A Penny for a Mother's Thoughts…

My being absentminded and forgetful has always been the brunt of hubby’s jokes.  When I got pregnant, I finally had an excuse.  They say that the pregnant brain actually shrinks which they accounted for the increased absentmindedness.  However, they also say that the “Mum brain” goes away after the pregnancy and all recall faculties should be back to normal.  Yet, I am still as forgetful as ever.

Some time back, I read an article (sorry I can’t remember the link) about a study performed on mothers and non-mothers to further understand the theory of the “Mum brain”.  They found that there actually is no such thing as the “Mum brain”.  What they discovered is that the reason why some mothers are so forgetful is because they have too much on their plate.  They tested both mothers and non-mothers in test conditions and found there was no significant difference in memory power.  The real key was when they asked all the subjects to post a letter back the following day.  They found that more mothers forgot to post the letter back.  The study concluded that mothers were more forgetful because they had too many things to focus on (yeah well, having to remember everything for your kids tends to do that).  The answer to the problem was to scale back on things.

Last Sunday, I thought it was Gavin’s friend’s birthday party.  Turns out the party is actually this Sunday.  I’ve been forgetting a lot of things that I never would have forgotten back in the days when I was single.  I forget to reply emails, text messages, and return phone calls – which are actually some of the more basic things.  I often double book myself forgetting that Gavin has a class, or Gareth has a doctor’s appointment.

It almost seems laughable that I used to be asked what I do with my time while I stayed home looking after the kids.  These days, it is easy to feel isolated because it is so difficult to find mutually-free time to hook up with Mummy friends – thank God for the internet.  If I’m not busy taking the kids to classes, I’m busy ferrying them around, or trying to get Gareth’s sleep patterns just right so he won’t get cranky.  Gareth may be more easy going than Gavin was as a baby (for which I am enormously grateful) but he’s still a long shot from being the angel baby.

Despite the fact that I’m doing the best that I know how for my kids, there are days when I feel I’m not doing enough.  I feel guilty about Gavin who now has to share my attention with a sibling and is struggling to cope with it.  I’m trying to make it up to him, but how do you make it up to a child who used to have 100%?  At the same time, I feel guilty for neglecting Gareth because he doesn’t get the kind of attention I used to lavish on Gavin when he was this age.  But how do you give your second that kind of exclusive attention when you have the older child demanding for your time?

I should also add that being a Mum is like going through school all over again, except this time my Masters is in Parenting.  The last time I read this many books simultaneously was when I was in Uni.  That Shichida book is a real b**** to get through.  Reminds me of Neuroscience all over again.  No wonder nobody in Shichida is forthcoming with information.  It’s not that they don’t want to share, it’s because it’s too complicated to explain.  I feel a need to go through the book a few times just to get a handle on what Shichida was trying to share.

If I’m not busy studying to be a better parent, I’m busy implementing what I’ve learned.  So yeah, if I forget to return your calls, reply your messages, etc., this is me apologising in advanced.  This is also me confessing that I’m not the great Mum that I always envisage myself to be and I’m trying to accept that.  I’m trying to do the best that I can, but I feel like I’m always falling short of expectations – my expectations, and my childrens’ expectations (I’ve long ago learned to stop worrying about other people’s expectations – something about becoming a mother does that, I think).

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I can go to sleep…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

4 thoughts on “A Penny for a Mother's Thoughts…

  1. i also feel that my memory is failing me…. to the extent that my hubby gets pretty annoyed!

    sharing the same sentiments as you do…. regarding the ‘studying’ part.

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  2. The situation is reversed here – hubby pokes so much fun at me that I get annoyed!

    Lucky it’s an interesting subject that I have a lot of passion for. Definitely a great deal more than dentistry! It’s truly fascinating!

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  3. I record anything important in my iPod Touch / MacBook calendar straightaway. Problem is I forget or am too busy to sync them at times. Ha!

    There are many nitty-grity details to parenthood indeed. Also, I never knew I had to read up sooooo much on sleep and try various ways on my boy. The learning never ends indeed. Yes, it’s absolutely more enjoyable than school. 🙂

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  4. That’s a great idea. I have a calendar, too. The disturbing part is that I can lose track of a thought if I’m distracted for just a moment. Like when I’m talking to my SIL and Gavin interrupts, I forget what I was saying.

    I think it has to do with the fact that we’re more invested in this subject. Probably also helps that we live and breathe the subject everyday…

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