Before you became a mum, you probably had a successful career and were more organised than Martha Stewart. Now, a few months later, with a baby in tow, you’re alarmed to find that you have what’s popularly dubbed as “mummy brain” or “momnesia”.
In other words, you’ve become very forgetful, disorganised and have a clock that seems out of sync with the world.
Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal for new parents. Your priorities have changed now because your baby depends on you for nourishment, love, stimulation… in fact, everything.
You focus all your attention on her, especially in the early days. Her needs come first, way ahead of anything else.
Besides, your baby doesn’t run on schedule. You may plan to meet your mum for coffee in the afternoon when you expect her to sleep in her stroller. But she may have different plans.
For example, she might poop just as you are about to leave home, or feel unwell, which means an unexpected trip to the doctor.
She has endless ways of sabotaging your plans at a moment’s notice. She pulls your attention towards her when you intended to focus on something else.
Add to the mix exhaustion from night feeds, a smattering of irritation caused by unsolicited advice from the grandparents, and you have a complete recipe for “mummy brain”.
There is even some evidence from small-scale scientific studies that suggest that momnesia may be linked to changes in a new mother’s brain neurology following the birth of her baby.
(Also read: 10 things every new mum should remember)
How you can overcome momnesia
If you devote everything to the care, nourishment and stimulation of your baby, naturally, you’ll have less to give elsewhere, and hence the onset of mummy brain.
That’s why it makes sense to catch up on sleep whenever possible – even a catnap of half an hour can have a positive effect, leaving you more refreshed and focused.
You can also help yourself by cutting down on the things you need to remember. For example, resist making appointments one or two months ahead, particularly when your new arrival is still weeks old.
The reality is that while you might be lucky enough to remember the agreed day and time, chances are that some baby-related plans will jeopardise your schedule.
So, don’t be ambitious. You’ll have more time later on when her routine is more settled and predictable.
When you do arrange to catch up with your friends or pick up the groceries from the supermarket (load up on these foods that can improve your memory!), save it in your phone calendar and set an alarm.
You can also stick a note on your fridge with a magnet – if it isn’t easily visible, you’ll almost certainly forget about it.
Even then, you need to make it a point to check your calendar daily, or you’ll simply forget what you’ve diligently noted down.
And don’t forget to share the load with your husband. He can pick up the diapers from the supermarket on the way home, or schedule the air-conditioner’s annual service. It doesn’t always have to be you.
With these strategies, you give yourself less to remember. That increases the likelihood that momnesia will just be a brief phase in your parenthood journey.