I often joke about having mum brain when I drop the ball on something- but it is a real thing.
Just ask any other mum and they will tell you about the periods of fogginess and genuinely not remembering stuff for their kids, events or even conversations they have had (umm- I am guilty of this one, sorry everyone!).
Hormones and lack of sleep play a major role with mum brain.
Every mum knows that at least the first year after having a baby is a hormonal rollercoaster as your body readjusts after pregnancy.
If you are breastfeeding, it's has it's own hormonal influences releasing oxcytocin and prolactin which creating feelings of fuzzyness, lack of focus and relaxation.
Lack of sleep is another factor as it can cause you to "zone out", miss things or not pay as close attention to conversations as you normally would.
Sleep is also when your brain processes the day and creates memories and broken or not enough sleep interferes with this process too.
No wonder you feel foggy- sleep depivation can last for years if your little ones aren't yet sleeping through the night!
Mums also tend to be the ones who carry the mental load for the household.
We are usually the ones who keep track of the kids activities, the shopping list for the week and all the other stuff that comes with running a family.
So what can we do about it?
There are 4 things I find help me keep it all together (or at least look like I do!)
Routines and Systems are key.
You actually have a limited amount of energy for descision making each day, so by choosing to have the same thing for breakfast (for example), it is one less thing to think about.
You can save the mental energy for when you might need it later in the day to deal with the unexpected.
System can help keep you on track as well. Having a routine to follow to get everyone out the door in the morning will save you stress and mental energy.
Writing everything that is important down is another way to keep on top of it all.
I use a family calender. If it isn't on that planner, then it doesn't exist for me and it won't get done. School things for the kids, work trips, birthdays and anything else I need to be on top of gets put there and I check it at the begining of each week and often refer back to it throught the week as well.
A Life Laundry -cut down on the chaos
Kids come with lots of stuff and clutter -this leads to mental clutter for me.
I find that I can't think straight with too much stuff lying around. It is like visual noise and I need clear space to breathe and think.
It is a work in progress, but I am working on getting rid of some of the excess stuff in our house.
Eating well for your brain function
60% of Your brain is DHA which is an omega 3 fatty acid, so eating good qualilty fats actually helps to improve your brain fuction. Lack of these fats in your diet can lead to feeling like you aren’t as sharp or quick thinking as you were.
Omega 3’s can be found in foods like oily fish (mackerel or salmon) avacados or some nuts and seeds.
Eating with an eye on supporting your hormone fuction is also something that can help with the mum brain.
Many women are deficient in zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin D- all of which can be supplimented with a mulitvtamin if needed. (It is often recommended to continue taking your prenatal vitamins for the first year after having a baby).
Eating a wide vareity of whole foods (which just means not processed foods) will also help with this.
Think vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses as well as fish, poultry, meat and dairy products.
Aim to eat a a rainbow of colour and varitey of flavours to cover all your nutitional needs.
Make sleep a priority.
Sleep is not something that can be replaced by anything else.
Your brain needs it to fuction well and even how effective your immune system works is related to how much sleep you get.
Naps are a great way way to go if you aren't getting 6-8 hours uninterupted sleep at night.
If you are feeeling tired and fuzzy, then a nap might be just what you need.
45 minutes is the longest you should nap for as after that you go into a deeper REM sleep cycle and can feel even worse when you wake up.
If you can't nap, then a 10 minute meditation with deep breathing can be just as refreshing.
Beating mum brain might take some extra effort and attention to what you doing but it is worth it to not feel like you are constantly playing catch up in your life.