On March 9th, I woke up, grabbed my phone and my daughter, and excitedly said, “Harper, let’s call Auntie Emmy and tell her Happy Birthday!” So we did, our enthusiastic singing voices ready and willing. Emily didn’t answer (thank goodness, she would have been too nice to stop me in the moment), so we sent a text saying something along the lines of: We were just calling to sing you HAPPY BIRTHDAY and tell you how much love you!
A few hours later Emily responded: “Thank you for the birthday love! And you’re the very first person to wish me Happy Birthday… because it’s on the 12th! Thanks for being early, I love you!” followed by little laughing emoticons and then a heart, almost as if she was saying: “it’s ok that you’re a dummy, Katie, I love you anyway.”
If I had just met Emily, say, a year ago, this might be excusable. New friendships celebrate birthdays, but sometimes we only remember the general month and need a reminder of the date. But y’all, let me give you a little context: Emily is one of my people. She introduced me to my husband, stood up at my wedding, watched me birth two children and got maybe the second or third text after grandparents when the third was born. There are simply not that many people on this earth that I should remember the birthdate of more. I have been celebrating her on March 12th for ten years, an entire decade. Still, in the year of our Lord 2016, let it be known that I forgot my best friend’s birthday. It became the latest in a growing list of obvious symptoms that I am suffering from, and they all point to the same diagnosis: Mom brain. Severe, undeniable, mom brain. It’s a real thing; the combination of being short on sleep and heavy on diapers.
Maybe many of you can relate. Emails go unresponded to. Text messages get forgotten. Days of the week? Well, goodnight! I call Jordi by his brother’s name two dozen times a day, cannot remember for life of me where I put the checkbook last (wait, did I even write that check I was supposed to?), and if you ask me about dinner plans I’m not speaking to you for a month (but let’s be honest, I would probably forget that you texted, anyway).
At this point, I believe I can only be relied upon to remember that my name is Katie and I have, two... I mean three children ages three and under.
Last night I fell asleep nursing Jordi. The heavy, dead asleep kind of sleep. It was 8:40pm; I had not brushed my teeth or taken my mascara off. I came to a little after 9:00pm, a little bit shaky from the REM cycle I started to enter but abruptly came up from, did a quick mental assessment of where I was, who I was, and where my other kids should be (sleeping, thankyouJesus!), lifted my baby into his crib, took my jeans off, and went right back to bed. I wish I were making this up.
A mere four years ago not taking my makeup off was unthinkable, and not brushing my teeth?! I mean, I can’t even tell you how repulsive the thought was to me. But here is the honest truth: around 7:00 at night my mental acuity, which has been slowly leaking all day, is pretty much gone. In its place a general sense of apathy for my appearance sets in, including the health of my teeth and state of my skin (speaking of which, my left is eye is screaming at me today for leaving the mascara on; like a mean mommy-hangover from the party I had with three babies last night).
I never thought it would come to this. Alas, it has. It absolutely has. Virtually everything I prided myself on in my pre-mom life has a diminished capacity at this point; including being relevant, fit, intelligent, on-time, and organized. The former athlete deep down hardly recognizes the girl whose last real calorie burn was three weeks ago. I’m trying to remember what it was like to be intellectually engaged, but let’s be honest, anything more difficult than the ABC song is a stretch. And someone used the word ‘fleek’ on instagram the other day. What in the world could that possibly mean? I realize society is moving on without me when completely made-up words find legitimacy, but I have no room in my life for that, so whatever. My personal bandwidth is measuring at about 95% children right now. But, all three are alive and fed today, so let’s just focus on that and call it a victory.
I can only hope that there is a bend in the road somewhere up ahead. I’m told there is, and I’m trusting my sources.
For today, I’m looking at my red-eye in the mirror and just laughing. I have to laugh. Taking yourself too seriously only exacerbates the mom brain symptoms. And I know I will have this season one time and it’s gone. I have a husband who validates that this gig can be hard and jumps in to share it every minute that he is home. I have friends who are nothing but gracious, and two grandmas who live in town (holla!). And I have sweet, smiling faces and sticky fingers climbing all over me at this very moment, and my heart could just burst. (So could my brain, but I’ll take that trade).