It is no secret that 'mommy brain' is a real thing. For years, neurologists have studied the way in which pregnancy and giving birth changes the very structure of a woman's brain. Upon becoming a mother, activity in the brain increases in the regions that control empathy, anxiety, and social interaction. On the most basic level, these changes, prompted by a flood of hormones during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, help attract a new mother to her baby and can lead to forgetfulness and a somewhat spacy new way of being.
While scientifically, this may sound like an amazing gift mother nature has imparted on new moms some may just chalk it up to simple multitasking meltdowns from all the things are vying for a new mother's time and attention. For some mothers, mom brain is absolute chaos.
From forgetting appointments to leaving the house with pajama pants still on, to using facewash for mouth rinse, moms have it pretty rough due to these neurological changes. And the stories can be pretty embarrassing, or hilarious, depending on who is telling it. We have compiled a list of the 20 most hilarious but very real cautionary tales of mommy brain–beware, it comes with the territory.
20 Call The Search Party
That moment when almost all of your belongings suddenly become untraceable is a pretty good indicator you've come down with mom brain.
Mothers like Lindsay literally needed to call a search party for her lost belongings, "When I was on the phone with my mom, flipping out because I couldn't find my phone.”
Or Maria, who just needed a simple reminder, "Last night I was going nuts trying to find my daughter's pacifier -- until my husband said, 'Maria, it's in the baby's mouth.'"
Or Jax who maybe did not need to check the lost and found, "I once spent 30 minutes frantically looking for my phone in my car. Then I realized I was using it as a flashlight."
And the thing is, mommy brain can happen on a schedule, even though you somehow don't remember, take it from Jennifer, "I would head out the door, start the car, and realize I had not put on my shoes. That was a weekly occurrence!"
19 Word Scramble
Sometimes there is so much going on in the mind of a mother that sentences just do not even come out right. Blame it on mom brain. Mother of two Rebecca L. sure did, “The worst is the constant jumble of words ... 'Please put the milk back in the computer!’ ‘Everybody get in the washing machine.’ ‘It's time for school, where's your flagpole?’ My husband is two more sentences away from having me committed.”
I can't lie, I too am guilty from blurting out some incomprehensible sentences from time to time, "Get In The Washing Machine!" To my son, not my dirty dishes.
18 Forget Me Not
Did we mention that forgetfulness is a sign of mom brain? These moms have it bad.
“I went to a ‘mom’s night out’ and freaked out that I left the pacifiers at home. Then, I realized the baby was at home with Daddy!" said mom, Meri.
“I left my car door wide open the entire time I was shopping at an outlet mall. Thankfully, nothing was stolen, but my computer was sitting in plain sight! I’ve also washed my keys more times than I'd like to admit. And I’ve legitimately panicked in the middle of the night that I left my daughter strapped to a shopping cart in a store, because I couldn't immediately recall what book we read at bedtime, and therefore it must mean she isn't in the house. Mom brain is real,” said mom Samantha.
17 Spoonful(s) Of Sugar
I do not like anything too sweet, and I don't encourage my child to eat too many sweets either, but sometimes you can lose track of just how much sugar you are getting. One morning I made a cup of coffee and I guess I added a spoonful of sugar, before I closed my to-go lid I heard my little one fussing, so I went to go check on him, brought him back downstairs and had no idea if I had added sugar or not, so I added half a teaspoon just in case but knew it would probably be too bitter so I added another half teaspoon.
Then my phone rang and I grabbed the diaper bag, along with the baby and left the coffee right there on the counter. I tasted it when I got home that evening. Definitely too sweet.
16 Coupon Savings
When struck with mom brain, paying for things can a nightmare. Despite vowing to never ever pay full price for diapers I have, on several occasions, left the diaper coupon at home when I left to go purchase diapers. Even when I've told myself several times not to leave it and ran through the list of things I needed before I left the house.
For moms like Judith, it's those tricky bank cards that give her grief, "I was trying to buy something at work and they had to swipe my card about 6 times because I kept choosing the wrong options and putting in the wrong PIN number. By the end, everyone was yelling at me."
15 Lots Of Baggage
Moms have a lot of baggage, both physical and in the proverbial sense of the term. It's only natural that moms can forget things or leave a few things laying around.
Like mother to a newborn, Chelsea said, it's all a juggling game, "I've loaded up the car with my purse, baby and diaper bag, strapped my baby in her car seat only to arrive at my destination, grabbing my baby and leaving everything else in the car and walking off like I didn't need it. I was running late for a train."
Mother and blogger Jen can relate, "I have gone out in public and to work at least three times with my clothes inside out." Also, "I once stressed out about not being able to find an article of clothing that I was already wearing."
14 Losing It
The most satisfying of all mom brain moments is finding that missing item you realize you never actually lost.
"I constantly walk out of the house thinking I've forgotten my keys only to realize they're in my hand." -Lorraine Egan
"I have walked around the house looking for my cell phone only to realize I was talking to someone on it the entire time." -Chasity Barks
"I have lost my cell phone in the refrigerator, closet, and bathroom cabinet on several different occasions and don’t even get me started on where my car keys disappear to," said blogger and writer Shannon.
13 Speed Racer
Unfortunately making others angry, especially on my morning commute, has all become a part of being a new mom. I have forgotten something and had to make a sporadic U-turn several times since having my little one, sometimes, multiple times per day. But, I don't think that comes close to these moms...
"I'm a speech-language pathologist and one day, at one of my clients' houses, I got out of my car, removed my toys for the client, and then proceeded to the front door, not realizing that my car was running and the keys were in the ignition. The mom of my client answered the door and asked me, 'Erin, do you realize that your car is still running?'"-Erin Hays
"I left my coffee on top of my car and drove off. That one stung. I really needed that coffee." – Caitlyn R.
12 Stay Hydrated
When doing any physically challenging activity most instructors will advise that you stay well hydrated, the same goes for doing laundry and cleaning the house.
"The other day I was doing laundry. I put the clothes in the dryer but when I tried to turn it on, it wouldn't work. I checked to make sure it was plugged in, which it was, and was going to check the breaker, but when I turned to walk away my leg hit the dryer door. It wouldn't turn on because I never closed the door!"-Brandy Harper
"I once waited 45 minutes for the water to boil then realized the burner wasn't on."-Karine Hoffman
"I put the laundry in the washer, added the detergent, closed the lid and walked away. I realized an hour later I hadn't turned it on!" – Alyssa I.
11 Mix It Up
Remember those days in elementary school when you had mismatch days? You could wear patterns or clothing that clashed on purpose? Now that you're a mom, revisiting those days can be just as fun if you learn to laugh at yourself.
"I made French toast one morning and sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I thought it tasted a little funny and realized I had dusted it with flour, not powdered sugar." -Jennifer A.
“Washing my face with hair conditioner. I’ve actually done that quite a few times!” said Amy O.
“Let’s see, in one day I left my house in my slippers and had to go back for shoes. Tried to wash my face with shampoo and almost put my son’s food in my bag!” -- Nicole C.
"I poured water into my cereal. That was upsetting, to say the least." – Jada D.
10 How Old Are You?
Having a child is one of the most important milestones in a person's life. So it can seem strange that as mothers we can at times forget some pretty important details about our child. I blame mommy brain for it all.
"While in a supermarket this woman came over to ooh and ahh at my 5-month-old. She asked, 'how old is he?' I smiled and looked at her, and stared blankly for at least 10 seconds. I had completely forgotten how old he was. I remembered, but still". – Alex R.
"I forgot how to spell my son's name. That was pretty embarrassing." – Ruby S.
9 Mind And Body
Both mind and body go through some irreversible changes when you become a mother. These mothers can attest to that:
"I used to have the memory of an elephant. Now I just look like one." – Julie
"Mom brain has officially turned me into the typical hot mess of a mom." – Elisha Wilson
"I paid and then proceeded to walk out of the grocery store without any of my bags. Thankfully the cashier yelled at me to come back!" – Joanna G.
"I stood in front of the elevator waiting for it to arrive for a good three minutes before realizing it was already there." – Courtney K.
"I never know what day it is. Ever. Thank God for my phone." – Heather M.
8 Key To Your Heart
Keys can really drive you nuts, you need them to open things but for some reason when mom brain hits, you can never find them. So there you are, locked out and confused.
"I was nine months pregnant with my daughter and came home to unload some grocery bags. I was pulled into the driveway, put the car in park and started searching frantically all over for my keys. I dug through my purse and searched under my seat. I felt like I was going crazy because I obviously didn't lose my keys since I needed them to drive the car home, The car! That's when I realized the keys were still in the ignition and the car was still running! (My daughter was born three days after.)" -Lindsay
"I tried to unlock my house with my car key clicker." – Britt K.
7 Tucked Away
Settling into motherhood can feel a bit like you are permanently stuck in the third-trimester nesting stage. What is up with that? Sometimes you may think that you are tucking things away for safe keeping when really, you are just misplacing really necessary items in really strange, extremely hard to remember places.
"I found my phone in the refrigerator the other day. Not sure what happened there." – Posey P.
"I locked myself out of my house three times, once with my keys in my purse. Of course, I didn't find those keys until after I had already broken in." – Samantha J.
6 A Little Broken
When the first priority becomes your little one, your train of thought, jewelry, and material things you once valued can become a bit broken. Jane is a mother of three if anyone knows about the mom brain struggle, it's her.
"I sat in the car for 15 minutes in transit not realizing that I was wearing broken sunglasses. The sunglasses were completely missing a lens on one side. It was a sunny day and I hadn’t noticed the difference. One eye had a lens, the other didn’t. I was basically wearing a strange monocle," she said.
Poor Jane. Sometimes the best thing to do is to buy two pairs at a time, that way if it gets lost or broken, there will be a backup.
5 Need For Clothes
There is something about the end of maternity leave that sends mom brain into overdrive. Maybe it's balancing work and home life, maybe it's just a new transition, regardless, these moms have it rough.
"On at least three occasions I recall saying to myself 'I need to change this shirt' and then I show up to a business meeting with spit up on my blouse because I forgot." – Beth M.
"We were going on vacation with my 2-year-old and when we got to the airport, I realized I never put shoes on him -- and we hadn't brought any with us." – Lindsay M.
"I am taking a mommy and me gym class with my infant, Mia and you have to wear socks in the class. After we were done playing and singing songs, I left the class with my socks on–and no shoes. I didn't realize it, until I walked out of the building and a friend asked me where my shoes were. At least I had Mia with me." – Miti
4 A Little One-Sided
Ever feel a little off? Like things are slightly off balance? This can be a pretty common occurrence and the new norm when you have mom brain. Moms like Lane took that feeling to an entirely new level: "I got to work one day and looked down to discover I'd only shaved one of my legs!"
Ouch! Way to make an entrance. Let this be a lesson moms, when on warm weather days always inspect yourself to make sure you are evenly shaved on both sides of your body. Make sure your shoes match and make sure you buttoned your pants or skirt all the way up. Afterall, balance is key.
3 What About The Rest?
It can be a little disorienting to feel like you are constantly leaving something out or just missing things entirely. You can chalk that up to mom brain as well. With all the things moms have to balance, self-care can often take back seat, like getting distracted and only painting two of our fingernails, or just missing conversations altogether.
"I was at the grocery store and after the cashier told me how much my purchases were, I stood there staring at her for a full minute, seeing her lips move and hearing her words but making no connection. For a brief moment, I wasn't even sure what I was doing there. I actually got annoyed at her for some reason. I think I was really just annoyed at myself." – Sarah S.
2 Summertime Madness
While kids are looking forward to summer adults sometimes dread the idea of needing to work round the clock to take care of the little ones. Sending them to school can be a bit of a reprieve, so much so that you'll take them anyway, mom Danyel M. did. "I forgot it was summer vacation and woke my 4-year-old son up to get on the bus. I realized about an hour later the bus wasn't coming."
“Getting in the carpool line at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday thinking it was early release day -- which is Wednesday. Then, wondering for the next five minutes why no one else is lined up yet!” Sammi O.
1 Morning Ritual
We've established that mom brain can really interfere with the way we do things, particularly in the morning. These moms have had their morning routine blown to bits, but at least it provides for some decent comic relief.
"One morning before work, I opened the last can of ginger ale to calm my morning-sick stomach, went to the closet to get something out, then couldn't find the ginger ale anywhere. I left for work feeling sick and mad about the soda. Fast forward to the end of the day, I go into the closet and the can is sitting right in front of me." – Caroline S.
"I put my 11-month-old's formula in the coffee pot one morning."– Amy P.
References: Parents.com, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, American Psychological Association, stories from real moms.