As I’m writing this my mind literally does not want to think, so sorry if this sounds a bit, well, foggy. That’s been the story of my life for the past year – I just don’t seem to be able to function as I did before I had my son. Why? I blame mommy brain. (Yes, it’s a real thing.)
As most moms know, sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of mommy brain. Sleep is an issue which I’m sure I’ll expound upon in later posts, but suffice it to say that my baby just did.not.sleep. I had a love-hate relationship with his night wakings: I loved to go into his room, take him in my arms and feel the quiet peacefulness as I nursed him. I enjoyed letting my brain turn off as I watched repeats of Frasier and Friends on the iPad to keep myself awake while feeding him. I felt that he should decide when to night wean, not me, so I continued to revel in our special relationship.
But I was seriously tired. There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is used to torture people. As the months of waking every few hours continued, there was nothing I started to crave more than sleep. And yet when I went to bed, my mind would spin in circles about all the things I had to do, and I couldn’t fall asleep. And so the cycle continued.
I’m also convinced that babies just suck the energy out of you. I don’t know exactly how, but somewhere in between cleaning up poop, wrestling a screaming, wrangling child and trying to decipher their every cry you become worn down to a shell of your former self. It’s not that you don’t enjoy taking care of your child all day long. But it’s exhausting.
Not to mention the lack of mental stimulation. Singing The Wheels on the Bus and reading Goodnight Moon over and over and over will will take your IQ down a few points. You’re just not stimulating the adult part of your brain formerly used for meetings with your boss and PowerPoint presentations. Now when I try to read a novel or even an online news article, my mind makes mental leaps – it can’t hold as much as it used to, so it boils down the information to one useful nugget and throws the rest out. As a result, I know the basics of what I read but can’t for the life of me have an in-depth conversation about it.
Even though my son is finally sleeping through the night, I find myself utterly wiped. Now that he’s turned one, he demands more of my attention when awake. He actually wants me to play with him – or at least watch him play. When I see moms with newborns I’m suddenly jealous – those were the days when he just lay there and didn’t do anything. I also take him to play groups, kiddie activities, swimming… he’s one and I’m already overscheduling him, and me.
Plus, now I’m actually trying to use my brain to write this blog and my freelance assignments. And I want to watch TV and movies again. And read books. And keep up on current events. And Facebook. So I squeeze it all in after he goes to bed and end up staying up late. And I’m still having that insomnia when it’s time to fall asleep.
Will it ever end, or will I spend the rest of my life in a kid-induced fog? Do you have mommy brain, too?