Beware the mommy-brain

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The symptoms related to Mommy-brain, or 'momnesia', remind me a lot of my granny who keeps getting the names of her children and grandchildren mixed up, where my brother would get a Barbie doll for Christmas and I'd get a toy army-tank when we were younger.

Ask any woman who's been pregnant or a first-time mom about mommy-brain, and she'll likely tell you she's had it (or still has it). She'll probably laugh as she recalls various occurrences that were cause for concern at the time. 

Read more: The real reason parents get nothing done

There aren't many dictionary definitions for it, but Urban dictionary best describes it as; "The phenomenon known to mothers where their brains become useless piles of goo after being around their children for too long. "I can't remember how old I am! Total case of mommy brain."

Yes, we all have absentminded moments where we walk around the house looking for our car-keys that are already in our hand, but the mommy-brain requires some serious talent. Momnesia involves a series of mindless, often concerning incidents within a short space of time. Memory-loss, sluggishness and absentmindedness are most prevalent in this particular brand of mommy-brain and postpartum moms will feel as though their brain is turning to mush.

We asked our Facebook-followers for some examples of their mommy-brain moments.

Chane I put washing on then the dryer, both without first putting the clothes in, did this at 8pm, needed the dryer stuff for a trip to JHB the next day and only realised when I went to fetch it to pack that everything was empty.

Natasha I put my son's bottles on the stove to boil and forgot about them. Only when I started to smell something burning did I realise what happened. Melted all his bottles and had to rush out to go buy a whole lot more.

Ashleigh I often forget which child/children I have brought out with me (to park or restaurant etc) then I catch a glimpse of one and I'm like "oh flip I forgot about you for a moment" ...my bad. And people call me "Super Mom".

Gerda I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with my third child. My youngest son turned four a month ago and I had made party packs and cake for school. So on our way to his school he was so excited to have a party with his friends. We walked into school and I told the teacher to please come and help me carry the stuff. There I stand with an open car boot that was completely EMPTY! I almost started crying, then realised my son was standing there staring at us. I told him that mommy forgot the present and the candles and that we couldn't have a party without that, but that I will would quickly go fetch it and come back with everything to start the party. Little Wian's eyes lit up as he ran up to me and whispered in my ear, "you are the best mommy ever!" Shame I felt so bad but at least I could fix it!

KaonI had it all the time. I once almost drove home without picking up my daughter from daycare. I had to make a u-turn and go pick her up, I felt so terrible. I would also forget what I was talking about mid-conversation.

Morongwa I always forget my work password..its a constant thing,i now have to write them down.

With so many things vying for your time and attention, it's easy to end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the new shift that your brain is undergoing. But it's important to take care of yourself and to find time at some point during the day to rest your mind and focus on something different.

Here are some more helpful tips to keep the mommy-brain from ruining your days:

Sleep

You're probably tired of hearing people tell you to find more time to sleep when you probably can't seem to find a moment to yourself. Try having a nap while your child is asleep, or go to bed earlier. Sleep deprivation can run you down, making it harder for you brain to focus and remember things.

Diet

Food that are rich in iron help assist the natural chemicals in your body that need to travel to the brain effectively. Your brain is sensitive to low amounts of iron. Iron deficiency can lead to amnesia, caused by a low-blood-count. Red meat and spinach are rich in iron and help the body fight iron-deficiency.

Brain-boosting supplements

There are plenty of multivitamin supplements available to help boost brain function. Taking a multivitamin supplement daily can improve your cognitive performance and improve your memory, accuracy and multitasking abilities.

Vitamin D increases nerve growth in the brain. If your body struggles to produce enough Vitamin D, try getting in a few minutes of sunlight every day to keep your levels where they need to be. 

De-stress

You've recently had a baby and it's no surprise that you're feeling a bit anxious, stressed and possibly overwhelmed by all the demands and expectations you're facing. While motherhood is a blessing, it can be stressful and while you're busy running around in a panic trying to be the perfect parent, don't let it get the better of you. Sleep is most important and will help you manage things realistically without you getting into a spin. When things get too much, focus on breathing exercises to help ease tension. If you have a chance, take a break from being 'mom' and meet up with friends for coffee or read a book.

Write things down

Carry a note-book in your bag. Moms are constantly asking others around them to remind them to do something later on, and you can't always rely on someone else. When you're in the middle of cooking dinner and you suddenly remember that you need to pay your phone-bill or renew your car license by the next day, write it down! It's impossible for moms to remember everything that doesn't involve nappy-changing and feeding times.

What sort of situations has the mommy-brain gotten you into?

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