If you’re a mom, it’s common to feel forgetful, scattered, disorganized, or distracted.
Maybe you’ve left your keys in the door or missed your child’s doctor’s appointment. Maybe it’s forgetting what you were about to do or say – the thought disappearing faster than you can think of it.
When that happens, it’s easy to apologize, laugh it off, and blame it all on ‘Mom Brain’. But is ‘Mom Brain’ a real thing? Is there a scientific reason behind that feeling we all seem to get more often than we’d like?
We’re taking a look at the signs and causes behind Mom Brain and giving you 5 tips to help you cope!
What Is ‘Mom Brain’?
Mom Brain is defined as the brain fog and forgetfulness that many moms experience once they’ve had children. It’s also called “Mommy Brain”, “Baby Brain”, or “Momnesia”. When it happens, this feeling can be frustrating and even frightening. It’s easy to worry how this change might affect your performance at work or simply your ability to be a good mom.
What Are the Signs of Mom Brain?
If you’re wondering if you’re experiencing Mom Brain, look out for these 8 common signs:
- Trouble recalling certain words
- Difficulty remembering someone’s name
- Calling someone by a different name
- Losing ideas mid-thought
- Details completely escaping you
- Struggling to remember appointments
- Forgetting to return phone calls
- Finding things where they don’t belong
What Causes Mom Brain?
When a woman is pregnant, she experiences a loss in the gray matter in the part of her brain that is involved in social cognition. Gray matter is full of neurons, little information messengers that transmit information between different parts of the brain and nervous system. Without this gray matter, things like verbal recall, emotions, memory, and movement are all affected. Hence, Mom Brain.
Loss of sleep during those early months can actually add to mental fog and forgetfulness. This added pressure will eventually resolve itself once a mom is able to get a little more sleep at night.
Unfortunately, although moms can work to get back to their pre-pregnancy bodies, it’s not actually possible to go back to their pre-pregnancy brains. But that’s not a bad thing. A mom’s brain has changed. It’s evolved.
Moms gain a superpower. We become masters of efficiency, juggling schedules, appointments, tasks, and responsibilities. This change in our brains after pregnancy helps us to stay calm and have more focus during stressful situations. We are better able to interpret the nuances in our baby’s cries to determine what they need. It helps us become more vigilant and recognize potential dangers. Best of all, this change can help us create a warm relationship with our baby.
How to Cope with Mom Brain: 5 Tips
‘Mom Brain’ is almost always thought of as something negative, something that can’t be prevented. And while you may not be able to bring your brain back to where it was before, there are ways to cope. Here are 5 helpful tips:
- Be Patient – Try to focus on being patient, especially with yourself. The changes that you’re experiencing are completely normal. Your brain is simply adapting and evolving to allow you to become both a better mom and a better version of yourself. Remember that although the symptoms of Mom Brain are less than desirable, this madness is happening for a reason. You’re only human, and you will make mistakes. By being patient, you’ll be better at managing the symptoms that come along with Mom Brain.
- Make Lists – It helps to make lists – a lot of them! What makes these lists so powerful in handling Mom Brain is that they help us to remember the things we may tend to forget. You’ll want to first make sure that you have an easy way to write things down as you remember them. Always have a notebook or journal as well as a pen or pencil on hand. Those notes then become lists that will help you remember and then take action! Also be sure to take advantage of technology. Use your phone to set alarms and reminders, and to make to do lists. When you do remember to do something or you hear that little alarm go off, then make sure to take care of the task right away. Otherwise, you’ll end up right back where you started.
- Develop a Routine – As moms, we all know how important routines are for babies and small children. The same goes for us when it comes to the battle with Mom Brain. Plan your day ahead of time. Doing so gives you both predictability and that all important structure. By having a routine, you’re allowing your brain the space it needs to think about the things that must happen at that moment. It helps to start building your routine as you’re starting to build your little one’s routine. Think about how you generally go about your day. Use that information to develop a routine that is flexible and that can change over time. See you later brain fog!
- Plan Ahead – A plan just makes everything that much easier. Planning ahead will help you to avoid any unnecessary pitfalls during your day. The night before, think about what you have to do or accomplish for the next day. If you have to go somewhere, be sure to pack things up ahead of time. You also want to stay consistent in how you do things throughout the day. Plan where everything is going to “live” in your house – your car keys, your purse, your wallet. This way you’ll be less likely to forget where something is when you need it.
- Ask for Help – One of the hardest things to do is asking for help. As moms, we think we can do it all. But trying to do “all the things” is just asking for trouble. One way to avoid being overwhelmed is to get others involved. This could be your spouse, your partner, your family, or your friends. Be aware of how you’re feeling and whether you’re able to handle a task or a situation. Sometimes the best way to fight Mom Brain is to simply take a break. Find some time for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes to rest and recharge. Take a nap, read a book, go grab a coffee, or binge watch your favorite show.
Now it’s time to take our 5 tips and kick that Mom Brain to the curb!
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