Multi-tasking mothers suffer from memory lapses

I’m quite forgetful. I never used to be and although my husband would probably argue that I could stand to forget a lot more, it is a very bothersome fact that I take very seriously — when I can remember to.

I’m quite forgetful.

I never used to be and although my husband would probably argue that I could stand to forget a lot more, it is a very bothersome fact that I take very seriously — when I can remember to.

Before having children, I used to pride myself on my ability to pay attention to details and multi-task; in fact, I was commended for it. Nowadays, I give myself mental high-fives when I back out of the garage with both of my children in the van.

Mothers have a reputation for being multi-taskers but I’m going to let you in on a trade secret: it is less like remembering and more like surviving.

The learning curve is steep; you only forget the soother and enjoy a 45-minute drive to the city with a screaming child once. Either that or you buy 20 different soothers and stuff them into every nook and cranny of the vehicle.

Regardless, as a parent you learn pretty quickly where the priority lies in terms of memory.

Forgetting the one toy in your house that your child demands to sleep with every night on the very first day of a weekend getaway: bad.

Forgetting to pack a fresh change of underwear for your husband and yourself: debatable.

Before you had children, you had X amount of brain cells to distribute towards all of the avenues of your life that needed attending. Partner, friends, work, school — these were the pieces of the pie that consisted of You.

But then Junior came along and it was like being cut into two pieces of one whole — same amount of brains but Y to the umpteenth power of information to remember. Diapers, wipes, cream, favourite toy, favourite blanket, favourite food — all of this is deemed necessary for a 15-minute ride to the carwash.

Personally, I think this is the real reason that some women choose to breastfeed, as it means one less item to bring along.

Maybe they should revamp those drug-awareness commercials from the 1980s, illustrating the difference between your intelligence quotient pre- and post-delivery.

“This is your brain … this is your brain with kids.”

Except instead of using eggs, they could take a snapshot from an Ikea showroom and then the scene with the tornado from The Wizard of Oz. Inside the tornado would be all of the elements of your life that you needed to think about, swirling around you ominously until … Bang! — a big house fails on your head.

It’s gotten rather ghastly for me, as now my bad memory has transposed itself onto a portion of our stairwell. A ledge there has literally become my own personal Bermuda Triangle. It never fails — whatever I deem necessary to bring with me gets placed, precariously, on this shelf. And subsequently, gets forgotten.

The plus side to this is that whenever I don’t know where something is, I have a great place to look first. Unless I forget what I’m looking for — which is likely.

Raina Dezall is a mother who can remember her telephone number from when she was eight, which in light of recent revelations, is pretty impressive. Her column appears every second Sunday in Red Deer Life. She can be reached at

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