Before I had kids, I used to judge moms. I was particularly judgmental of moms that were scatter-brained. I used to volunteer in our church library, and a woman would come in every Sunday with her four young kids. She had more late fees than anyone in the church and I thought – doesn’t this bother her? Why can’t she just get her act together and find the books on Saturday night? Can’t she hang a book bag on the front door where library books are supposed to go when the kids are done with them?
Not to worry, I was quickly initiated into the Scatter-Brained Mommies Club when we adopted our first son. I’m convinced that when you become a mother, part of your brain is sloughed off and comes out of your pores when you sweat. I would have said “comes out your uterus along with your baby,” but like I said, my son was adopted, so I can’t use that excuse.
Sometimes I’ll need to correct my children or answer their questions quickly and I stutter out words that don’t make sense to anyone. “I said…don’t…I don’t…don’t question me…because I said so!” I fear that my kids will eventually believe me to be an idiot and rise up and mutiny against me one day while my husband’s at work.
As a member of the Scatter-Brained Mommies Club I forget most everything and require some form of memory-aid. My mother-in-law suggested I write out a to do list. Brilliant idea! Except that as I’m writing my to do list my younger son screams. I run up the stairs to investigate the scene. I take care of the “boo-boo” with feigned consoling and Chewbacca band-aids and head back to my to do list only to find it’s not where I left it.
I set out on a quest to find the missing to do list. As I’m searching, I’m distracted by my older son wanting me to uncoil his slinky. Sometimes I think these are my sole purposes in life – to kiss boo-boos and uncoil slinkys. While I’m uncoiling the slinky, I notice that the carpet is dirty and I need to vacuum it. I go to get the vacuum and pull it out from behind the office door. I notice that I left my coffee sitting, half drunk, on the desk. I pick it up, excited that there is still caffeine in my possession, and head to the microwave to nuke it. I start the microwave and wonder what I was doing. I go to look at my to do list and remember that I lost it, so I begin my quest again.
I walk up the stairs and notice the bathroom light is on. I reach in to turn it off and notice my to do list on the side of the sink – wet. At least I found it – even though most of the words are now illegible. As I take it back down to the kitchen to re-scribble the words before they are completely gone, I see the vacuum and remember the floor. I lug the vacuum down to the kitchen, even though I’m cleaning the carpet upstairs. This will be an obvious reminder to me to vacuum.
I recopy my to do list on fresh, dry paper and put it on the refrigerator where I will neverlose it. I lug the vacuum back upstairs, and as I’m vacuuming I decide to vacuum the entire house, including under the couch cushions. Hey! That’s where that library book went. But crap – now I have to crawl back to the librarian on my hands and knees telling her that I did indeed have the book even though I was very adamant that the book was NOT in my house. Or I could just keep it. Or donate it to Goodwill so I don’t feel so guilty about the little whitelie. Eventually, I decide I’ll swallow my pride and take the stupid book back. Tomorrow. Maybe I’ll just slide it in the overnight drawer.
I put the vacuum back and realize I need to start dinner. First, I check on the kids because they’ve been awfully quiet for such an extended period of time. To my surprise they’re both alive and not drinking poison or playing with matches. I smile. I go to the kitchen and get chicken out of the freezer. I forgot to thaw it. It wasn’t on my list! I open the microwave to defrost it, only to find my half-drunk cup of coffee. I take the mug in my hand, walk over to my to do list (still on the fridge) and under “buy wart remover” I write “drink coffee,” and then cross it off as I take a cold sip.