For years I’ve been living with a common parental illness known as Mom-zheimers.
Parents with this affliction forget, sometimes immediately, what things were really like. Constantly saying to yourself “This is going to be fun!” followed by “What was I thinking?!” is the most common symptom of Mom-zheimer’s.
Warning signs that you might be suffering from Mom-zheimer’s include:
1. You take your kids to the playground.
When we visit the park, my plan is usually to let the kids run wild while I read a novel or maybe chat with the other moms.
But actually, the kids think it’s more fun to sit at my side begging for snacks and complaining that they’re hot and/or thirsty. Things look promising once they start playing, but it’s just an illusion.Forget small talk, I’m too busy responding to cries of “Push me! Catch me!” And every time I try to crack open my novel someone asks, “Um, is that your toddler throwing mulch at everyone? Again?” No wonder I’ve been reading the same book since 2013.
2. You let your kids sleep with you when they’re sick.
I’ll instantly invite my ill child into my bed when she doesn’t feel good, and then wonder afterward what possessed me to do that. Blame it on Mom-zheimer’s.
I have to admit I enjoy the cuddling – for the first minute and a half. Then it’s mostly three hours of getting elbowed in the face and begging her to settle down and go to sleep.
Add in the fact that she’s a blanket hog and a mouth-breather, and let’s be honest: I’m spending the rest of the night on the couch while she breathes whatever she’s got into my pillow.
3. You bake with your children.
My kids love to help in the kitchen, and if I happen to find a cute muffin recipe in Family Fun magazine, I just can’t help myself from calling in the troops.
Too late, I realize that my little announcement means 20 minutes of: He’s standing in my spot! It’s my turn to pour! And more importantly, WHO’S GOING TO LICK THE SPOON?By the time the muffins go in the oven, the house is covered in a thin film of flour and I’ve developed a new nervous tic.
4. You try to leave the house after dinner.
Logically I know that going out after dinner (or doing anything besides getting ready for bed) can only end in disaster. Yet I still tell myself that hitting the playground (see #1) before bedtime is a special treat, and staying up late just this once won’t hurt.
The thing is, tired kids don’t wind down slowly. They play happily until they crash without warning and collapse into wailing puddles of destruction. I can only hope that the meltdown doesn’t start until we’re driving home.
Because it’s really hard to buckle a screaming, flailing little person into a 5-point harness.
5. You throw birthday parties.
It always seems like a good idea to invite all my kindergartener’s friends over for an elaborate themed party.
It isn’t until I’m elbow-deep in craft supplies that I realize I’m spending more hours on this than I did on my own wedding, and that the guests will probably have more fun playing with a stray balloon, anyway.The house is also trashed after the party is over, which leads me to #6…
6. You ask your kids to clean up.
I don’t know where it came from, but I have this idea that family cleaning time can be fun if I just put on some peppy music first. Too bad the kids don’t share that vision.
The mere suggestion of cleaning up causes them to develop dozens of ailments that leave them unable to walk or even move. What I’m saying is, the soundtrack to family cleaning time around here is less “Whistle While You Work” and more “It’s a Hard-Knock Life.”
If you’ve ever had one of these “what was I thinking?!” moments, you’ve definitely got Mom-zheimer’s.
But don’t worry: so do I. And so does every other good mom you’ve met. Doing things for and with our kids is hard, but what enables us to keep doing it, day after day, is the forgetting.
Speaking of which, does anyone know where I put my keys?
Jenny Evans is a writer, a night owl, a perfectionist, and a Mormon mother of five. When she isn’t cleaning juice out of the carpet, she pokes fun at herself and chronicles her messy, crazy life raising a houseful of kids on her blog Unremarkable Files. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinteres