Have you become increasingly forgetful since becoming a mother? Don’t be alarmed, you’re in good company. Mumnesia, a.k.a. mommy brain, is a genuine medical condition that affects many new mums. You suddenly forget phone numbers, addresses and simple tasks, misplace items, have trouble concentrating and find yourself asking, “Why did I come into this room?”
When I talk to clients who are parents of young children, they often say, “I think I’ve developed a memory problem.” Some moms actually believe they might have Alzheimer’s! But rest assured, having Mumnesia doesn’t mean you’ll have permanent memory loss. It’s a symptom of chronic fatigue, post-pregnancy hormonal changes and the stresses and pressures of being a new parent, and your memory will eventually improve.
Here are some organizational tools to help you stay on track.
1. Take time to laugh when you can. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine, especially when you’re having a disaster of a day (e.g. your infant is teething and hasn’t slept all night) and things aren’t running as smoothly as you would like them to.
2. Drink 8 glasses a day. Dehydration can cause memory loss. A lot of moms forget to drink throughout the day — taking care of your little one often takes precedence over self-care, doesn’t it? — but it’s important to up your intake of water, herbal teas and juices.
3. Put it in writing. You can’t forget what you write down. Buy a hardcover notebook and divide it into three sections: one for to-do lists, a second for calls you need to make or return and another for purchases (shopping lists, books your want to read, courses you want to take, etc.). Having everything you need in one book ensures that you’re not digging through scraps of paper, searching for post-it notes or forgetting your shopping list on the fridge.
4. Log every call. Be sure to have your notebook with you each time you’re on the phone. Take notes: who you spoke to, what was discussed, if you need to follow up, the phone number and the date the call was made.
5. Cross it off! Review your to-do list often and cross off items as you complete them, even the smallest of tasks. This will help give you a sense of accomplishment when you feel like you won’t accomplish everything you want to.
6. Put everything in its place. To reduce those “Now, where did I put my….?” moments, establish a designated spot for things like your cellphone, keys, purse and daytimer. File important documents in a central location — in an accordion folder, filing cabinet or desk — for quick retrieval so you don’t have to go rummaging for them or risk losing them.