Motherbrain and Other Embarrassing Disorders

I recently had to make a visit to my eye doctor. I have the eyes of a 103-year-old in a 29-year-old (ok, ok, 31-year-old) body. The technicians literally gasp when they first see my prescription and I get the feeling they dread the “which is better, one or two?” game just as much as I do because I answer “blurry is blurry” for so many times they have to quit to take a smoke break.

But this is not my point. Because this was my first time to this particular office, I had to fill out the 1000-page medical and insurance forms before I could be seen. No problem, I thought, I won’t have the girls with me and will quickly and easily fill out any forms and answer any questions necessary. I am a college educated adult, after all.

Name, Sharon Webber. Male or female? Female. So far, so good, I think.

I breeze through the form asking for my address, maiden name, and medical history. No one asks me to take them to the bathroom. No one colors on my shoes with a sharpie. No one even lays on the floor screaming for my attention as I continue through the forms, happily discovering that I do, in fact, still remember how to write in cursive.

But just as I begin to relax and enjoy the process of form-filling, I am hit by a sever and sudden onset of what is laughed at by the world of non-mothers. A disorder that shows up randomly and without warning at any time, leaving its victim virtually paralyzed, and it is nearly impossible to hide. What is it, you ask? A little something I refer to as “mother brain”.

I see the blank lines looking at me sinisterly, as if they dare me to come up with an answer. The trouble is this, they have asked my social security number. I begin to feel warm as I loosen my scarf around my neck and try to summon the magic numbers from the recesses of my mind. Social security I still have one of those? Am I still an official citizen with one of these prized numbers? If I could just think of the first few numbers that would get me started. In triumph I whip out my driver’s license. But wait, Michael made me take it off for security reasons. Hmmm....umm....well, nevermind, it will come to me, I’m sure. I move onto the next question.

Birthdate. In horror I realize these numbers, too, are slow in coming. I was born, wasn’t I? When might that have been? I look around to see if I know anyone else in the waiting room who maybe would remember, but they are all happily filling out their own forms, pens busily scribbling information they have not forgotten.

Suddenly, a technician approaches me to ask for my glasses. I hand them over and then she asks, “what kind of lenses do you wear?” I open my mouth to answer, but just look at her instead. NOTHING. NADA. I wear contact lenses? “Ummm...hard lenses,” I blurt out in relief. “Yes, dear, I know, but I need to know what BRAND.” My, this mother brain is going downhill fast. I sheepishly confess that I have no idea and she tells me not to worry, she will try to figure it out.

Finally, I finish the forms and turn back to the social security question. For goodness’ sakes, I can remember all kinds of numbers. I know each of my three children’s birthweights, how many inches they were, what time they were each born, how many ounces of formula they drank at what time, how many wet diapers they had any given day, I even once knew the number of hairs on my youngest baby’s head (three).

Reluctantly, I pull out my cell phone to call my husband and ask for the answer. I stare at the keypad, only to realize two things....first, I cannot recall the number. Second, I forgot to charge the phone.

But finally, as if sensing the seriousness of my mother brain moment, the receptionist offers helpfully to find my social security number for me in my medical records. And just like that, I am saved. Rescued from my brief interlude with insanity. I absentmindedly rifle through my purse and clutch the pacifier hidden in my lipstick pouch. Instantly, I relax. Everything is coming back. I know who I am. I am Sharon Webber, supermom.

Just please, please don’t ask me what my area code is.


Okay, you really need to submit your journals for publishing! They're great! Hope you're well.

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