We’re all familiar with the condition of Baby Brain. That prenatal fog that sees you leave your car keys in the Tupperware drawer and walk into rooms with great urgency only to wonder what indeed you are doing there and what it used to feel like to be a fully functioning member of society.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but there is an equally-debilitating condition which I have recently self-diagnosed. Working Mum Brain.
The symptoms can strike without warning and are usually triggered when one is pressured to recall specific and detailed information quickly and coherently. Information pertaining to one’s beloved offspring, for example.
I met a parent who was new to the school at a kid’s birthday party in recent weeks and, as parental small talk dictates, we inquired about
each other’s children.
Just basic stuff, you know, food allergies, names, year levels, teachers and the like.
I got through the first child with flying colours, no hesitation, managing to pass myself off as a committed and engaged mother and member of the school community. Then, a mental blank when I got to the classroom specifics of the middle child.
5S I said, with confidence.
I should have left it at that. Grabbed a lolly bag and made a quick exit. Instead I said “Mrs….” and trailed off unconvincingly.
Fool! I was dealing with a new mother unfamiliar with the faculty staff. I could have saved myself. Gone with Mrs Smith, Mrs Schnitzel or Mrs Snodgrass, she would have been none the wiser. For at least another term or two. By which time her child may have moved into another friendship group.
But Working Mother Brain is insidious, it not only robs you of your memory, it robs you of your powers of quick thinking.
And so it was that I was forced to admit that I had forgotten my child’s teacher’s name. The shame of it.
Until the second I shut the car door and it returned immediately to my brain in a rare moment of clarity.
Sleep deprivation caused by the 4am breakfast radio alarm is not helping. After an interview in the Hit107 studio with Port Adelaide player Brad Ebert I farewelled him. “Say hi to Brad for me!”
Seeing his look of confusion, I replayed my words in my head. “I mean Bec, your wife, Bec.” Lucky she has the same name as me or that too may have disappeared into my mind’s abyss.
Funny then that a brain, so empty when it’s required to draw on the conversational building blocks required for basic human interaction, can be so busy and full when one would like it to be blank. For example when one is trying to get some essential and precious sleep. It is at this time that the mind goes to work.
When is school photo day? What should I get Dad for his birthday? How many text /email / DMs did I forget to reply to today? Can I justify new activewear? Are the children eating enough vegetables? Am I eating enough vegetables? If I fall asleep now how many hours sleep will I get? If I don’t fall asleep now how will I get through tomorrow / the week / the rest of my life?
It is little wonder that our brains are so utterly fatigued.
Can we reverse this process? I imagine living a simpler life would help. But I’m not travelling down a quiet path right now, I’ve chosen a multi-lane highway.
So I apologise in advance if I forget your name, or mine.
This is what 24 hours looks like!
Quick check of the socials to see if anything big has happened overnight.
Get dressed in whatever was last discarded on the oor, brush teeth, apply tinted moisturiser.
Make coffee to drink in the car.
4:40am Leave for Hit107
5:00am Production meeting and pre-show preps.
6:00 – 9:00am Bec & Cosi show on air. Another coffee in here somewhere.
9:00 – 10:00am Post-show and planning meetings. Cosi and I compete over who was funniest.
10:00am – 11:30am ME TIME!
(Activities may include nap, exercise, catch up with friends, appointments, life admin)
11:30am – 6:00pm Present updates and news bulletin at 10.
Another coffee in here somewhere.
Smother children with unwanted attention. Dinner and a cheeky glass of wine.
8:30pm Put kids to bed
8:30-9:30pm Attempt to keep up with a TV series with husband.
9:30pm Put myself to bed.