We all know that parenting is physically exhausting. Most of us are prepared for the late nights with baby, but many of us aren’t prepared for the mental exhaustion. If you’re like most moms out there, your brain is filled with all the things you need to do, must remember, are waiting to hear back on, should do, wanted to do but didn’t get around to…. The list goes on and on, and it doesn’t necessarily get better as your child gets older, it’s just that the types of things that clutter your mind change. Either way the list is long and never ending!
Brain fog (which some of us also call Mommy brain) is describes thinking that is sluggish, fuzzy and not sharp. It’s sometimes also linked with confusion, forgetfulness and a lack of focus and mental clarity. Brain fog can result from sickness, illness or flu, or being overworked, overtired and stressed (sounds like the definition of the modern Mom, doesn’t it?).
Whether you are a stay at home Mom (or Dad – let’s face it, some Dads take on these roles, too), working Mom, or single Mom, we all try to take on all of “the things”. We believe we don’t need help, that it is our responsibility to ensure the children and household are taken care of. We run the kids to activities, sports and playdates. We organize birthday parties; buy the gifts for birthday parties our children are invited to. We help them with their homework or drive them to tutoring. We run errands and grocery shop, prep and cook most of the meals. We are exhausted and overwhelmed.
Even when your kids aren’t home, it’s easy for them to monopolize your brain. Did you pack them enough for lunch? Was it library day? Did you pack extra masks? Will they remember they aren’t taking the bus home and are being picked up for a play date? Will your youngest panic because he can’t find his older brother on the bus?
From finding a day care spot to arranging carpooling to signing up for extra curriculars before they fill up, and the million other things that come with parenting, your brain can start feeling like it’s living in overdrive. Unlike those jobs where you get vacation days, there’s no day off for your Mommy brain, and if you do give yourself a break without the kids (and you definitely should do that) it’s easy to slip back into that over-productive Mommy brain state of mind.
Honestly, that is not a good place to exist – for you or your kids. So, how do you shut your Mommy brain off and focus?
Having a to-do list is a great way to move the thoughts from your head onto paper, where they can settle, and you can stop feeling like a dog chasing your own tail. Lists are a great way to unclutter your thoughts and get organized, and they can help you remember the little things and tackle the big stuff you’ve been putting off.
In addition to writing a to-do list, here are some other ideas to help you declutter your mind:
- Declutter your home (it will help you feel calm and put together)
- Keep a journal (you only need a few minutes before bed to do this)
- Stop multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time
- Limit the amount of information you receive each day (which might mean limiting your time on social media)
- Be decisive and put routine decisions on auto-pilot
- Prioritize and be okay with putting off low priority things – you don’t have to do it all
- Learn to meditate
Here are some great apps to help you.
Apps to help you stay organized:
- Habit List
- Google Keep
Apps to help you meditate:
- Insight Timer
- Ten Percent Happier
Making lists and meditating is a great start, but you also need to delegate some of the mental responsibility to someone else. When you do, you’ll be able to settle your mind and relax when you do take that valuable break and spend some time on you.
Lastly, I’m going to challenge you to do something you enjoy and ignore something on your list! Slow down and enjoy your life, because our lives shouldn’t revolve around our children, their lives should be part of ours.