My friend Tara and I were talking yesterday, and she expressed frustration over her new found Mommy Brain and why it won't just go back to normal. She recently had her first baby, and I've been so excited to get to know her as a mom after eleven years of friendship and countless shared experiences. She specifically mentioned her inability to focus on just one room while cleaning, and if I could have come through the phone to hug her, I would have. She validated six years of personal frustration in one single sentence.
How many of you moms have noticed you can't remember ANYTHING anymore? Not even what room you were cleaning before you walked into another room to put something away. I'll start in the kitchen, which unfortunately is where all of our random crap goes to hang out and socialize. In an effort to put things in their places, I'll walk to my bedroom to put away one shoe that has lost its way en route to the closet, and suddenly I'm completely overwhelmed and distracted by the state of affairs in my closet. Cue frantic and compulsive attempts to organize said closet until I'm suddenly interrupted by a crying baby or a raucous fight between two or more Jones boys. As official baby whisperer and head referee of the home, I soothe crying baby and/or establish peace between sparring brothers only to look down in horror at the state of the playroom.
The playroom is frantically picked up (which is really so pointless until bedtime), and by the time I've moved on to putting away laundry, someone is screeching about being hungry and has taken it upon himself to hijack the bag of Goldfish and tear their way through it on the carpet of the playroom. Call in the dog to eat the crumbs and then break out the vacuum cleaner to suck up the ensuing tumbleweeds of dog hair. Back to laundry until the alarm sounds to remind me it's time to pick Camden up from school. Sit in the carpool line for half an hour and wait for the real fun to begin (which it does the second the oldest joins the mayhem). By the end of the day, no one room in the house is completely clean, I'm a frazzled mess without a firm sense of accomplishment, AND I'm out of Goldfish. And I've got to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Today one of my friend's Facebook status updates is "sometimes laughing at yourself is the best option." Perfect. I would only go so far as to say that laughing at yourself is always the best option. Jason may not find it quite as amusing as I do that I forgot to load the clothes in the dryer (especially when he reaches into the drawer to pull out clean underoos and finds none), but hey, it's life. It's messier than I thought it would be, but just for clarification, I can always find a pair of clean undies for him hiding somewhere. (I would hate for you guys to feel like I've got him creeping around in dirty drawers.)
There is color and humor all around, even when Mommy Brain threatens to turn everything disconcerting shades of gray or brown. Even when you can only see the humor after the kids are asleep and you've had a glass of wine or two. Laugh. At yourself, at your friends, at your kids (well, sometimes it's best to do this in private in an effort to preserve their little self-esteems), at your husband when he's flustered, sometimes at the ridiculous and seemingly insurmountable state of affairs in your life. I'm often surprised to find it's possible to laugh your way right out of a bad mood or to help someone else do the same. When the laughter won't come, let the tears do their job. They're pretty close relatives when you think about it, and both are incredible gifts from God to give us ways of expressing our joy or pain when words just can't do the trick.
Today I charge you to do what a great mommy friend charged me to do just this morning. Admit being a hot mess mom and love yourself for it. Maybe Mommy Brain is meant to distract us from the mundane tasks of organizing closets and encourage us to embrace something as simple as trying to follow the hilarious conversations of our kids. That's better than vacuuming any day!