Moms, Are You Losing Your Mind?

forget, can't rememberIf you answered yes, join the club. As mothers, our brains sometimes feel as though they aren’t in our own head, and instead, are split among all our kids. It is hard to think about things as simple as making it to a doctor’s appointment, when part of your mind is taking a History test, another part is constructing an R2D2 costume and yet another is stressing over mean girl drama.

There’s the costume!

This has been a particularly bad back to school season for me. I have kids in four schools, the oldest in high school, the youngest in Kindergarten. The paperwork alone has my head spinning. Tack on school, social and sports struggles and I am in a tailspin. The stress on my kids has ME waking up in a sweat. It has to end. My parents loved me as much as I love my kids, yet, my life with its inevitable ups and downs did not infiltrate their lives in the way I am letting my children’s experiences affect mine.

Something has to give. Before this morning, I was concerned about my mental state. I’ve been forgetting my kids’ names, having trouble finding the right word, making wrong turns and generally behaving like I am 50 years older than I am. I woke up today and decided to put an end to the madness. My plan was to put some healthy distance between my children and me, to let them stumble without a maternal safety net, and take back my brain. They have their own, they don’t need a piece of mine!

I think it may be too late. After a meeting at the elementary school this morning, I walked back to my car with some friends. As we were trying to figure out who should make what for the perfect 5th grade Halloween party, I saw some damage to the right front of my car. Even though we were on school property, there was no note taking responsibility. People suck! I called the office. No one had reported the accident. Angrily, I got in the car, only a couple weeks old by the way, and to make matters worse, it wouldn’t start. I hate technology. These keyless starts are so sensitive, even minor damage sets them off. Pissed, I called the dealer. I was shuttled around and then put on hold. As I sat there, with my friend who had to come back to pick me up, I fumed at how my kids can’t clean their crap out of the car. Then, I realized, very slowly, it wasn’t my kids’ crap. It was someone else’s kids’ crap.

Hold the phone. “Are we in…my car?”

My first thought, before I was relieved or embarrassed, was “I may have a real problem here.” Am I too late to save my brain?

My issue may be more severe than yours, but I know I am not alone. For the past two months, I have been hearing story after story from moms about how they are losing their minds, their memory is shot, and they are generally distracted and overwhelmed. The consensus from peers is we are empathetic and can relate. While it is good to know it isn’t just me, I have now reached the point where I need more than empathy to make it through the day. For Pete’s sake, I don’t even know my own car.

First, here are 6 factors, which may be contributing to poor memory:
1. stress/anxiety
2. poor sleep/fatigue
3. alcohol intake/medications
4. over-scheduling/multi-tasking
5. depression/mood problems
6. aging

Check … check … check … check, check, check.

OK. Got it. But, how do I know if it is just due to these influences, or if I have to worry?

When to worry about memory loss:
You forget how to do something you have done many times before.
2. You have trouble learning something new.
3. You repeat yourself in the same conversation.
4. You are having trouble making choices.
5. You can’t keep track of what happens in a day.

Check … check … uh oh!

If you are really worried, talk to your doctor, but if you are a mother, with all the stresses this brings, it is likely you do not have an irreversible type of memory loss, but rather have to take some steps to take care of your mind.

What you can do to improve your memory:
Reduce stress. (Go ahead and laugh.)
2. Perform tasks as soon as you think of them.
3. Take time to organize.
4. Stick to routines.
5. Make lists.
6. Have one calendar system for the whole family.
7. Get more sleep.
8. Cut down on alcohol.
9. Exercise.
10. Maintain a healthy diet.

Someday, your kids will be out of the house, and while there will be moments in your childrearing years you will want to forget, there will likely be some you would like to remember. There is also a slim chance you will want to start having a life of your own, which just might require a brain cell or two. The above ten tips will work to help improve your memory, but more important than all these, the best advice is to find a way to separate from your children. The bumps in their road will make them stronger and smarter. They will however, provide no benefit to you. You are too old to take this road with them, and the bumps will probably just make you pee your pants. Stay on your own path, guide your kids, but don’t give up your sanity for them.

Shoot, I forget everything I just wrote. I am going to go back and try to take my own advice. I will not check their grades online today. I will not make sure they remembered all their soccer stuff. I will not stress over show and tell. I will not … who am I kidding? I’ve got to go. R2D2’s robot legs aren’t going to finish themselves!

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.