Is mom brain real?

Remember the time I was looking for the TV remote control and later found it in the fridge? Or the day I washed my hair with face wash and my face with shampoo? Or the day I drove off with a cup of tea on my car roof.

I wish I was joking – and I do love to laugh at myself on these occasions – but these things actually happened.

Forgetfulness. Brain fog. Bewilderment.

We all know about pregnancy brain, but I think it surprises us when it continues until your children turn into toddlers and beyond. Baby brain. Children brain. Nope, let’s make moms feel even worse than they already do and call it mom brain.

Unfortunately, preggy mom develops into mom brain

Is mom brain a thing? Is mom brain real? You betcha.

Symptoms vary from mother to mother but they generally tend towards the same general behaviour.

Dropping thoughts

Walking into a room but not remembering why

Forgetting plans or meetings

Calling your kids by the wrong name



Low self worth


Where does mom brain come from?

Mom brain is seemingly a response to a feeling of overwhelm.

We’ve spoken about the mental load of motherhood (or, as I prefer to call it, the mental motherload). Mom brain is the long-term effects of carrying this mental load.

It’s what happens when there is too much life for us to deal with and we start dropping balls. I’ll be the first to admit I’m spectacularly good at dropping balls – I once picked up the wrong sick child from school; I picked up the one that wasn’t sick.

It’s because we now think about (constantly) another life as well as our own. When our kids are babies, there’s a lot to keep track off – feeding times, pooping schedules, vaccination appointments, sleep schedules. And it doesn’t get any less as they get older, it just changes to wearing school shirts on “outside day”, remembering Jeremy will only eat white bread these days, and organising lifts for after-school activities.

It’s an accumulation of mental stress but it’s physical too. The fact that we grow a child for 9 months, birth a child, and then immediately have to make sure the child doesn’t die is a hectic strain on our bodies.

Yes, we may have partners who help us bear this burden, but more often than not it’s the moms who make sure the milk doesn’t run out or the lunchboxes are packed or the right kid goes to the right playdate.

For this I blame society, but it’s still a truth.

And moms worry, too. We worry that our babies will stop breathing when we sleep, or that they’ll get knocked over by a car in their driveway, or they’ll develop pneumonia in winter – or skin cancer in summer.

For this, I blame You magazine.

How to deal with mom brain

Here are some tips for dealing with mom brain:

  • Blame it on the wine
  • Fake it til….nope, keep on faking it until someone notices
  • Remind everyone of your lack of sleep at every opportunity
  • Plead insanity when confronted with evidence of moom brain

But seriously,

  • let’s get our partners involved.

Let’s normalise dads (and by dads I mean partners but I have a husband so I’ll stick with dads) packing lunchboxes, taking the kids to the doctor, being on the school Whatsapp group, keeping the house clean.

  • let’s pop the pills.

There is nothing wrong with needing a pick-me-up at this stage in our lives, especially these days. The age of Instagram competition and Facebook warriors can make motherhood and parenting a very daunting challenge, and a lonely venture. I’m not saying find your local coke dealer, but chat to a doctor about some sort of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant. There are many gentle options which help us think more clearly and generally be a better person.

  • let’s ignore the advice.

This can be a hard one, but sometimes listening to too much advice isn’t helpful at all. Be careful when asking for help on mom Whatsapp groups or Facebook pages. The information overload is likely to make you feel inadequate and stupid.

  • let’s go easy on ourselves.

We don’t need to prove we are superheroes. We already are. Ask for help and take help when it’s offered. Don’t forget to look after yourself.

Can we all agree to be better at this? Mom brain is a thing, but it’s not our fault or our choice. It’s a fact of being a mother and we need things to change so we have a bit more energy and mental capacity to look after ourselves as well as our families.

Or else our house keys will be lost forever.