Have You Lost Your Mind?!

by : Sherri L Dodd

Have You Lost Your Mind?!

He was fighting me every step of the way, arched back, stiffened legs and an indignant bellow. With my mind focused on securely fastening my toddler in his seat, all else was an insignificant distraction. Even when my remote became wedged between my hipbone and the carseat and locked the doors. Even when my keys, once secured in my pocket, dislodged and fell to the floor. Yes, they were all just distractions. When I accomplished the chaotic task and my son was secured in his babyseat I shut that door and knodded with the confidence of a true champion.

Have you ever had one of those slow-motioned moments when you know you just did something really unintelligent? Well, the ton of bricks hit me right before that door slammed. My stomach sunk and I looked at my babe who was staring back at me through a slightly tinted window with those wide, bright blue eyes waiting for me to make the next move. Thank goodness the windows were cracked and more thanks and goodness that it was a cool Autumn day. But what to do next flooded my head and my heart began to race. Yes, my first thought was that nifty little yellow tow-truck, but how long would it take to reach me? There must be something else I could do, maybe try a little brute strength. I positioned my forearms between the doorjamb and cracked window as if I would miraculously pry it open...fruitless. Then, I journeyed to the back hoping that the trunk would not be locked in conjunction with the rest of the doors...to no avail. It was a terrible moment. Though I was in the family-friendly environment of my older son's swim lessons, I had to face that fact that I would have to acknowledge my glaring blunder in front of all the other kids, parents and teachers who would be observing this whole ordeal unfold.

I rushed to the owner's side, who rushed to her office to phone for help. She immediately called her roadside service. Sensibility began to seap back into my head as I noticed panic rushing into hers. I asked for a wire hanger. Yes, I realized that today's lock tops are not as easily accessible as the flat-disk shaped tops of yesteryear, but why not give it a try. I hustled back to my car and unraveled and retwisted and folded and molded that hanger into a handy widget and fished it down into my car. I weedled it around the middle of the lock at the most subtle indention. I was able to hook and yank it with a mighty jerk. The locks went up, the alarm went off and I opened my door and reached down to my back floor mat to grab those auspicious keys. Roadside was cancelled, I have a new and improved relationship with my son's swimming instructors and hopefully I have learned that some distractions are to be taken very seriously.

Perhaps you have heard the saying that for every child you give birth to a percentage of your brain. Why has it become so common that I forget things? What happen to that efficient, organized and precise thinking that I needed for my job within the high-profile corporation. If I operated in this manner in that environment I would have never made it out alive. Has each of my childred placed a deficiency in my cranial cavity? Aside from the episode above, there have been more oddities: refrigerator doors left open, milk in the cupboard and plenty of burnt meals. As the strangeness began to add up, I found the courage to consult my friends. They too had their heaping share of stories. Feeling better that someone shared my pain; I was compelled to look up more information on the web. I read stories upon stories of moms in the same predicament. I followed this observation up with medical research as to why this happens; and, while even the medical profession could not offer a clear and final explanation, there were plenty of possible excuses offered. Hormones, the fact that the brain shrinks during pregnancy (supposedly to return to normal size thereafter), post partum depression symptom, sleep deprivation and finally the distractions and chaos that come with raising children all surmised the malady quite well. The last two I am going to grasp and hold on to as my alibi...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Think of the distractions your mind inherits once you find out you are pregnant - all those things that could go wrong before the baby comes, plus you have to eat for you and for the baby. During childbirth, you may turn down painkillers or epidurals - for the baby. Zero to six months are dedicated to avoiding newborn dangers and providing comfort for the baby. Toddlerhood is your period of safety precautions (aka - 'more and more dangers') for the baby. Kindergarten yields its own new discoveries of parental inadequacy and so on. One friend who is currently tormented by her oldest son's first year of middle school, says that not only does she worry about her own peaks and valleys, but now her son's middle school insecurities are fed directly into her as well. Till you are smiling down from heaven above, you will be worrying about your children and how to keep them safe, healthy and happy. Obvious, right? Well, if it is so obvious why do we as moms, wonder why our ability to focus, process information and remember things has gone to the birds? Why are we secretly wondering what is wrong with us and whether or not we are clinically losing it or just showing the early signs of senility? Why do moms begin to label themselves as stupid (a common occurance in the chatroom scripts I read), less than adequate or incapable of furthering themselves in an intellectual manner, with intellectual people?

I am encouraging all of you once fiercely sharp women to forgive this phase of your mental life. The distraction of raising children is reason enough to miss a couple cues during your daily routine. Add any type of medical matter to this package and you are to be given extra allowance of compassion. While we are so lucky to experience our children's delight and victories as they grow, so must we endure their pain and sorrow. In doing so, it can overwhelm, divert and consume our every thought. While I would love to give you the timetable of recovery, I cannot. I can only look at the many other moms and grandmothers who are still thriving and be inspired that no matter how much ‘matter’ you lose, there is still a chance to live a wonderfully fruitful life well into your golden years, kids included!