Lately it’s occurred to me how annoying I must have been to other parents before I became a parent myself.
Like, I used to say things like ,“Wow, I’ve been so busy!” Which I was. Except I was busy with tasks I could focus on one hundred percent with one hundred percent of my energy. Little did I know that once I became a mother I would spend my days accomplishing tasks in three-minute increments.
For example, since I sat down to write this, I’ve already been interrupted three times: by a toddler falling out her bed during nap time, a restless baby who needed to be burped so she could projectile vomit across the room and an ill-timed, inevitable nap-time phone call. And I’m only four paragraphs in.
I wish someone had warned me how absolutely and entirely distracted parenthood makes you. To prepare, I might have borrowed a puppy and let it loose in the grocery store as I tried to have a passing conversation with a friend while trying to make sure the puppy doesn’t destroy the place or escape to the chocolate aisle and destroy himself.
And then, to get the full idea, I would have only slept for like five hours in five days, setting my emotions on high, but rendering my vocabulary and reflexes useless.
That’s been my “two kids in under three years” parenthood experience lately, and one that no one could have explained to me.
And when my sister brought her “has never slept through the night ever in her life, especially not the last few weeks,” eight month old to my house last weekend and proceeded to microwave a completely empty coffee mug for a solid minute, I tried not to tease her too much about it
Instead, I just looked at her and declared, “Mom brain!” Helpful, I know.
Mom Brain is the same syndrome that made her leave her car door open in the driveway of her house for four hours until her neighbor had mercy and shut it for her.
Yes, we’re all just learning as we go here. We’re learning from our mistakes. We’re learning from our children. We’re learning from meltdowns and parenting books and grandparents and doctors and the woman you met at a work conference five years ago who seems to have it together enough to cut her kids’ sandwiches into dinosaur shapes and post the pictures on Instagram.
And so I hope you can learn a little bit here. Because in this special issue we’ve gathered the specialists and rallied our contributors to help answer the questions you’ve sent our way via Facebook, email, phone calls and a quick, distracted chat at the grocery store.
Because no one’s an expert at this parenting game, but we’re all doing our best, three minutes at a time.