I think mommyhood has fried my brain.
My short-term memory is blown to bits. My long-term memory may follow. I seem to live life in a state of perpetual distraction, standing in the living room looking for a pair of socks, or a form for preschool, or--wait, what am I looking for again? And didn't I leave it just right there? And oh, hey, there are some dirty dishrags right there, let's take it up to the laundry, and oh, the baby needs a diaper change, now why is the dryer standing open like that, and there's Bean-girl screeching again and the cat's out of food and wait, I was looking for something what the hell was I looking for???
This morning I was looking for paperwork for Bean-girl's first trip to a dentist in this city. And while I was frantically searching for this, the Bean-girl was sitting on the toilet crying out that she couldn't pee, she really couldn't, and the baby was crawling about half-dressed (because I'd just changed her diaper and then gotten distracted before I could finish dressing her). And as I was still searching, going slowly crazy because I knew I'd left it on the desk, I really did the half-dressed baby was scaling the makeshift barricade I'd built to keep her safely enclosed in the living room. And then Bean-girl started to screech from the bathroom for a lollipop.
And I could just feel my brain slowly melting in its skull.
My sister-in-law is the mother to triplet girls and an older boy. Although her children are now older, my husband continues to joke of his sister that raising triplets has "blown her attention span to bits." She is smart, capable, amazingly efficient. She is a terrific mother, and her children are wonderful human beings. I am in utter awe of her. But it's true that she does often seem . . . distracted in conversation, even with other adults. And she has a habit of repeating things over and over. The way you repeat things when you're talking to a child. Except that she continues to do this when speaking to my husband and I.
I fear that if I stay too long at home, I may lose all ability to communicate with the adult members of my species.
I'm aware that there is an argument for the other side. There are mothers and women who argue stridently that motherhood does NOT reduce us all to the cognitive state of slime molds. There are apparently published studies showing that mice who have given birth actually do better than other mice on some types of cognitive tests. There is even a book out there, called "How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter," which apparently argues that motherhood actually makes us smarter. I haven't read any of these.
Maybe, down the road, I'll find that I am indeed more flexible, better at multi-tasking, more socially skilled. Or maybe I'll find that I'm just more socially skilled with children?
Tonight I'll feel better about all this, I know. There's my infant now, peering up at me with large, wondering eyes. There's my pretty Bean-girl, calmly eating her snack. I have so many sweet, cute stories to tell about them.
But right now? That soft stuff squishing about in my brains? Slime mold, my friends. Slime mold.