Tips for Overcoming Mom Brain
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had heard about pregnancy brain – misplacing your keys, losing your train of thought, forgetting appointments or important dates. What I didn’t know is that pregnancy brain eventually turns into the dreaded mom brain (AKA “momnesia” or “momentia”).
A woman’s brain naturally has 1,000 tabs open at all times; I think it’s part of our genetic make up. Mom brain occurs when these 1,000 tabs are regularly interrupted by something more important – a child. We devote almost all of our mental capacity to raising these tiny humans that we can’t possibly expect to remember to pick up the dry cleaning or Aunt Susan’s birthday. And that’s ok! If you’re suffering from mom brain, don’t worry. You can still be the mom boss who does it all, you just may need a new game plan. Below are my 5 tips for overcoming mom brain.
1. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
The first thing you need to understand and accept is that your brain can no longer be trusted to remember things. That means you must write everything down – to do lists, appointments, birthdays, etc. Write it down so you don’t have to remember it. Take a notebook, a spreadsheet, your phone – whatever works for you (my personal favorite is Microsoft OneNote) and write everything down that’s in your head.
2. HAVE A PLAN
Writing everything down will do you absolutely no good if you don’t follow-up with a plan to get it done. I cannot function without my planner. If you aren’t already using a planner (paper or digital), now’s the time to start! Everything from your list that needs to happen on a certain day should be written on that day in your planner. For all of the miscellaneous to-do items, I like to review my list every morning and plug in whatever I think I can realistically get done that day. If you’re like me, juggling appointments/meetings and a never-ending to-do list, you have to check out the Day Designer planner! I got mine from Amazon and the daily set up is perfect for me. It allows me to list out all of my appointments for the day, while also leaving plenty of room to manage my to-do list and write out anything else that comes up throughout the day.
3. GET INTO A ROUTINE
For all of those little things that need to happen every day, making it a habit to do them at the same time every day will make you less likely to forget them. When my baby girl started daycare, I had a hard time remembering to prep her bottles the night before and always wound up scrambling to do them in the morning. I had to write it out in my planner for a few days, but now I’m in the habit of washing and prepping bottles every night.
4. SET ALARMS/REMINDERS
My planner helps me plan out my day, but I don’t always have it open in front of me. That’s where setting an alarm saves me. I set alarms on my phone for everything – moving clothes from the washer to dryer, starting dinner in the crockpot, leaving the house to be somewhere on time. Let me repeat, you can no longer trust your brain to remember things! Make it easy on yourself and set an alarm for those time-sensitive things on your planner.
5. LEARN TO SAY NO
Sometimes we do this to ourselves. We overcommit and wind up with more on our plate than we can realistically handle. Learn to say no! Maybe you’re asked to volunteer at school on a day that’s already looking super busy. It’s ok to say no if you don’t think you can manage everything you need to do that day. It’s better than accepting and introducing the unnecessary anxiety that comes with being stretched too thin. But another suggestion is to politely decline, then offer an alternative. Most times, things are more flexible than you think and can probably be pushed to another day.
Lastly, I’ll give you bonus tip. Give yourself a break! This parenting thing is hard work. None of us are perfect, and it’s inevitable that we’re going to forget something. It certainly doesn’t make us bad moms. You are amazing, and you got this!
How do you overcome mom brain? Leave me a comment and let me know!