Dear Strangers, I Know I’ve Got Mom Brain. You Don’t Need to Point It Out


Recently I wrote about how my chronic sleep deprivation has made me as dumb as a winter squash. But it seems some people did not believe me. (‘You’re wearing pants! Can a squash put pants on?’ The answer, of course, is no…but I wouldn’t taste good in a soup.) Also, some people in my life have been pretending not to notice my rapidly declining IQ. If you are one of these people, you are either in the same dumb boat as me or a huge liar who has lost all credibility. Same goes for all of you who said you can’t see the dark circles under my eyes. You have violated my trust and we are no longer friends.

That said, the only thing worse than friends who pretend not to notice how dumb I have become are strangers who point it out.

The other day I was walking home from school with my three kids, two of whom are in school and one who insists on coming for the walk even though she is two-years old and is clearly capable of staying home alone and getting dinner started. As my kids like to play in the yard after school, we didn’t even start heading home until 4:50. At 5:20 we were still a good seven minutes away from my house (we live nine minutes from the school). My two-year old was screaming because she prefers to walk in the street—you know, with the cars—and my overtired seven-year-old was pulling the stroller, presumably hoping that if he pulled hard enough, I would stop walking and we could all take a nap on the sidewalk. My five-year-old was asking questions. How many colours in the rainbow? Why does it get dark out? What’s for dinner? What is string theory?

And then it happened.

‘Mommy? Why is my shadow taller than me?’

‘Because your shadow is always taller’ I said mindlessly, while dragging my seven-year-old off the ground and pulling my toddler out of traffic.

‘Oh is it?’ Said a random man (hereinafter referred to as the Person Really into Culturing Kids, or PRICK for short). ‘Are you sure about that?’

‘What if the sun is directly above you? Would it still be taller?’

‘What is that man saying mommy?’

‘That he is very smart honey, and that he is an excellent listener—even when people aren’t talking to him’

In truth, I do know how shadows work, kind of. I know that they are not always the same height, depending on the time of day. I know that when the sun is directly above you, your shadow is shorter and that at sunrise and sunset it’s taller. I might even be able to make some bunny ears against a wall with some practice and a private lesson or two. But my head just wasn’t in it. Not just because I am stupid-tired, but because I was thinking about thirty or forty other things at that exact same moment. And also, I forget stuff.

Would my daughter have remembered my erroneous answer? Maybe. Should PRICK have jumped in? Probably not. Will I give him the evil eye the next time I see him walking around the neighbourhood? Nope (because I can’t remember what he looks like).

This episode did teach me something about myself. I learned that while I don’t mind telling people about how dumb I am, I prefer not to have pointed it out to me by strangers in front of my kids. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to teaching my children all about how honey bees make maple syrup.

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