Guest Blog by Meg Nordmann
A few weeks ago, I put some important mail in the mailbox that needed to be sent urgently…but forgot to pull the red flag up to indicate it needed to be taken. My husband shook his head in disbelief when he discovered the important mail still in the box the next day.
Yesterday, the vet called because I had missed the morning appointment. I apologized and rescheduled for later that afternoon. Afternoon rolls around and I glance at the clock precisely at the appointment time! How could I have forgotten a second time!? I came running in to the vet office ten minutes late with no makeup on and a baby on one hip and a small dog on the other hip and blaming the traffic.
Last week, we were at Mommy-and-Me yoga and going around the circle and introducing ourselves and our babies and their age to the group as we always do. One mom introduced her child with the wrong name, and another mom introduced her child and stumbled as she had already forgotten her 3-month old child’s birth date.
This is Mommy Brain.
We are not only exhausted from lack of sleep or lack of deep-sleep (even when baby is sleeping through the night, you never fully turn off your brain and awareness), but we are teaching our child everything they know, hovering over them to reduce the amount of bruises on their forehead, remembering to pick up a side for dinner at the grocery and moving the wet laundry into the dryer before it sours. We’re doing our best to put everything on the paper calendar and in our phone calendar, and yet things still fall through the cracks. We’re running children to appointments, classes, playdates and birthday parties. We’re scrubbing strawberry off the walls or washing cloth diapers and remembering to pay the bills. We’re trying to find the source of that awful smell in our house and make sure that everyone in the household is clothed, fed, happy and clean. We’re trying to make time to still call our best friend and making time to actually be present and play with our child. Some of us are also balancing a career on top of all of this.
…And yet we’re expected to scrapbook and jot down all those awesome little milestones.
Expected by who? Well, our child will expect to see that when they are older. It’s a nice thing to have when you’re having children of your own: “Mom? Little Jimmy seems like he might start walking soon. When did *I* start walking? When did *I* start solids? What was *my* first word?” Sure, there’s a little pressure from society to keep track of this—but who cares. It’s usually pressure on ourselves to jot this down and remember every fun little detail. We want to scrapbook. We want to hold on to the fleeting moments of childhood that are zipping past us. We want to remember those tiny toes and gummy smiles and proud cheers.
But that’s a lot of pressure. And the truth is: We don’t have the time. And the scarier truth is: We forget it all if we don’t write it down…immediately.
I don’t mean we forget it ten, twenty years down the road. I mean we forget it in three days. A week later. A month later. Four hours later.
My child is almost nine months old now, and so we’ll be heading to the pediatrician soon and we’ll weigh her as usual. If someone asked me what she weighed at her last 6-month check-up, I could not tell you. I have no idea. I remember being very proud at her 6-month checkup, and that she weighed a lot for a baby her age. I remember that she was 99th percentile for her length, but I couldn’t tell you how long she was. And in a year, I probably won’t remember that she was 99th percentile.
It fades. It doesn’t stick. Every day is a new exciting adventure, a new milestone, a new funny moment, a new endearing moment, a new frustration, a new thing to worry about, a new thing to proudly report. …And so all of those same things from the day before fade away as our memory-bank makes room for the more recent ones.
We think we’ll remember. In the moment, we think surely we’ll never forget this momentous and wonderful event. But we do.
Thank goodness for social media, right?? I’m grateful that I can have a time-vault of little things that I can quickly jot down & hit “Post” on every day. But the downside is that, there’s so much on there. And it’s not well-organized and everything gets buried. I know there’s a photo somewhere in my 7,000 photos of my child where I mentioned how much she weighed at her 6-month check-up. But I don’t have the time nor the energy to sift through them all to find it. I’ll have to wait till my “On This Day” app reminds me years down the road…ha!
No. Thank goodness for BabyPage! My BabyPage account is where I jot down all the important memories and milestones that I know I’ll want to refer back to over and over again. Her birth announcement, her growth chart, her first teeth, the day she first started crawling, the day she started pulling up, the day she took her first steps, her first words, her best baby friends, her first Christmas, her first fireworks show, her first solid food (and the hilarious reactions), her favorite song, her favorite book.
Three more months and my girl turns one-year old! And then my little collections of memories and BabyPages will be turned into a beautiful book, and a hard-cover copy will be shipped to me. And next year, I’ll receive my next one. And then I won’t have to have Mom-Guilt when my future 17-year old girl wants to see her baby photos. I can pull out her photo album and properly embarrass her in front of her first boyfriend as we sit on the couch pouring over the pages. Flipping through a baby book is a rite of passage!
Because THIS momma does not have time to sit down and actually scrapbook in the traditional method. Sifting through my thousands of digital images to find the important ones? Printing each photo? Cutting around them in cute shapes, and decorating with stickers? Hand writing each caption, dating them, and arranging them on the page into a timeline? REMEMBERING all of those details? Keeping track of it all? Gluing and taping it all in or even sliding it into a transparent sheath? Making a mess on the dining room table that will likely sit there half-completed for months? Nope. Not gonna happen. I’m being realistic here.
But I refuse to let Mommy Brain and the lack of time to keep me from holding on to these sweet moments. So I’ll keep jotting down the most important things into BabyPage & uploading my favorite photo from each holiday and milestone moment AS I GO. I don’t want to have to backtrack. I don’t have time for a massive project.
So cheers to BabyPage for making this one aspect of motherhood so much easier. My Mommy Brain can’t thank you enough!