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How long can you use ‘baby brain’ as an excuse?

Woman is confused because she has baby brainI’m a mum, wife, writer and lover of good coffee and I suffer from baby brain.

My symptoms include;

  • inability to hold a conversation for longer than five minutes
  • consistent jumbling of words, sometimes trailing off mid-sentence while having a conversation with a fellow adult, while at the same time trying to keep an eye on my toddler as she tries to launch herself off the couch
  • forgetfulness and memory loss- not remembering where the car keys are and finding them in the fridge
  • short attention span

I’ve suffered from baby brain for well over 15 months now and I’m not sure whether there is a cure. I’m also guilty as charged of overusing the term  – it’s my get-out-of-jail-free card in life, the perfect, plausible excuse for strange, absurd and somewhat questionable behaviour I portray to friends, family members and even strangers.

But here is my question to other parents, how long can you use baby brain as an excuse?

How old does your child need to be for you to no longer be able to use it as a response for crazy behaviour? Does it have a use-by date? And what if you are still walking around in a sleep-deprived haze two years after giving birth, is it still acceptable then?

If you are late to a work meeting or forget your wedding anniversary can you smile and say, ‘sorry baby brain?’ What if you are late to pay a bill, will the phone company accept baby brain as a genuine excuse? Somehow I think not.

If I’m having a conversation with a friend and I forget what my point is or the punchline to a funny story, I simple smile and say ‘sorry, baby brain’.

And it’s accepted without a second thought. There’s no strange looks or a sympathetic and concerned pat on the back, it’s simply laughed off and the conversation continues.

If I leave the washing out on the line for three days solid or forget an item on the shopping list, good old baby brain has struck again.

After all the trials and tribulations of that first year as a mother, I think I am entitled to push the baby brain condition for as long as I see fit. Maybe after becoming a parent you are part of a lifelong secret society, where baby brain is accepted and regarded as a real, crippling condition.

Is your brain permanently rewired after having a baby? Maybe this is because of the endless days of ‘goo goo gar gar’, hours of rocking your baby back to sleep in the wee hours of the morning and the constant multitasking you have to master, while your child runs through life like a hurricane, picking up everything in sight before chewing it up and spitting it back out.

So for now while my brain works overtime watching what my 15-month-old puts in her mouth, while at the same time putting the dishwasher on and attempting to ‘dance like a monkey’ while she screams to be entertained- I think I’ll still use baby brain as an excuse.

Until I get pulled up for it, my forgetfulness, memory loss, tardiness and even mood swings will all be a result of baby brain. It’s an entitlement we fellow mums and dads should get for all the hard work, sleepless hours and lack of pay for being a parent.

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