Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

February 1, 2007

Selective Amnesia

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 11:01 pm

When I was pregnant, I cannot tell you how many times people would tell me horror stories of their children’s birth. After spilling their gruesome tales, they would then reason away their guilt of telling a pregnant woman this by saying “don’t worry, a few months after birth, you won’t remember the whole ordeal and you will want to go through the whole thing again.” I thought they were crazy.

And yet, months later I was getting pregnant again. My children are a mere 15 mos apart.

At the same time, I remember Justin’s first 3 months were filled with colic. I know distinctly that those months were difficult times. And yet, the other day someone asked me about them – I found that I had blacked out almost the entire 3 months. I couldn’t even remember that this friend had visited me during that time. Seriously, I can’t even conjure up the most remote picture of it in my brain. All I remember is Justin’s crying… and even the pain from that crying that has dulled.

It is like my brain has some sort of built in mommy-filter, that allows me to survive and still want to procreate. No I am not saying I want another child right now. But somehow my brain is trying to rid any memory it has of the craziness of my pregnancies, the tiring first few months, the difficulty of having two children close in age, and the fact that it KNOWS adding a third child to the mix will ‘spice things up’ about a MILLION notches, not just one.

Somehow I can understand this behaviour because over time you forget all the bad things, and focus on the good things. At least I find that I do.

However, how do you explain the selective amnesia that happens to me every day?

Everyday is filled with extreme highs & lows. Extremes created not by me, but by my children. One minute we are having a Kodak moment. The next minute we are on America’s Funniest Home Videos, where children are laying on the ground in a puddle of water in front of the neighbors, kicking and crying and trying to beat the concrete senseless because they couldn’t spray their baby brother with the garden hose. (by the way, these home videos are only funny to the mother of these children after about 2 bottles of wine) (and yes, this actually happened to me yesterday, so I should know)

By the end of the day, I am counting the minutes until 6:00 when Nathan will walk through that door. If he’s a minute late, it sends me into a tailspin. No, I am not tired of my kids. I just am tired of being in charge. I look forward to Nathan coming home and lending a helping hand. Or better yet, simply taking over and letting me do the dishes without worrying about little hands reaching in to grab the knives.

I look forward to 7:30 when the kids will be in bed, and I can relax on the couch with Nathan – a fellow adult. We can zone out to bad TV, which does not include Dora the Explorer. We can read a book. Or we can sit there and do nothing… which sometimes is equally as nice. However, after about an hour of ‘detox’… I find myself telling Nathan all the adorable things that the kids did during the day. Often I can’t remember why I was so tired by 6:00. And I am now laughing at the things they did, which at the time had me wanting to pull my hair out.

If you wait another hour, I am actually missing them! I find myself secretely hoping they wake and cry for Mommy, so I can snuggle them one more time.  And, I find myself creeping into their room to tuck them into their blankets and give them a kiss while they sleep.

As I drift off to sleep, I find myself smiling at the thought of my children – completely forgetting the things that happened earlier in the day that had us all teetering on edge.  Maybe this selective amnesia is the way stay-at-home parents can do their job day after day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

No matter how it happens, or why,  I say thank you to my brain for being smart enough to create this mommy-filter.  I like it.  Keep it coming.

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