The key to sticky notes is to put them in a really inconvenient place so you have to deal with them. Another must when using sticky notes is to make sure it is up high enough that your kids can’t move them or hide them. My daughter loves to play with sticky notes or any type of colored paper.
Apps on phone
There are so many apps on smartphones that can help with your day-to-day life. And because we all have our phones with us basically all of the time, this is a very convenient option to help you. The apps I use are completely free and can be
The ones I am currently using are:
Google tasks –
- This is a great app for keeping up with a to-do list.
- Your tasks can be assigned a due date and even have a reminder set.
- You can have multiple task lists if you have things you would like to keep separate. On the mobile app, your different task lists can be assigned different colors. I have green for general to-dos and pink for my hobby to-dos (mostly the kids’ scrapbooks). On the computer, however, you can’t see the different colors which
iskind of annoying.
- You can also set a task to repeat. I have a budget set to repeat every Sunday.
Google Calendar –
- The great thing about this is both my husband and I have access to it. We both put things into the calendar and we both know what our family has planned.
- Just like the tasks, you can have multiple calendars each with its own color. I have the main calendar we use for our family and I have a calendar for each of the kids. I use the kids to keep up with milestones mostly so I can add it to their scrapbooks later.
- Having your calendar with you all the time is a huge help. You can better plan and with all the reminder settings, you are less likely to forget events or appointment. I like to set multiple reminders for the same appoint so I don’t forget about it.
Keep Notes –
- We just started using keep notes a few months ago and we just love it. Both my husband and I can add things we need to the weekly grocery list before we forget. Then, whoever goes to the store (usually my husband) will already have the list and can check off things as they go. I still use the monthly grocery list for the meal plan, but I add the list for the week to our list.
- Other features I haven’t tried yet are labels for the different notes, setting reminders, taking pictures, drawing what is on your mind, and speech to text notes.
Review your calendar after kids are in bed
After we put the kids to bed, I like to preview my calendar and tasks for the next day. Anything that can be done the night before to make my life a little easier in the morning I will try to do since I’m not really a morning person. Once the kids are asleep, I can focus a bit more on what I need to get done. If I try to do everything in the morning, I feel like I am racing against the clock to get everything done before the kids wake up. However, when things are done the night before, I can relax a bit more and not feel as stressed.
Creating routines and schedules has helped me tremendously when it comes to mommy brain fog. Having as many routines as I can set up lets me be on autopilot for the tasks I need to do all the time and lets me use my brain for the more important things. Trying to remember the last day I washed our sheets or the girls’ clothes is just a waste of my brain power. The routines help me to have less mental fatigue and focus on things like what to feed my toddler or coming up with a fun new learning game.
As far as mommy brain goes, I definitely think it is real. I am not really sure when or if it will ever go away. Maybe we just get used to our new mommy brain and find ways to adapt. Using the tips and hacks mentioned above has helped me deal with mommy brain fog and maybe they can help you too!
Give your brain a break. Don’t try to remember EVERYTHING. Write things down, use apps, and set reminders for yourself.