The Solution to Mommy Brain


I had to do it. The basement was out of control. I probably should have entered with a hunting permit just in case. Yesterday, I put on my Bean boots just to wade through it all to get to the laundry. For months, it has been the stash center of everything that didn't belong anywhere else. Mountaineering and ice climbing gear, recycling, open Amazon boxes, various categories of baby clothes to be sorted and stored, several stacks of sewing projects, ironing, and a variety of laundry tasks, not to mention all the mini-projects each item on my desk represents, and of course, maternity clothes I'm still finding (because when you move with a baby and a toddler, the organization of your packed stuff is as though you turned your house on its side and shook the contents out the windows).

I'll help!  Ooh, aren't these divine?
I'll help! Ooh, aren't these divine?

It's hard to get rid of things. It's a struggle for me because keeping and using things gives the things a magical power- the power of being a tangible memory. I hang on to the painful as well as the good, because it's me. I have to remind myself the layers of experience have merged, making me who I am today, and try not to keep the molds.

Once you've forgotten about something for a few months, it's easier to look at it objectively. Look at each thing and ask yourself, "If I were to see this at Goodwill, would I buy it?" If the answer isn't a resounding yes, then donate it. There's an opportunity cost to keeping it, and that's that you have less space for something new. Give it away, and give yourself room in your mind and in your house.

Tonight I gave away a few baby girl clothes that had been given to me by my dear friends. It's the first time I've ever donated baby clothes. I decided to pass the love on. I also pulled out an old sweater jacket I used to wear to political rallies, a Diane von Furstenberg suit I bought on a whim in Scottsdale, a top I bought with a good friend during a tough time, a shirt I nursed in, pumped in, and closed many thousands of dollars of business in during early stages of two pregnancies (it now has holes in it), the dress I bought with my late mother-in-law and wore the day we joined our church holding our 2-month-old son, the sweater I wore on our cruise in Key West (coincidentally shrunken from the first and last time Husband ever did my laundry), a wrap dress I never quite figured out that I bought to easily nurse a baby while at Disney World, and suits from various iterations of my pre-pregnancy life.

The remaining supply looks thin, but is more descriptive of me now. I'm a mommy, and my clothes are starting to show it - more colorful, less dressy, more messy-ready. These days my pants wear a hole in the left knee playing or shooting film at toddler level. But at the bottom of my remaining stash, what did I find? A cowboy hat, ready for dress-up play. Luckily, this goes with any outfit.

While I'm on the subject of mommy wear, can we all please agree to stop dressing alike?! Today at the Portland Children's Museum, I saw 4 women arrive together wearing almost IDENTICAL outfits! Four! They wore the Mommy uniform: skinny jeans, tall boots, a top with a scarf (probably chevron), and a jacket or coat. Skinny jeans have now been a thing for 6 years. (Seven if you count the year Emo kids and hipsters made them popular.) Can we please move on? I'm so ready for maxi dresses to come back so I can cross my legs without cutting off circulation to my head. Maybe that's what's causing all this Mommy brain.

Maxi dresses are great. Not only do they cover everyone's flaws and allow complete blood circulation, they control the cray-cray in your life by simplifying your wardrobe. It's all-purpose, a onesie for adults. You can go to the beach in one, you can go to church in one, you can grocery shop in one, your kids can spray you with a hose in one, you can birth a baby, you can nurse, you can sneak kids into the movie theater, and if their game of Mommy's Dress is a Circus Tent ever gets too annoying, you can just escape out the top and before they notice you're gone, you can change. Into another maxi dress.