1. The Memory Game
No, your car keys did not take a joyride in the middle of the night. You’ve just forgotten where they are for the tenth time this week. What is it about having children that makes you lose the glasses sitting on top of your head? Alma*, mom of three, just wanted to curl up with a book. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if she could only find it. “That book that I have been looking for, for five days straight?” she says. “Yeah, it was on my bookshelf the whole time.”
While Alma’s copy of Hiddensee was hiding in plain sight, Karah, mother to five from Virginia, never quite figured out where she left a certain something over the holidays.
“I hid the Elf on Shelf and couldn’t remember where…and couldn’t find it,” she recalls. “How does that even happen?”
Related: I Tried Meditating Daily With My 4-Year-Old For A Month—Here's What Happened
2. Out Of Focus
“You know you need coffee when you open the Starbucks app to find one close, get distracted by the Starbucks for Life game, and then forget what you were doing.” Find this scenario from Brittany, mother of one, all too familiar? While coffee definitely helps keep your eyes peeled after a long night of retrieving fallen binkies, staying focused is another story. Take it from Hannah, mom of one, who had a case of mom brain while food shopping.
“I just started loading my groceries into the back of a car that wasn’t even mine,” she says. And the worst part? “It wasn’t even the same color or make as mine!”
So what’s a mom to do? One way to stay focused is to keep organized, right? Tina, mother of two, made a trip to the store to buy a storage container…but returned without the lid. “I have no words for this brain fart—I wasn’t even with the kids,” she says. When we followed up a few days later, Tina had forgotten about the lid entirely and still hadn’t gone back to get it. (She thanked us for the reminder).
3. Rinse, Wash, Repeat… Literally
Distracted by the mounds of mini socks you have to match every few days? For some parents, laundry on mom brain is akin to an actual spin cycle. Anna, mother of two, has been known to rewash the same load not once, not twice, but three times (not to mention the time she left clothes molding in the washer for four days before realizing she never moved them).“Classic mom brain,” she calls it. “It happens at least once a week.” Because what we all really need is more laundry.
Related: 5 Ways To Dress Your Kids Without Spending A Penny
4. What Not To Wear
Remember when getting dressed was easy? “It literally took me ten minutes to figure how to put on my pajamas,” Sigoni, mom of one, says of one exhausting night that she really just wanted to go to bed. “Seriously. My brain was shot.” Clothes take on a whole new level of chaos once kids are in the mix. Squeezing them into their impossible little sneakers is easier than finding an unstained shirt some days. But more often than not, just getting out of the house in matching shoes can be a small miracle. Caitlyn, mom of three, recently made it to her car in matching footwear…only it wasn’t exactly meant for the occasion.
“Yep, I totally forgot to put real shoes on and rocked my slippers at preschool drop off,” she says.
Amanda, mom of two, found herself in a similar boat. “When you finally get the kids down for a nap, get to the gym...and then realize you forgot your sneakers,” she says, shaking her head at the day she was rocking her snow boots after finally escaping for a little me time. While they may not have been appropriate for the elliptical, at least her feet were warm.
5. Brain Batteries Not Included
“PSA: You can’t pause your laptop with the TV remote,” says CA, mom of one. If you weren’t electronically inclined before you had kids, good luck dealing with computers, smartphones…or even light switches.
“Once I started crying because the kitchen was dark and I forgot that light switches existed,” says Annette, mom of two from Kansas City.
Beth, mom of one from West Virginia, had a similar existential battle with electricity. “I took a shower in the dark while wondering why it was so dark. It took me a minute to realized I forgot to turn on the light.” Remember you’re not alone next time you get confused while attempting to turn the page of your Kindle, only to realize it has no actual pages.
Related: 9 Parents Share The Worst Parenting Advice They Received—And Wish They Hadn't Followed
6. Cooking On Mom Brain
“My coffee tasted SO bad one morning, I had to throw it out,” recalls Summer, mom of 2. “I thought it might be the new roast we got…but nope. I just grabbed the formula instead of my creamer!”
Ah, cooking while exhausted. There are just so many ways this can go awry:
- We forget some key ingredients: “I mom-brained while making tuna and noodle casserole and forgot to add the tuna.” —Tara, mother of one from Nashville
- Or that we even cooked: “This lonely bowl of carrots sat in the microwave all day after I heated it up for the kids at lunch and then forgot to feed it to them. I didn’t discover it until dinner time.” —Tina, mom of two
- Or on some days, how to cook: Shelby, mom of one, popped a sweet potato in the oven for her daughter, only to return forty minutes later and realize she never turned the oven on. “There are times I just find myself standing there wondering what I was doing,” she says.
- And other days, it’s an artisanal blend of many mental hiccups: “Serious case of mom brain,” says Jena, mother to one action-packed toddler. “I found a bag of frozen patties in the pots and pans cabinet. Then I forgot to turn the burner on to cook my broccoli as I stared as it...wondering why it wasn't boiling.”
Save time with this sheet-pan recipe:
7. Parenting On Autopilot
“Everyone is posting all of these great, reflective posts about their year,” says Amelia, mom of one. “I’m over here just trying to remember what happened yesterday.”
Taking care of little ones along with everything else life throws at you is a balancing act that requires an advanced degree in multitasking. And in any situation where your mind is in many places at once, you may discover a few boxes were left unchecked. Or like Jess, mom of one, you find a random spoon in your sweatpants pocket. “Don't ask me how it got there,” she says, “I have no idea.”
Or as Claire, mom of two boys puts it: “That moment you realize you just said 'Uh-huh' to 'Does that cat have a hot dog in his butt?'” Just remember that while you’re on a brain break, your kids might be taking full advantage of the situation.
Related: How To Tackle Your Giant Collection Of Digital Photos Once And For All
8. Mama Said There’ll Be Days Like This...
Some days, we deserve a badge just for trying. This one’s for Kelsie, mom of twins (and two dogs), who never really thought mom brain was a real thing until she had this doozy of a day. “I forgot I was supposed to bring the dogs to daycare until I got to work, so ran back home, got the dogs, and dropped them off. I sat down at my desk to find I had forgotten my coffee in the car. Ran out to car to get it, sat down at my desk again to find I had forgotten my phone in my car. I waited an hour to run out to get it because I was too embarrassed.” Later that day when she retrieved her pups, she was given a note telling her that instead of leaving the dogs’ rabies records, she gave them her grocery receipt. “I was so proud of myself for remembering to bring that in, too! When I have to pick up all four creatures from daycare, I’m basically driving a clown car.”
Mom brain. The struggle is real!
*Some names changed for this story.