I’ve been thinking a lot about forgetfulness and mental load. I had a boss at work who constantly referred to freeing up your “psychic space” as often as possible. Much like defragmenting your computer in order to free up memory.
I have always been considered “forgetful” — even before I had a baby. During pregnancy, I had the luxury of blaming things on “baby brain.” Now that my daughter is crawling, my ability to keep up with everything in my brain seems exponentially worse.
Here are some of the more serious things I’ve forgotten this past month:
Event: Returning from a weekend at my parents’ house
Some Things I remembered: The baby, all the baby’s stuff, all my stuff, my coffee for the road, the stroller, my dog’s leash, my leftovers from the fridge, to take out the trash full of diapers, to strip the bedding from the guest bed that I slept in, my laptop and charger.
The thing I forgot: My dog. I didn’t realize until I was 45 minutes into my drive home that he wasn’t in the car with us. He’s so used to being second banana to the baby these days, that he didn’t even bother to get under foot while I was packing up. Poor buddy!
Event: Regular workday
I’m “forgetful” so often that I have started to develop a complex.
Things I remembered: that I needed to put a little more effort into my appearance for an important client meeting, my lunch, my coffee for the commute, to eat something for breakfast, my laptop and charger, the book I promised to loan to my co-worker, my breast pump, to remind my dad to have my daughter ready by 4:30pm when I got off work so that we could be at something that evening.
The thing I forgot:
Bottles for my breast pump. (I remembered to wash them the night before.) After frantically messaging another nursing mom in the office, I ended up using some rubber bands to secure a plastic bag to the pump and pray that I didn’t spill any liquid gold breast milk on myself before my client meeting.
Event: The next workday
Things I remembered: My laptop and charger, my coffee for the road, my breast pump and clean bottles, to call and schedule my daughters six-month checkup, to put the cloth diapers in the dryer.
Things I forgot: My lunch. And also my wallet. Luckily I had a protein bar stashed away in my bag — for “emergencies” like this.
Things I have forgotten more than once:
- My laptop charger
- My lunch
- Any one of the 35 parts that renders my breast pump completely useless.
- What time a meeting is happening
- To notice and thank my husband for cleaning the kitchen
- To replenish the diapers in the diaper bag
- To brush my teeth
- To pee before I leave the house
- The one essential ingredient we need for our dinner recipe
- To do my kegel exercises
- To put the ice cream back in the freezer
- The thing I said I would loan a friend
- To pay my garbage bill
My mental load is so full these days, it’s no wonder some of this stuff falls through the cracks.
I’m “forgetful” so often that I have started to develop a complex. I’ve even had nightmares about forgetting my baby somewhere (I’ve heard this is actually a normal dream.)
Instead of stewing on all the things that I forget, I’m trying to reframe it. Look at all the things I remember! My mental load is so full these days, it’s no wonder some of this stuff falls through the cracks. I’ve also started asking my husband to take some of these things off my plate. When all else fails, I resort to a good ol’ fashioned checklist, and one of the zillion phone apps that I forget to update. I’ve also asked Alexa to help remind me of things.
I try to laugh it off, too. At the end of the day, I’m a human being. My time and energy should be spent being present with my daughter, and not in a constant state of stewing about the things I forgot yesterday, or the things I have to remember for tomorrow.
I’m comforted by the fact that everyone forgets things from time to time.
Any tips or tricks for a mom’s mental load and staying on top of things with a child?