Wednesday, April 02, 2008

mommy brain

For quite a while now, I've heard my friends with kids talking about what they call mommy brain. Apparently, this is a kind of absentmindedness that strikes sometime during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

I experienced being absent-minded while I was pregnant, but chalked it up more to the extreme exhaustion I felt and how sick I was more than mommy brain.

I have always considered myself a highly capable person. In the past few years, I feel like I've gotten to be pretty good around the house. I can cook, bake, do laundry, and all of that other stuff in a pretty automatic way. Plus, I don't forget stuff -- I always make sure the oven is off when I'm done using it, and I clean out the lint filter with every load of laundry.

Anyway, it appears that mommy brain struck for me twice this past weekend, when in an uncharacteristic set of circumstances, I did two really dumb things. And of course I did both of them in front of seven other women, including my mom, my mother-in-law, both of my sisters-in-law, Brett's grandma and aunt, and Brett's cousin's wife.

The first incident of mommy brain struck on Saturday afternoon. We were all at the beach house, enjoying just hanging out and staring at the babies (Elanor and her second cousin Joey), when I decided to do a load of laundry because Elanor spits up on every single thing she wears. Even though we'd only been at the beach house for about 24 hours, I already had a full load to wash. (Such is life with a spitty baby, I guess.)

So I gathered up all the laundry out of my suitcase and then grabbed a couple of things I'd laid next to her changing pad on the floor, threw it all in, and walked away.

I returned an hour or so later to switch it to the dryer, and as soon as I pulled out the first thing, I knew something was wrong.

There was white fuzz all over a black shirt of mine that I'd thrown in with Elanor's things.

"Huh, that's weird," I thought. "I wonder if one of Elanor's outfits did this?"

I pulled out something else, which sent little gel beads all over the mudroom.

That was when I knew that there was some kind of liquid-absorbing item in the wash. At first I thought it might be a breast pad that had gotten stuck to one of my shirts. But as I kept pulling things out of the washer that were covered in fuzz and little gel beads, I realized it had to have been something much larger than a breast pad.

Yep. I'd washed a disposable diaper. I must have scooped it up with the things that were next to the changing pad.

And what's even more stupid than washing a disposable diaper? Running into the living room, holding the shreds of the diaper and yelling, "How DUMB AM I? Look what I just did! I just washed a diaper!"

Everyone gave me this look. You know, like, "Um, ok. Thanks for sharing. That's grody."

My mom followed me in to the mudroom to help me get the gel out of all the clothes so I could re-wash them.

"I don't think I'd have told everyone if I washed a diaper," she said.

Sigh. She's probably right; I should have just kept it to myself. (Of course, here I am now, telling the entire Internet, but whatever.)

The second stupid thing I did was when we were making dinner later that evening. The stove at the beach house is really wide, and has a large section on the right-hand side that doesn't have burners.

We'd taken a cookie sheet and the broiler pan out of the oven to cook something else in there and someone had set them on the left-hand set of burners.

I went to cook something, and set the pan on the right front burner. And then, stupid me, turned on the left front burner. Because, you know, the right front burner was further left on the stove than I was used to, and the left burner was covered up with the broiler pan so I didn't see it.

As I noticed that the pan didn't seem to be getting hot, I kept turning it up and up, until finally it was on high, and I looked down at the broiler pan sitting there and noticed a round, burner-like shape in it.

"Huh," I mumbled. "That's stra-- OH CRAP!!!"

And then I proceeded, once again, to announce to the entire group what I had done -- melted a perfect, burner-shaped circle into the metal pan.

I never used to do stuff like this. Ever. I always sort laundry religiously. (Although I don't sort religiously enough to suit my mom, I'm still more particular than most people about laundry sorting.) And I have never done anything like the burner thing. After Brett left a burner on high once with a near-empty pan and almost ruined it, I always, always check stuff like that. Except clearly, I didn't check this time.

I really hope this absentmindeness is just mommy brain or lack of sleep or something temporary, not something more permanent like me getting dumber or just altogether losing my marbles. Hopefully once I get a little more sleep, I'll be back to my normal self again.

Either that or I'll just have to learn to shut up about the ditzy things I do. (Unless, of course, they make a good story for my blog. Heh.)


Xin Lei said...

girl, you definitely have mommy brain :). I recently salted (instead of sugared) the tops of a tin of unbaked muffins I was making...and I often find myself putting my bottle of creamer in the cupboard instead of the frig. (sigh) No, we're not getting dumber, there's just too many things to keep track of, that's all :).

Rachel said...

Oh, enjoy those moments, you deserve them.

Kris said...

It gets better... until the next pregnancy =-)

Daisy said...

Haha, I laughed so hard at this post. Probably because I have done both, even when I didn't have mommy brain. I wonder if it gets worse with each pregnancy/baby?

Mom of 2 Boys said...

You are not officially a sleep-deprived mother until you either melt something on the stove (mine was a tupperware bowl that I set on a hot burner immediately after turning the burner off) or wash a disposable diaper.

Welcome to "the club." :)