WORDS: Rebecca Morse
If so, congratulations!
You are most likely then, to be familiar with Baby Brain, that doughy, hazy confusion that sees you walk into a room and forget why you’re in there, put your car keys in the fridge and reply “good thanks” when someone simply says “hello”.
Scientists have apparently conducted studies that have found no evidence to back up such a condition. But mothers know it deep in all of our many fluids to be true. A lot of facts may fall out of our brain to be replaced with Wiggles lyrics, but this one remains.
And I’m here to break it to you that Baby Brain transitions into Mother Brain and that, I’m sorry to say, appears to be a permanent, incurable condition.
Wil Anderson recently came into the SAFM studio for an interview during the Fringe and I confessed to my co-host Soda that I was feeling intimidated by Wil’s well-known intelligence and wit.
“Why?” he replied. “You’re smart.” (He’s being overly kind as it’s a new working relationship).
“I used to be smart” was my sighed response.
And it’s true. I was quite smart.
I mean, I wasn’t on the debating team or in the orchestra but I did all the hard subjects at school. Maths, Physics and Chem. Now I use the calculator on my phone to work out simple discounts on sale items.
I got High Distinctions at university and then joined the ABC where I watched Four Corners and Q&A so I could smugly keep across politics. Now I watch Wednesday and White Lotus so I can smugly keep across pop culture references and trending memes.
I used to read books before bed and the newspaper when I woke up.
Now I pick up my phone and aimlessly scroll Instagram. Maybe I’ll get sucked in by a sneaky pop-up ad and do some online shopping for a plug-in car vacuum and under-eye masks. (Sadly these are actual purchases).
If I do pick up a newspaper I find my attention drifting midway through an article.
I have always prided myself on spelling and grammar and now sometimes I find myself looking at a word and wondering if I’ve spelled it correctly. Next minute I’m self-diagnosing early onset Alzheimer’s and wondering whether Wordle is enough to keep my mind active or whether I need to take up Sudoku and adult colouring books as well.
I have mental blanks with people’s names daily. Every Dad at school is either Mark, Paul or Nick and sometimes I’ll just take a reckless stab at it.
What has happened to me? And how can I reverse the decline?
Did a small part of my brain pass out through the placenta during the birth of my three children?
I suspect it’s a combination of factors.
The primary culprit… fatigue.
Four years of breakfast radio has me wandering the streets in a constant brain fog.
Then there’s social media. The short attention span I accuse my children of having after being constantly glued to Tik Tok, I am also guilty of. As I write this, I find myself mindlessly picking up my phone every five minutes for no good reason.
And then, I must confess, there’s just plain laziness, which can be a by-product of the relentless parenting/career slog.
It’s just so much easier to pick up a phone than a book, to watch a mindless series on a streaming service than an ABC doco.
But I don’t want to be this person. I want to be good at the Brainwaves quiz in the paper and be well-informed at dinner parties about subjects other than Olivia Wilde’s secret salad dressing and how Kendall can’t cut a cucumber.
I’m going to put myself through a Brain Boot Camp.
I’ve already started reading more books this year and I’m trying to get my screen time down.
I’m also going to prioritise sleep, at the risk of losing my current charming state of disorientation during conversations.
And I’m going to start live-tweeting #QandA. Or at least watching it.
Now what did I come into this room for again?