In sub-zero windchill and blizzard conditions, I was running through the snow without a coat on, tracking paw prints, and screaming my dog, Samson’s name.
He was lost. And it was my fault.
Two hours previous I decided to let him go outside, hoping he could get his business done before the bulk of the winter storm came in. So down he went and back upstairs I came. I did the dishes. Talked to Jenn. Played with Em. Took a conference call. Made breakfast. And settled in.
After picking up the trail of laundry through the house I walked to the back stairs and saw the open door and knew “mom brain” struck again and this time it could have been tragic. Thankfully, he returned home, no one got sick, and I learned from my mistake.
I know I can’t fully trust myself to remember even the most important details of my day, but have found ways to overcome momnesia as I struggle to find where my brain went now that I’m in the postpartum days of having my third baby.
5 Proven tactics to combat pregnancy & mom brain
As mothers, we’re constantly multi-tasking. It’s not part of the job description, it is the job description.
Both mom and pregnancy brain are absolutely real, with science confirming that the gray matter in the brain shrinks (1). Gray matter is composed of neurons and is located in areas of the brain responsible for memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self-control (2).
So on top of low-functioning brains because of sleep deprivation and being the ones who manage the house, we’re already working against how our brains are wired!
Even though a mom’s brain bounces back in size 6 months postpartum (3), this doesn’t mean that a woman’s memory and level of functioning does! In fact, as moms, we reallocate our resources to care for our babies instead of remembering other details of life (4). In the past (though I can’t find it) I have even read that breastfeeding moms are using 40% of their brain power even if they’re doing nothing else but holding, feeding, and making milk for their baby.
Ever since Samson went on his blizzard sprint, I have set a timer for 7 minutes on the oven once I get back upstairs. And it never fails, it’s enough time for him to do his business but also enough time I am always surprised by the timer because I had forgotten about him.
Timers can be set for any and everything. And letting your subconscious know what that timer is for will help trigger the memory once the alarm goes off.
Whether it’s remembering to go to swim practice on a hectic day and knowing that two hours later might come sooner than you expect or setting up alarms in your calendar to email you a few hours before a doctor’s appointment on that day, it all helps!
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Get Dash Buttons
When you’re running low on products your family uses often, Amazon offers Dash buttons so you don’t have to add it to a mental list. Simply press the button and get a text notification that it’s on its way.
No running to the store or forgetting to pick it up. Press it once and done.
(See that little button hanging from the basket below? It ensures I never run out of baby wipes!) In celebration of the two-year anniversary of the Amazon Dash Button, customers can buy an Amazon Dash Button for $0.99 and still receive a $4.99 credit back after their first press of the button until April 7… and their selection of items is larger than ever meaning you’re sure to find something you need.
Utilize your camera phone
The times when you actually have to make a list and go to the store, don’t forget to a snap a picture of your list. This means in case you forget it at home, leave it in the car, or lose it in the store, you still have it.
Because I am going to assume that you won’t forget your phone in public. Even better is that Amazon prime offers free photo storage and backs up pictures to the cloud. So now everyone on the account has the photo of the list. It simply makes life easier and keeps you accountable.
This trick can be used for other things too. If you see something you want to remember, snap a pic. If something comes to mind you need to tell someone, write it down and get a photo of the reminder. Then at the end of the day, go through your photos. It takes just 28 days to create a habit. So even if it’s a habit to set a timer to remind you, it’s a habit that’s helping you!
Boost your fatty-acid consumption & stay on top of supplement intake
Brains love fat. Good, healthy fats.
So I love making smoothies with things like hemp hearts and flax seeds with a coconut water base. It’s a great way to get some fats, fresh greens, and more to fuel my own body but also to help grow my baby’s while pregnant and breastfeeding. (Even if you’re past both these stages, it’s a nutritious snack or breakfast to keep you healthy!)
Nine months to grow a baby and up to 18 months to replenish vitamins and nutrients after childbirth means that for two years mom have to be diligent about their vitamin intake. I really love New Chapter prenatal vitamins AND their postnatal supplement. Coupled with a healthy diet, this can keep moms functioning better than they would otherwise.
Find my other pre- and post-natal vitamin recommendations.
Get some sleep
In fact, take your vitamins right before going to bed because during rest is when bodies repair and restore themselves.
Sleep deprivation hinders our ability to think and process information, meaning the more sleep we at least try to get, the better.
More motherhood resources
Check out the articles below or the free mini-course; it includes topics such as pouring into your marriage after baby, practicing self-care after birth, staying connected with non-mom friends, and more!
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!