The Difference Between Mom Brain and Needing an MRI

Today, I envisioned myself being interviewed on a reality show. What would my dialogue be? Just beeping.

A lot of beeping.

Not the “I’m saying bad words in an angry rage” beeping, just, like, laughing with indiscernible talking and beeping because my brain is misfiring.

All of America watching would be like, “OMG WUT but I hope they don’t medicate her before the season ends so it doesn’t stop, LOL!” and there would be memes of me all over the place the next day.

I think this is my real life sometimes. Brain malfunctions. Forgetfulness. I’m not sure if I even make sense to the guys at the carwash anymore.

Actually, I’m sure they’ve already written me off as the “WUT” category after going through the car wash multiple times in a row with my boys. (We have a monthly membership for my boys’ enjoyment, so we literally get popcorn at a soda shop first, drive through the car wash a few times while they eat it, and then vacuum up the popcorn that is all over the car before we leave. We wave every single time we see the same, non-expressive guy. I used to change sunglasses, but that made it weirder.)

Anyway.

I’ve voiced my concerns to Brian about my brain’s capabilities seeming suddenly sub par. The headspace that was once a very efficient, sharp, creative funland is now…taking a sabbatical. Am I ok? Don’t even ask my where my keys are. Next thing I know, I’m probably going to start paying full price for clothes at Baby Gap like a full fledged idiot.

I’ve told Brian I’ve wanted an MRI for years. Three or four years. Same amount of time I’ve had children…interesting.

I know, I’m currently pregnant. I AM on a medication that truly makes me tired (don’t worry, hair clients, I write down my color formulas), but I don’t know if it’s that + mom-brain full throttle, or if I need a neurologist. I’ve been self-diagnosing.

The key to this diagnosis, though, is to first decipher mom-brain from everything else that will force you to read the fine print of your insurance coverage.

Mom brain is a bunch of browser tabs consistently open in your head, at all times. Right? I mean, even on Black Friday, I get confused and overwhelmed with nine pages open at the same time, and I am hiiiighly motivated then.

Mothers may be seemingly more discombobulated because they have tabs on tabs. We can’t be flitting through all of these tabs 789027054x per second. Ask anyone at Apple. Memory is not infinite… unless you’re going to pay for that.

Browser Tabs constantly opened in a mom brain:

Home
Groceries
School Schedules
Work
Car Pool Rotation
Paw Patrol Names
Laundry Switching to the Dryer
Appointments
Church Obligations
Husband’s Work Schedule
Last Four of Your Own Social
Hair Washing Cycle
Passwords
Bill Payments
Gym
Friends
People You Never Texted Back
Sports Practices and Games
Kids Birthdays
(Don’t look at me like that when I pause to think, pediatrician office girl.)

Even an iPhone X would freeze under the browser abuse!

Justice. For. Moms.
Say it again.
JUSTICE FOR MOMS!!!

I explained this to Brian while cleaning the kitchen with no pants (in the least sexy, “I took off my pants because I just feel fat but don’t throw out the rest of that pizza” way), and an ill fitting shirt that says VACATIONLAND on the front.

He gave me a hug.

I just need to buy iCloud space for my brain. It’s at capacity. Possibly some glitches, but full memory over here. Can I save my high school math skills on an external hard drive and delete it from my brain? (In actuality, the “math” tab in my brain cannot be occupying significant space.)

I still want the MRI to be safe.

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One of the Best Things About Boys & Why I’m a Little Jealous

As a mom, I can always gauge my babies’ ages by my favorite little sweet spot on the back of their necks.

Do you know the place I’m describing?

It’s right where their little heads wobble when they’re brand new, raising their heads from their daddy’s shoulder with no little effort, trying REALLY hard to check out the world around them for the first time.

It’s where that little roll forms when determined babies lift their heads when they protest tummy time.

It’s the spot that fluffy little baby bird hair covers when not-quite-a-baby babies need their first haircuts.

After a birthday or two, that little spot slowly fills in. It’s strong. It’s not as rounded. The shoulders do the same thing as toddlers turn into little boys or girls.

Does this sound weird? It can’t if you’re a parent who has spent a BILLION hours laying down with your child. Sick, to sleep, playing hide and seek in the exact same spot over and over…you know.

Roscoe still has that little spot. Gus? it’s barely distinguishable.

After many nights of laying with him as he falls asleep (but mostly during failed naptimes) (I know naptimes are over for him, but I still try out of desperation), I’ve admitted it. My baby boy grew into a little boy. B-O-Y.

He headed to preschool this week and he couldn’t have been more excited. I know I’m his mom, but I could gush about him forever.

The best, most enviable part of boys is that no matter how broad their shoulders get, no matter how tall and strong they grow, they never really grow up.

Not in 100% totality. Sure, boys grow into “men,” and definitions may vary… but all the best men I know still have a little bit of boy in them.

That ease, that ability to separate themselves from their other roles and titles of responsibility to let loose for a minute, the ageless appreciation for the funny if not immature…all of it. If you look at an elderly man’s eyes when he laughs, a younger boy is still visible there.

(In general, I don’t think women can shake off their stresses/motherhood responsibilities/worries as easily. Women would argue that is favorable, or that someone has to be the adult…but, maybe, it’s suicidal to that youthful, lively, sometimes abandoned side of us.)

My husband is this way. I love this about him. He is a mature, professional, and driven adult, but…treading water underneath all the work clothes, contracts, work emails, phone calls that interrupt dinner, bills, and daddy duties is that super fun, charming, seventeen year old boy.

Brian had his longest running Fantasy Football League in town, and they were ridiculous.

I’m a big fan.

To determine their draft pick, these men (I didn’t use quotation marks around that as not to offend anyone), who are adult professionals, shed blood racing through a bounce house obstacle course, sweat through a home run derby, raced scooters, pounded soda and hot wings in a contest…and I didn’t ask for elaboration beyond any of that.

My only real contribution was generic Advil.

I’m grateful my little guys have a strong daddy, who will help raise them into great men who never lose sight of the boy inside.

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Baby GIRL!

There are a dozen or so milestone moments in your lifetime that are completely surreal. They elicit so many overwhelming emotions competing for the spotlight, there truly are no words to describe them.

Getting a long awaited positive pregnancy test and learning gender of EACH of my babies was incredible.

Discovering our baby is a GIRL yesterday added to these once-in-a-lifetime, total Cloud 9 moments.

We waited an extra couple of hours to do a gender reveal. I’m too antsy…I never could handle the wait with my other two pregnancies! Even though I love my friends and a party, I loved having just my little family gathered (with my photog friend Chelsea). I didn’t think of entertaining, food, or anything else. We were totally undistracted and absorbed the moment!

(Brian had previously joked that he only makes boys because of his Mountain Dew and fried chicken intake, and I was totally THRILLED with the three boy family I’d half anticipated…but me closing my eyes as I opened the box suggests that deep down, a girl tipped my hope’s scales.)

Don’t ask how much I’ve already spent on her wardrobe! We CANNOT wait for February.

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Current Real Life

Oh, hey. Let me sit down here and tell you real stuff.

Every time I’ve started writing lately, I get distracted by thoughts of, “Is this okay to write? Will this offend someone? Is this supposed to look more professional? Will a bigger platform pick this up? Do people need to know what I bought from the Nordstrom sale? Is my curling iron on from this morning? Do I need to write about blah blah blah on my blog? #ontheblog? Holy crap, am I thinking in hashtags?” I get a little stage fright and scrap it all.

Orrrr, I just get distracted, period.

Past about 9:00, it’s over. That’s when I stand in the shower, which is like some kind of time warping black hole, and I always seem to get out about…an embarrassing amount of time later.

(I am not saving water, but I don’t wash my hair that often, so, I’ll call it a draw.)

After my shower, I take out my contacts and inevitably pick my face for twenty minutes.

That’s my night.

Tonight, though, I want to write about my day. It was uninteresting to most, but with a crazy next couple of weeks, I was SO thrilled to have an entire, open scheduled day with my little best buddies. We went to Sonic, dumped Ocean Water drinks all over the car (and ceiling..?) before we even arrived to our destination, and wandered Home Goods.

My POI (point of interest) of the day was me crying in Home Goods. Actual tears. That’s because a.) Home Goods is sacred, and b.) Gus and Roscoe in awe of all the toys made me tear up. Sometimes I forget how little they are! Their teeny hands holding potentially new coloring books, bending down to examine them in the little squat only the youngest kids can do. They both looked like babies next to the towering shelves of toy cars. Are they not babies, though? They’re just teeny little guys, yet Gus is starting school next month! How did this happen?!

I turned my head from the Home Goods toy shelves and there were BACKPACKS! They’re ruining summer! They were lined up in all their glory behind the infant section. How fitting. Just so poignantly appropriate. So symbolic! Let it stand as painful foreshadowing to all the new moms shopping for newborn footie pajamas–emoji backpacks are looming closely behind! It was tender and heartbreaking and I just love my boys so much, and that’s when I started crying.

Of course, I bought my boys the B-listed, running-out-of-battery toys they wanted, and told myself that guy Bryan from The Bachelorette’s crazy mom is just so relatable. So misunderstood.

(I also bought newborn blankets because I have a lot of feelings (and a dozen friends having babies), as well as a sparkly lunchbox for myself to take to work. I’ll match all the Lisa Frank-deprived seven year olds of 2017.)

I’m borderline flipping out about school starting this year. This is the beginning. It’s starting. The schedules! The homework! Outside influences! Missing my kids at school! My friends tell me I won’t miss them…but what if I do? I will! Should I sort out my expired teaching license to stalk my kids forever?

I’m getting all weepy that our almost four year long, never ending summer is coming to an end. I never want my “supers” to grow up. (And I never want to really care if all my #ontheblog photos are professional.)

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Things Parents Fib About: Enjoying the Tantrum Thrower

My parents lied to me.

My siblings and I would often lure my parents with, “Who is your favorite child?” They’d both respond, “We don’t have a favorite! We like you all the same!”

Really?

(Maybe that was code for, “Not you.”)

I loooove my kids both equally, and it’s a smothering, obsessive, endless, completely unconditional love; however, as a mother of a two and three year old, my level of fondness per child correlates with the level/volume of whining per child.

Of course, I’m not TELLING them that, but I hope they can read between the lines. Like, I’ll ALWAYS be obsessed with you, kids, but he who whines the least will get away with the most, you get me? I’m tired. I’ll pick my battles. I’ll overlook you sneaking a few bites of ice cream before 9am.

Shoot, I’ll even just Instagram story my child that drew on the bathtub with my only Chanel lipstick if he’s been nice.

The other one, though? The one who has been kicking on the floor all morning? The one who unloaded his dresser during the one minute he was sent to his room?

You’re going to make me break my Botox, sweetheart.

This whole concept was reiterated this morning. I was lying in bed with a headache, and Roscoe woke up earlier than normal. He plowed through the morning in full I AM TWO fashion: he yelled at me for juice, yelled at me for cereal, and then he yelled at me because I poured the wrong cereal. I also turned on the wrong episode of his favorite cartoon…I faced the music for that. His shrill whining continued when I tried to sneak back in bed instead of watch Blaze with him (which I’ve made very clear is NOT my favorite show of his), and when I left anyway, he spent the next hour (literally, bad headache) sitting on my head, manually opening my eyes, crying, and occasionally throwing himself down on Brian’s pillow in an unrelenting rage only a two year old can muster.

So this is it, huh? Second child, but first stamp on my Terrible Twos passport.

My other little guy, Gus, slept in until 8:30, was happy to eat the stale Costco muffin left on the counter from the night before, and played with his cars. He came in to say good morning, grabbed my phone to pull up his playlist, and spent the rest of the morning dancing his little heart out in another room, pretending to surf to Beach Boys.

At that moment, I was guilty of having a favorite. It was the child not poking my pupils.

In that moment, I also realized that my mom probably didn’t like me from 2001-20…now?

Suddenly, mercifully, Roscoe flipped his two-year-old switch from sour to sweet. We snuggled at nap time. He fell asleep in my arms for the first time in over a year, and all his offenses of the morning faded away. I fell in love with that perfect little face and fluttery eyelashes all over again, and held my baby boy for much longer than necessary.

I can’t help but wonder if my children gravitate toward a parent they’re most partial to in the same, unsaid-but-can’t-blame-them way. Brian is way more fun than I am, so after his sports knowledge is factored in…ugh. I better work on my patience, or apply for a Target Redcard to buy their love with 5% off.

Rough day with this two-year-old little dude. I’m always grateful for the tomorrows of life.

(And just for the record, it was decided amongst my siblings years ago that my parents’ favorite child is Colby. We aren’t mad.)

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Family Vacation: The Ultimate Involuntary Workout

The ultimate summer workout doesn’t involve much gym time, but I can promise this: you will be sore, and you will be tired.

It is called “family vacation.”

Total body workout includes:

1. CARDIO. Your cardio routine will begin as soon as your car is put in reverse backing out of the driveway. Run back into the house at least five times for forgotten items. Did you adjust the thermostat? Did you remember the iPad charger? Are you sure you locked the front door? Really sure? Way to go the extra mile and hurdle over the garage door sensor on your way back out the third time. I am convinced that traveling with a large family is how Bruce Jenner stayed in decathlon shape, back when his family was young, and back when he was a he.

2. UPPER BODY. When you’ve got ninos in the backseat, upper body is what your car’s co-pilot seat is all about. You’ll have the opportunity to stretch unused muscles and contort yourself while fishing for dropped items. It would be unfathomable to wait another 20 minutes until you stop at Jack in the Box to rescue that Paw Patrol figurine wedged in the seat crack between Graham crackers. It’s just like having Jillian Michaels yelling at you…for free!

You may have a seat belt rash on your neck from being nearly decapitated, but did I not promise you soreness?

3. LOWER BODY. Unloading the car will provide you with ample squatting/ bending/lifting opportunities. If you’ve got a great workout support team like I do, they’ll hide necessities all over the car and keep you running back to get them, individually. Oh, wait. The wipes. Oh, and where’s his other shoe? Oh…the stinky diaper. Did we leave that in the trunk? Good looking out, team. At least when you arrive up the elevator for the third time, your family will switch up the USA chant for, “M-O-M! D-A-D!”

Just kidding, they won’t care, but they will point out that you dropped the iPhone charger in the parking lot, and they’re wondering when it’s time to eat.

4. Upper body, again. If there is a pool, and you have little kids, it will be assumed that you are a shot-put Olympian. You will launch all of your posterity, one at a time, “one mo’ time,” over and over. And one more time for a picture. It was blurry, though, so one more. Your arms may be on fire, but when it comes down to it, you’ll toss your kids a million times over for those laughs.

5. CARB LOAD. I don’t know, but it’s vacation, so it just seems right.

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California-ing and Wondering When Webster’s Going to Employ Me

Vacation mode. I want to say something like, “It’s where your mind is, not where your feet are,” but my mind wanders away from me exponentially more often than I’d consider myself vacationing.

Currently: trying to figure out how to sleep my little family in one room, with a two and three-year-old who both still nap, and a two-year-old who is a little big for the pack and play but won’t go to sleep without one, climbs out sporadically, and spends an hour at bedtime trying to find other people in the dark room using echolocation style squawking.

In fact, I’m writing this at 6:40am as I’m feeding that little two-year-old Goldfish crackers to keep him quiet. Low volume cartoons aren’t helping the cause with the occasional, “I WANT THAT,” at every commercial.

Sooo I’m not sure if he caught the vacation mode drift.

I’m readjusting my original vacation mode statement to, “It’s not where you are, it’s where your child who doesn’t sleep later than 8AM is.”

Roscoe sure is a cutie, though!

Other than being a little tired, Gus and Roscoe have been having the time of their lives. You can tell by the photos that Roscoe is still lukewarm about beaches…

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To My Stay At Home Mom Friends: You’re My Heroes

To the moms that refer to themselves as “just a mom”:

You are everything that I hope to become.

This can further be summarized by saying, “You’re the (little poo emoji)!”

Instead, I’ve chosen to use more eloquent (mature?) words, because this has become a personal, deeply moving topic for me. You stay at home moms have been on my mind often the past several months.

Let me back up before I continue.

I was raised by a father who grew up farming. I legitimately don’t know if you’ve ever seen a man with bigger calves or more muscular, callused hands. The ability to earn a living was often discussed, with emphasis on “earn.” His fatherly preaching? Don’t stumble over feelings of entitlement, work hard, don’t expect to always be taken care of, education is crucial, and women developing a skillset that will give them the ability to financially support their families know what’s up with Survival 101.

(I’m sure that went over my head for a good while, but when I spread my wings, I was grateful for the realistic perspective.)

My dad wasn’t necessarily a feminist, but he very much applauded and encouraged women’s self-reliance, married or not. (A woman empathetic to the effort required to make ends meet makes a great partner, right?)

Because of that, I have MAJOR admiration for women in the workforce. Whether they’re employed out of necessity or by choice, their representation in every sort of job fills me with pride.I could go on and on about women with successful careers. For a long time, I was one of the “work by necessity and don’t stop at Marshall’s on your way home because you can’t even afford cereal” type. I worked six days a week, and now, with kids, I’m relieved to be down to part time (which somehow still exhausts me with two little guys at home).

Working as a mom is tough, emotionally as well as physically.

But, even as I work part time, do you know who I am REALLY in awe of?

Stay at home moms. The “just a mom” moms.

Motherhood shouldn’t overshadow their capabilities. They are just as strong, determined, educated, and powerful, yet honorably decline the workforce. All those student loans? Unrealized dreams? A promising potential career path? Affording a different lifestyle?

Do you know how much faith that takes to watch these things fade in the rearview, even if they’ll be revisited in later years?

I’m so amazed by these women (and very specific women who I hugely admire) and their steadfast decisions to just to stay home with their children.

And by “just to stay at home,” I mean join their kids hand in hand on the front lines, battling a scary world. These moms are wise, and know that, if they can afford it, their time is most valuable teaching their children before sending them off to the world.

“Just a mom” is a woman, who, by choice:

braves the isolation that comes with young motherhood.
makes do with just a little less than she might if she worked.
is completely, utterly, painfully selfless.
stretches herself to be everyone’s everything, constantly.
never stops.
never gets a break.
is always, always on the clock.

Before I had kids, I asked of stay at home moms, “What do they do all day, every day?”
Now, I wonder, “How do they do it all day, every day?”

Although I’m not ready to throw in the towel with my job, I wonder if I am brave enough to become “just a mom.” For years, I’ve found enjoyment working outside the home. Am I brave enough to let go of years of schooling and hard work? Am I that selfless? Will I lose myself? Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the refining process that creates the unsung heroes of every family.

You “just a mom”s are everything I aspire to be.

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My Most Sunny Days Always Leave Me Teary

There is a wonder I experience as a new mom, crossing new bridges as my oldest child does the same.

My kids are approaching the real pearl of childhood. At almost two and three, the sleepless nights are behind us. My boys are both talking and expressing their own, hilarious thoughts, and I feel that new-mom isolation no more.

I’ve been caught off guard by this new stage of life and its unexpected sprinkling of pixie dust, because my kids think EVERYTHING is magical.

From seeing a street sweeper, to a stranger’s raspy voice, to blossoming trees…it’s all entrancing. Holding a ladybug for the first time, and watching with sheer astonishment when it flies away! Listening for helicopters! Watching a puppy lap water from a bowl! Garbage day! Witnessing sprinklers turn on! Putting detergent in the washing machine! It’s new. It’s fresh. My mundane routine is suddenly dazzling and vivid. The days have more zest. I’m still tired, but my kids give me a shot of laughter hourly, and their thrill of pioneering a new world is contagious.

My children are young enough to not understand real sorrow. Heartbreak is unknown. They don’t know about the world…they only know the world I put in front of them. At ages one and three, naivety is normal. Innocence is beautiful. Heaven still feels close.

They’re also young enough to not have any real school schedule or pressing commitments. I savor the peacefulness of midmorning strolls on quiet roads, and appreciate being rich enough in time to admire every dandelion along the way. I love the slow pace, and have to remind myself often not to complicate it. The world hasn’t sped up yet. I know, I know, it will, and the sand will slip through the glass quickly and cruelly; let me just enjoy holding onto those little hands a bit longer.

And those little hands. Those teeny, sticky fingers always find me, because I am wanted. A heart soars to feel wanted! The elation of feeling truly wanted as a parent is unparalleled. I know they’ll need a mother for years, but to WANT a mother–that’s different. Even on the days I go crazy almost tripping over two extra shadows, I know my heart will break just a little the day my kids insist they can spread their wings alone.

These are the days.

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Nursery Rhyme Meanings That Keep You Guessing

 I’ve heard convincing arguments that Mother Goose is the key to Ivy Leagues. I’m all for brain stimulation and early developmental progress, but I don’t remember many nursery rhymes. I’ve had to go off of memory, and it has proven to be a little fuzzy.

By “a little fuzzy,” I mean that I can’t remember even half the words. “Ring around the Rosies” is the only thing that’s clear in my mind. Sadly, that’s only due to years of elementary school repetition, because of the fascinating rumors of its morbid meaning that were shared in the shadows of the tether ball poles.

I looked up a couple nursery rhymes to keep in my back pocket.

Have you read them recently? There are some real creepers in there. How many young children go to sleep smiling serenely after hearing about some egg-dude Humpty that fatally fell off a wall, anyway?

Why do none of these have conclusions? Are there sequels?

What do these even mean, anyway?!

Here are a handful of my loose interpretations.

“Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider and sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.”
Translation: Little Miss Muffet sat on her stool, or possibly Kim K booty (haven’t checked “tuffet” on Urban Dictionary), and ate 2% cottage cheese. She regretted not keeping the pest control guy’s magnet on the fridge.

“Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.”
Translation: Someone spilled frozen peas in the steel cut oatmeal. Before finally throwing it out, Mom kept it for nine days, because there are starving children in Africa.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring;
The old man is snoring.
Bumped his head
And he went to bed
And he couldn’t get up in the morning.”’
Translation: He got the Advil mixed up with Ambien. Or else…

“The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see. To see what he could see, to see what he could see. The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.”
Translation: This was a “she” bear, probably a mom, just trying to get out of the house. Sometimes I do that. I go to Target, to buy what I can buy, to buy what I can buy.

“Old Mother Hubbard, went to her cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone. When she was there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.”
Translation: This is an ASPCA commercial. Cue Sarah McLachlan.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some broth,
Without any bread,
Whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.”
Translation: This lady came home from Saks with new Louboutins, and her husband said, “You better be living in those shoes, because that was as much as a mortgage payment!” She was like, “Fine, I will.” The new leather smell made her go crazy, and I really don’t know what happened after that. I’m sure the husband has full custody, and a pending restraining order.

I don’t think I’ll read that one to my little guy.

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