I’d like to tell you that I am stronger, smarter, and more savvy after bringing four humans into the world. I’d like to tell you that having kids has done nothing but motivate me to be better, inspire me to reach for the stars, and finally teach me the secrets of being a woman who “has it all.” I’d like to tell you that becoming a mother has simply strengthened my organizational skills, propelling me to become a master scheduler and Queen of the Calendar.
But honestly? That would be a lie. Because the truth is, somewhere between peeing on a stick and throwing up in those first few months of having my first kid, I lost my mind. It wasn’t a subtle change, really, when I look back on it. It was dramatic and swift, like a car stopping for a squirrel, tires locking and rubber burning.
If I had to trace it back to one moment, I would say that it all started a few months into my first pregnancy, when my husband and I were shopping for some supplies for a tropical getaway. I was simply trying to pick up a bottle of sunscreen, but for some reason, bottles were flying left and right. No matter how hard I tried, I kept dropping every bottle of sunscreen I picked up. It was so ridiculous that my husband just stood there laughing at me, until I finally gave up and moved on to the sunglasses section — where I proceeded to knock over the entire display.
I look back at that moment, the confusion I felt wondering what on earth had happened to my life that even picking up a bottle of sunscreen would be so difficult, and I see it really as a defining moment. Because from then on, I have really never fully recovered.
From that moment on, I lost my mind to motherhood.
My lost mind manifests itself in so many ways these days, mainly in that I can never finish just one thing. Whether I’m trying to clean or make a phone call or send a text, it’s like my brain is incapable of focusing on the task at hand. I get distracted or suddenly remember something else I have to do or the baby flushes something down the toilet and away my mind (or sometimes my body too) sprints away. It’s like I’ve become so accustomed to a constant interruption of my days that my brain doesn’t know how to function without it.
I was talking with some fellow mom friends about the phenomenon of the “lost mother mind” and as it would turn out, I’m not alone in experiencing this. Many other mothers, especially those of us with young kids at home, are familiar with the feeling.
We start out by trying to get dressed in the morning (haha, as if), then the baby wakes up, so we have just our pants on and decide to just go with it because we have to breastfeed the baby anyways, so we may as well as leave our top off and then the baby’s done eating but she spits up on you, so you still don’t get dressed and then the toddler is up and needing a change and breakfast and then the kitchen is messy and then you remember it’s garbage day and before you know it, it’s 11 AM and you’re standing out in your driveway topless.
If I could count how many times I have had a family member gently inform me that I, once again, was wearing my shirt inside out; or how many times I have returned a text four days later; or how often I sit down to work at my computer only to find that two hours have passed and I have done everything but work … I would probably lose track of that number too, let’s be real.
Sometimes I try to talk to my husband about what it’s like to live as a Mother Who Has Lost Her Mind, but truthfully, I don’t think he can, nor will ever, really “get it.” The mind of a mother changes so drastically that really, I don’t know if I will ever really be normal again.
The point is, if you, too, are a Mother Who Has Lost Her Mind and you, too, feel like you can’t complete a single thought or task without getting distracted in some way or form, I say welcome. Together we can forget to put our shirts on correctly, burn dinner, and live in a half-cleaned, mostly happy, and haphazard world forever.
That is, if I can remember your name.