Does Motherhood Make Your Brain Mush? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

I grow mutant babies. They need less sleep that I do. It’s well known that lack of sleep will damage your physical and mental health. I merrily skip off to the istock_000005676893xsmallsupermarket, leaving my car door wide open. I put my tea bags in the fridge and my milk in the cupboard. I occasionally wear my clothes inside out. Even my own family has said my children have freakishly large stomachs regarding the amount of food the injest and still stay skinny. Part of the problem is both boys never stop moving until they pass out.


My brain is just so much fuller now. Obviously the bit of my brain that was meant to be picking out co-ordinating clothes, is otherwise engaged remembering that today is backward’s dress day at my son’s school.


Sometimes I feel guilty. Can this crumpled wild-eyed person fill the shoes of the ‘old’ me? The ‘old’ me was sharp and slim with a challenging mind. It was her (smug little so-and-so) that ran my current business.


I’ve discovered various strategies to work through the fog and the tiredness. I’ve become very organized. I even email myself reminders from home to work. Secondly, I power nap if I can. If an after lunch snooze is good enough for Winston Churchill, my life can spare me for fifteen minutes. Thirdly, I have the benefit of experience and seniority on my side. I can use “Mmmm-hmmm” where before I’d do 10 sides of closely written analysis. I can mentor younger colleagues, and in turn leave some of the number crunching detail for them to work out.


Without wishing to betray the sisterhood, I have to admit that the three months either side of each birth, I have felt drugged by my hormones. My family and friends remind me of things around that time that I absolutely don’t remember. Each person has to find their own way – but my approach is to go easy on myself during this time. I’ve had faith that “I’ll be back”.