CHENNAI : A couple of months ago, I was invited to attend and participate in a high profile event. I was ecstatic! I agreed immediately, shared relevant details, wrote the dates down in my beautiful cloth-bound planner, added it to my Google Calendar, followed the event’s page on Facebook, told everyone in the family about it and…forgot all about it. The cloth-bound planner disappeared into another dimension, also known as the bottom of my bag. In an attempt to be more mindful and set a good example to my children on responsible screen-time usage, I muted all notifications on my phone. (Silent Instagram account stalking in the bathroom doesn’t count okay? Okay.)
Mid last week I turned on notifications for apps again (got busted in the bathroom so why bother?) and was inundated by ‘You’re attending an event this weekend!’ messages. ‘Oh no I’m not’ I scoffed at my phone and swiped left. Then a sweet and gentle reminder email came from the organising team. ‘Oh, yes, I am!’ The incident made me feel foolish and forgetful. Not as bad as I would have had I missed the event altogether, but bad enough. How had I let this happen? Did I still have ‘mommy brain’? Parent brain doesn’t sound catchy enough and no one talks about ‘daddy brain.’
My apologies for the gendered statement. But the popular belief that pregnancy and childcare affect a mother’s cognitive abilities long after a baby is born is the stuff of memes and Instagram accounts. But just how long does this thing last? I get that in those first few months and even years after child birth hormones and sleep deprivation can turn your brain into a lump of play-doh. But my kids are now 11 and eight. I sleep well! My hormones rage only for Ryan Gosling.
You’d think my brain would have reverted to its former state. But no. I find myself in the shower unable to remember if I’ve already shampooed my hair. I walk purposefully into rooms to get something and can’t remember what I was looking for. I meet people, have conversations with them and hope I don’t have to introduce them to anyone because I can’t remember their name. I’ve invited people over for dinner and then had to cancel because I’m reminded that I have accepted an invitation elsewhere. Is this ‘mommy brain’? Has all the secret Instagram stalking caused my grey cells to die one by one? Do I depend so much on technology to remember things for me that my brain has become rusty?
So after buying lots of badam, walnuts and Brahmi supplements (see Amma, I listen to you!) and downloading a mindfulness app on my phone and printing out a family calendar that has details of everyone’s plans for the month (colour coded thank you very much) I am all set to kick ‘mommy brain’ out of my head.
Of course, a few hitches are foreseeable. Someone has to remind me to eat the supplements. My Headspace app has been muted for being annoying. And I can’t remember which colour I’m using for which family member. But don’t worry Ryan. I’ll never forget you.