I’ve had false alarms for years, but the other day it finally happened. I lost my last remaining pre-mommy brain cell. After 13 years, it’s official: Motherhood ate my brain.
The lawsuit I’m planning to file against my three children names my mind as the victim, and the damages I hope to recover include… six American Girl dolls, 1.27 million Lego blocks, and my 12-year-old’s collection of Beatles CDs?
I guess it’s not worth it.
No, motherhood ate my brain and nothing I do will bring it back.
I could live with this side effect of motherhood were it not for the fact that while my brain dwindled my waistline expanded.
I never thought I would be one of “those” women who let herself go while caring for her children. I’m not sure how it happened. I worked very hard to develop a mommy style that could withstand chocolate pudding and sweet potato stains while retaining some of my pre-mom style. When I look at pictures of me with my first two babies, I can still recognize Kathy ca. 1997.
But, I think it was just one too many mommy crises that did me in.
Two rides in an ambulance with Tom because of allergic reactions to peanuts, five MRIs for Lizzy, plus one 48 hour brain scan, two surgeries for Peter, countless speech, occupational and physical therapists coming in and out of my house for each child, a calender full of meetings for three different schools, a husband who commutes and does not get home till late, a host of specialist and late night calls from doctors that scared the bejeezus out of me, and much, much more!
Being the obsessive and compulsive person I am, I could tell you the origin and situation of each pound gained, each pound lost, and each pound re-gained.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t react to every stressful situation by eating. Before I had my children, the stress of life may have caused me to gain a pound or two, but then my life would go back to “normal” and so would my weight. What am I supposed to do when crazy is the new normal?
This year, after countless weight loss programs, work-out DVDs and trips to the gym I made the resolution to not make any resolutions about my weight. Being a fan of the author Geneen Roth long before Oprah found her, I thought it would be easy to go back to the conscious way of eating she prescribes. It worked in my twenties and half of my thirties with great success.
I would eat when I was hungry and feel my feelings when I wasn’t. I would slow down, enjoy my food in a relaxing and stress-free enviroment. How hard could it be to go back to my pre-mom ways of eating?
The other night is a perfect illustration of just how hard it is going to be.
The children and I were eating dinner together, which we do most weeknights because my husband gets home too late to join us. I was sitting there trying to enjoy my dinner and listen to my hunger.
I was dealing with a wonderful case of tween attitude from my 12-year-old son and trying my best to not engage in an argument over his bedtime. At the same time, my youngest decided that he would try to eat his dinner, which was pasta, without any hands. My daughter, who has special needs, was in her own world talking to herself one minute, laughing at her brother the next, and occasionally screaming out of frustration to add some variety.
I wish I could say this was unusual, but it’s not. What was unusual, was my complete lack of patience. I couldn’t muster one ounce of compassion and sat there fuming. I was tired and cranky and had had enough. At that moment, I could throw each child out the door or do something equally drastic.
I started to give my usual spiel of: Tom don’t argue with me… Peter, don’t eat like a puppy, and… Come on Lizzy focus. But, this time using the years of vocal training my parents paid for, I sang it in my best opera voice.
All logic went out the window. My mom brain took completely over as I insisted that if my son was going to continue to argue with me he was going to have to sing it. There we were, four people having our own little production of “Mommy’s finally flipped.”
Suffice it to say, we all started laughing. And I got through another meal without selling one of my children.
Our little production made such an impression on Lizzy that the next day I learned from her teacher that when she couldn’t move her chair to her satisfaction she started to complain by singing in an operatic voice.
“Isn’t that funny Kathy, where could she have picked that up?”
Oddly enough it was on this night that I knew all my pre-mom brain cells were gone. And I had a pretty good idea of how not only I reached my present size, but how hard it was going to be to find my way back. It’s very hard to listen to your hunger when the noise of your children blocks it out.
Knowing my obsessive nature I trust I will find the balance between the stressed-out mom I am and the healthy, in-shape mom I have yet to become. I do enjoy the gym and have more physical stamina then I have had in years. I also make fairly good food choices, most days.
After all, it did take me almost 13 years to get here. I just hope it doesn’t take me another 13 years to return.
What a wonderful gift to be able to sing opera:)
A friend of mine once told me that your mind turns to mush once you have kids – I didn’t believe her… until I had my own:)
Thanks for sharing:)
You can get it back way quicker 13 years 🙂 Just starting is the hardest part… keeping it up is the next hardest part. I love the singing idea 🙂 Nice to see you this evening 🙂
Grumpy Grateful Mom says
If you start flipping out regularly it won’t be so much of a shock–I know! I think it’s hilarious you sang opera and much more memorable. 🙂
You have had so much happening in your life. I can see why you needed some food love! Ice cream is my best friend when I am having a rough time. I was out the other day and nearly had a meltdown!
Romina Garcia says
Don’t be so bloody hard on yourself – you are doing a WONDERFUL job…with a sense of humour no less.
You have a lot on your plate – pardon the pun
I am EXACTLY like you when I’m feeling stressed out. Just keep on riding that wave!!
Meanwhile I’ve crashed the brand new family car twice in 3 weeks. How? Parking the bloody thing. My mind is officially mush as well.
Wish we lived closer, we could have a drink and toast our mushy brains together.
If you like to exercise, you’re off to a fantastic start 🙂 I agree about Mommy Brain syndrome. And that I didn’t think it would happen to me… yah right! And quiet, mindful eating? HAHAHA maybe at 2am when everyone else is sleeping.Except eating in the middle of the night defeats the whole weightloss thing. LOL
Thanks for all the great comments. It is so frustrating but it is funny. Nina you are right about 2am being the only time for mindful eating, but I agree, that would defeat the purpose! Lol!
Romina, you poor thing! Why do we only get into fender benders when the car is new? I don’t think singing would help with that!
I do highly recomend singing though when you are about to loose it, at least we can amuse ourselves while our brains are in mom meltdown!
Thanks again everyone, I really enjoy reading all your blogs and so appreciate the support you give me on mine! I wish us all a mindful week, or at least a good laugh!
Thank you for this post, I loved it. I love the way you brought everyone back with your singing! Love, love, love your posts!
Coupons Make Cents says
We sang going over a bridge recently and my prepubescent child could died. ;). I love how you turned the whole thing around-that’s not mommy brain, that’s SMART!
Rebecca Dunning says
Love the song!!!!! I sing to them to when nothing else works but don’t think it sounds good at all. LOL> Dropping by from vboks. Hope you’ll follow, as I am. http://www.rebeccalynndunning.blogspot.com
Mom of 12 says
That sounds like a brilliant idea! At least a great way to get their attention…
Mel~ @ Lifestwistedstitches.com says
I absolutely can relate to this story, right down to the point of SINGING my FRUSTRATION and laughing to death as a result! I was a voice major in college and find it a release still when I’m at the breaking point. You really ARE just like me 🙂
The chaos of my home the special needs of my kiddos and the ever expanding waist-line are all things I feel ever exasperated by. Yes, this post IS very similar to what I put out there this week. Can I please link yours with my Meme?! Let me know, and if you like I’ll set it up!
An Irish Italian Blessing says
I think you handled the situation well! You gained everyones attention without getting upset or frustrated 🙂 I admire that. I always heard it was pregnancy brain first, then it’s mommy brain, nobody has ever told me when you actually get it back. I hope it’s sooner than 13 years 🙂
Love reading your posts and most especially ‘More coffee. Amen’ on VoiceBok. Mommies have too much on their plate sometimes.
Atta girl! I’ve often said I only have 2 remaining brain cells and they’re always fighting. As for the weight, hunny I feel ya on every level. I am always reminding myself to eat ONLY when I’m hungry and STOP when I’m full. Sounds easy but it’s not.
Six kids and with the youngest just turning 4, I have no reason to look like I’ve had six kids anymore. I will get these 40lbs off. I just know it. So me and the 15 year old went halfs on P90X. Day 4 and I HATE it! But I love it two. Only 4 days and I have little guns on my arms again. May take a while for the wings to totally disappear 🙁
You keep on keeping on mama. I’m your fan!
Sharon from voiceboks.com
Thank you all so much! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the brain cell department or with the struggle with extra weight!
I post this blog on Momster.com as well and someone who reads me there said it is the divine plan that we loose our brain cells because who would keep doing this, day after day if they had their complete mind! (I paraphrased this, because, as I have said, no more brain cells! Lol!) This makes sense to me!! Thanks again for the support, it means so much to me! Much love to all!
I wish you all the luck with it! 😀
Very good Kathy, very funny and truthful and we have all been there! and still am. Kathy I love the singing.It reminds me of when I would wash your hair and sing songs from south pacific! As I held your hair under the faucet!Just to keep calm!Your sisters would cry! lots of fun!Not easy being a Mom
My mother used to tell us all the time she had mommy brain. We used to roll our eyes. Now I totally get it. Love that you started singing! I will have to try that next time I find myself in an argument with my son about eating the TV. No, that’s not a typo! 🙂
Rachel Joy says
You may have lost your brain to motherhood, but I can tell you’ve got lots of heart. And of the two, I’d say that’s the more important organ!
“”Isn’t that funny Kathy, where could she have picked that up?”
BAHAHAHAHA! I love your writing style. It is so easy to read and you have such a wonderful sense of humor.
If it makes you feel any better – I am eating a bag of chips for breakfast. Eeek!
You can do it! You are wonderful! And one day you will look in the mirror and realize that with every ounce of effort you put into parenting your 3 sweet children, you managed to find a few of those brain cells you were missing!
I am not looking forward to my little man turning 12! lol
Thanks for your thoughtful comments over at NN as well! <3 You are lovely!
Becky Jane says
Is there such a thing as brain cell rejuvenation? Maybe we could invent it and put it on the market…we’d make a fortune…lol
I think the opera singing was the perfect solution and the fact that your daughter picked this up as a new way of expressing her frustration or anger is a good thing. Isn’t it?
You crack me up!! I just found you a few days ago via VoiceBoks, I’m so glad I did. I’ve awarded you the lovely blog award! Check it out!
Thank you so much for all the great comments! It is so great to know that I am not the only mom who has lost her brain!! I am grateful that I have not lost my sense of humor, that would be a problem!!! Much love!
SoMo Mom says
See, this is why I love mommy blogs. They make me feel ‘normal’ … whatever that is!
Kim from The Sheep's Nest says
Oh my gosh Kathy, I can so relate. I think my girls sometimes think I’ve lost it when I break into song! Of course, my voice is not as beautiful as yours, but I still sing at the top of my lungs!
Hello friend. Oh how I miss interacting with you. That same voice is screwing with my indecisiveness but this is about you not me. I lost the preggers weight by listening or more just being an ass about it LOL I drank very little mostly no soda. I tried to only have one snack at night and none all day long and eat 3 meals as well as eliminate the fast food. It is hard when you are frustrated and dinner tastes so good! I love the singing, really singing and for me dancing makes any and all situations better and lighter. And I am only 8 months in and have lost tons of brain cells I am so screwed later. I hope we can connect on my blog once I get all this crap figured out! And now I will blame brain cells and the lack there of!
Kim it’s so funny, Tom heard Joe ask me what I was writing about and as I was telling him, Tom turned to me and said “You can’t write about that!! People are going to think we are so weird!!!” Joe and I said something like that is what we live for, to completly humilate them!! Lol! You have a beautiful voice, but actually it helps if you sing badly, it makes it for fun for you and more horrible for them!! Lol! Thank you so much for commenting!!
And, thanks to everyone, I know I always write this, but it really means so much to me that you all visit and take the time to comment!! Much love to all!!
Lisa Ladrido says
This was a great post! What a wonderful way of dealing with it without resorting to yelling, like I may have done all those years ago!
Following you from VoiceBoks!~Lisa
Shaking Off My Booty!
Not Your Ordinary Agent says
Awesome awesome awesome. I love every part of this post. You’re an amazing writer, an awesome mother and an opera singer?!! Incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. You were able to turn a very frustrating situation into entertainment and come out ok. I am going to try this the next time I have one of those moments, which is pretty regularly these days with my 3 year old and almost 2 year old!!!! Thank you!!!!
-Becky from VB
Christin Vance says
Hehe… what a great post. I wonder what I’ll be like after being a mom for 13 years… still got a ways to go as my oldest is only two and a half. But I’m sure I’m going to be insane the way it’s going now!! Hope you have a great week. Stopping by from vB.
Sharon from Mama's Turn Now says
I love this. I have done the whole singing or else I will loose it thing before… I guess a few too many times because my 10 year old Asperger son has affectionately named these outbursts “Mom’s Nervous Break Down Song!” As for the weight thing… I have an extra 15lbs that have become a little too comfortable on my backside! Great post. I would like to include the link on my weekly wrap up on Sunday where I posts my favorite 5 top blogs of the week!
Hi! Visiting you from vB. Just had to say, “You’re not alone. Sometimes my husband look at each other and just start laughing because of the 6 different conversations/songs/noise going on, all at the same time. If only our hearing would go, not our brain cells!
Beck Gambill says
That was a great post! Who needs brain cells anyway, sounds like you’re a wonderful mommy without them! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, I appreciated your comments.
I’m not really sure I know a mom that ISN’T dealing with stress and extra weight and being on the verge of losing it…present company included. But I have to say, I LOVE the singing idea. Gotta try that next time.
Following from vB!
Susie B. Homemaker says
Haha, love the line ‘Crazy is the new normal’! 😀 And yes, after 3 girls I’d say I have mommy brain- ie. I sometimes catch myself doing some pretty wacky stuff. lol Love how you handled the dinner situation though.
Alicia S. says
I am NO singer, but I have definitely done this with my toddler. I love when I think I’m so crazy for the things that I do parenting my kids — only to find out that so many other moms are just as nuts as I am!
Alicia S. says
lol, and Melanie’s comment made me laugh. My husband and I just look at eachother, shake our heads and laugh too.
Larri @ Seams Inspired says
Laughing because all my braincells are gone too. Between Mommyhood and pre-menopause there is no hope to gain any cells back! ;o)
Thanks for the fabulous post. I’m right there with you, sweet bloggy friend! :o) Happy Thursday!
Katie S. says
This post had me cracking up- although I will say, my only daughter is only 6 months old and you now have me terrified for the future. But I love that you take it all on with such a sense of humor!
This is seriously the best blog post ever! I shared it with my Facebook friends!! 🙂
Love it!! I think they suck your brain cells out as they are developing in you! Which would be why they are so quick witted and smart and we are increasingly forgetful! You make me giggle!!!
Hahaha.. LOL !
I remember the first months after my first one was born.. i literally felt my braincells being pushed to every corner by the new mommycells and there was no turning back.
And perhaps there’s no reason to turn back – better to just enjoy the memories, with that sense of humour, your desire for change and good spirit, you’ll rock these extras off 🙂
Thanks for the visit – I really liked your comment 🙂
Jenn @ Coolest Family on the Block says
Oh my, there’s no hope for me! I used to sing “opera” for no apparent reason at all long before I had children, and I used to dance in the grocery store. Now I’m too tired to sing and dance. Let’s all take a nap and dream about musicals.
I love that you started randomly singing opera. Although I’m sure you didn’t think it through first it seems like it was the perfect solution to the situation!
Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting and following! I love your blog 🙂 Please tell me that you’re going to add an email subscription box right away so that I can follow you back! I can never keep up with a feed or GFC 🙁 I miss out on a lot of great blogs that way. Thanks again for the visit!
What a FABULOUS idea! 🙂 This is my favorite line in your post: I got through another meal without selling one of my children. I have felt this way many nights. I could also say bedtime… Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in feeling that motherhood ate my brain, too.
Hi Kathy! Thanks for the follow. My brain cells are gone, too. Darn kids – gotta love them!
Love it. It’s those unexpected responses that catch them off guard, right? Too funny. And I loved your post about your daughter’s dance recital too…always fun to visit here.
Spilled Milkshake says
Love this!!! So great that you all could start singing to save the day. I would have just started screaming and regretted it and felt guilty all night and everyone would have been miserable.
Visiting from voiceBoks!
Nate Shenkitup says
I recently watched this ridiculous 90’s Sci-Fi film where there where alien bugs that chased humans and ate, or sucked rather, their brains out. I couldn’t help but picture your little ones doing that. Now I’m disturbed, but thankful your children are in fact children and not brain-eating-alien bugs. 😛
Not to freak you out but don’t be so sure my children aren’t brain-eating-alien bugs!!! I have had at least one of the darlings home sick since they went back to school last week!! Lol!! They are very sweet kids, they just have a mom with no brain left!! Thanks so much for commenting!!
haha Oh my yes, I think my pre-mommy brain is going too.. I think sadly it’s going faster, as my oldest is ONLY 3. Although he is like having 2 or 3 kids all together at times. 😉 I have these dreams of being my marriage weight.. but then I ate like a bird. Food is comforting now, and breastfeeding is my excuse.. Oh I dread the day bf’ing is gone and I have no weight loss program yet! My brain, it will continue to go. Lol I so understand that dinner, my husband and I give each other those “looks” and then sip our sparkling ciders. haha
I love reading your posts! 🙂
Kathy Radigan says
Sarah I wish I could tell you it gets better, but alas it does not, at least on the mommy brain drain. I think on the food thing most women seem to get the hang of it, and I am confident I will too!! Thanks so much for coming over!
My two children are only 15 months and my brain is already gone! Is it possible to end up with a deficit?
Very funny story, thank you!
Kathy Radigan says
Oh I’m in deficit spending now!! Lol!! Thanks for coming by!