My mom brain feels fried most days, simple tasks take so much longer and my thoughts are jumbled. Ever since I became a mom I’ve wondered if “mom brain” a thing? What is mom brain?
I keep on telling myself, this season too shall pass. Part of me wants to give into the feeling of fatigue as a reason to achieve less, while another side of my conscience urges me to **snap out of it**.
So what is a mom to do? Well, what I do is find small acts of daily self care, so my brain gets a chance to rest. (Mine are coffee, morning yoga and late night TikTok), and then take one step at a time. Parenthood is a roller coaster ride, and we are all just trying to hang on the best we can.
Is Mom Brain A Thing?
This phenomenon is associated specifically to motherhood. Scientist state that the mother’s brain temporarily re-wires to focus more attentively on baby’s needs. This makes it difficult to work and remember other aspects of our life. So yes, it literally is a thing.
In a major 2016 study, it was found that the female’s brain changes dramatically during and after her first pregnancy. In particular, they noted the gray matter decreased in areas in charge of processing and responding to social signals. Technically this is why mom’s experience “mom brain” or foggy thoughts, and it is said to remain this way up to 2 years postpartum.
But my toddler turned 3 years old recently and I still have mom brain?
There are some overlapping symptoms of a woman experiencing post-partum mom brain and that of general burn out. The mental load that woman take on for the family in general is a heavy one. So although we definitely should give ourselves a break, if life post parenthood is more draining, we also need to better balance out the invisible labor of family life.
A few things many moms feel responsible for that can be shared or delegated:
- Almost ALL aspects of children’s life
- Family meals
- Families budget
- Family holidays
- Any type of coordination between schedules
- …the list goes on…
Are you now wondering if maybe that mom brain isn’t just mother nature, but instead a lifestyle that cornered you into a constant state of burnout?
–> Checklist of 20 burnout symptoms to look out for<–
How Long Does Mom Brain Last
Research has mom brain ‘s approximate life span to be 2 years postpartum, however we all know that moms continue to struggle with symptoms similar to that of mom brain far beyond the 2 year mark. A few reasons this happens is that as moms we often want to be fully engaged in our little one’s childhood, but as individuals we have other personal or career goals that need to be met.
Something needs to give, because the number of hours in a day won’t change. To see different results we need to change the way we do things. Although mom brain technically lasts for 2 years, mom burnout can last a lifetime!
5 tips to help reduce mom brain fatigue
- Order weekly groceries via apps like InstaCart (I do this.)
- Don’t micro manage. When your husband or someone else is in charge of the kids, let them do it their way. Don’t try to “set them up for success” that takes a lot of brain power. They’ll figure it out
- Have breakfast always be the same thing. No need to always come up with new menus. .
- Write down your list of tasks (as they come up). This gives you permission to stop thinking about it at the moment.
- Stop multi tasking. Try to do one thing at a time. Either play with your child OR put things away. Not both at the same time.
- Say no to people. This could reduce your mental load greatly!
Mom Brain Symptoms
Transitioning to motherhood is not only a lifestyle change. There are major changes that happen hormonally all through pregnancy that affect a woman’s physiology and brain for up to 2 years postpartum. The intensity of these changes vary from woman to woman based on their pre-existing personality, but there are clear similarities that are associated with becoming a mom the first time:
- Feeling foggy
- Disorganized line of thought
- Forget common names (like that of your spouse)
- Narrow and intense focus on baby
I distinctly remember not really being interested in other peoples children pre-motherhood. I always knew I wanted to have children of my own but was not the type to take on baby sitting or play with my friends little siblings.
But when I became a mom there was a shift. Not only was I completely drawn to spending time with my baby, I started being interested in other people’s babies too. I have developed a level of empathy for the innonence of childhood that wasn’t in me before. It has come with more understanding and overall patience. It has made me a better person.
How To Get Rid Of Mom Brain
Although it’s not possible to completely get rid of mom brain, there are some things you CAN do to minimize the symptoms and experience less stress around them
- Reduce mental load. Take as much off your plate as possible. The more mental load you carry the more evident mom brain will feel during this time.
- Get sleep. Easier said than done but if baby is sleeping, don’t start house chores. Relax too. Bedsharing is a great option for increasing sleep hours during the first 2 years.
- Lower expectations. Society seems to think that having a baby is the same as getting a puppy. Women should continue as per usual as soon as possible. This makes moms feel greatly inadequate when they are not able to. Mom brain is supposed to be a POSITIVE THING. Society is the problem
- Eat healthy snacks. (–>here are my favorites snacks)
Mom Brain Has Made Me Stronger
It’s clear science is telling us mom brain is here to stay, but I hope at this point you are reassured there is nothing wrong with you. Mom brain is actually making you a better mom! Mother Nature is helping you adjust to motherhood in that special primal way that it does.
Transitioning to motherhood is hard. Despite being a natural process, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Finding support in others and practicing self care daily will help you avoid burn out as today’s society is not designed with parenthood in mind.
Remember though that postpartum anxiety and depression is a real thing and to reach out for help if it’s becoming difficult to cope. Mom brain definitely has me struggling, but I also think. it’s made me stronger.
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