Sleeping on the Job: Mom Brain Strikes Again

9.22.09: Leo's 16th month


Once, not so long ago, I would have called it boob brain: that feeling of, well, duuuuuuhhhhhhhhh. I would have blamed it on pregnancy, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, hormones…Leo, in short. And now? Well I think it's writer's block. Except not just when I'm writing.

Yes, I'm tired. Leo is teething again, so we're all up early these days. And of course there are hormones, though they no longer have anything to do with Leo, just my own ups and downs. And there's work—all that staring at a screen while sitting in a windowless cube is uninspiring. But mostly, I think I've been so focused on the minutiae of daily existence that I've lost sight of the larger picture.

We put a huge amount of work into keeping up with the physical needs of our family lately. Tonight I've got laundry in the dryer, dishes in the dishwasher, the house is finally clean, though it's covered in piles of baby clothes ready to go to my in-laws who are expecting their second baby. Our only-eat-home-food diet is really working, and we're enjoying it too. For tomorrow I've packed Leo pasta with broccoli, beans and cheese, plus cucumbers, milk, breadsticks and a piece of my mom's honey cake, which I made last weekend to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Aaron and I have containers of pasta salad with broccoli and beans ready to grab on the way out the door. And there are Aaron's homemade waffles in the freezer for breakfast, to eat with cantaloupe and yogurt. Please don't ask me what’s for dinner tomorrow night!

All the little don't-forget-to-put-another-pair-of-socks-in-Leo's-bag moments have begun to add up. Or to subtract, actually, from my total brainpower. I am a blob of a mom right now. Occasionally, I glimpse the larger picture. Like the stunning twilight sky I caught for a moment as I let the cat in tonight. The feel of Leo's head on my chest as I read The Going to Bed Book three times in a row. And the tinyness of the 3-6 month onesies that my sister-in-law will probably consider too big to be useful when she's sorting stuff to get ready for the new baby.

The experience of spending the summer in Vermont hasn't entirely disappeared either. The clean green open feeling of being there with Leo and the joy he took in getting dirtier than I could ever let him get in the city. There, you couldn't help but notice how gorgeous the sky was—and not just once in a while. We came back thinking we might not want to live in the city much longer. Now that we're wedged back into our urban existence, I can't imagine leaving our community for good. But it would be great to get out of town for a moment—say, a leaf-peeping excursion one of these weekends. That may be all I need to clear my head. That, or a personal chef who specializes in steaming carrots and folding laundry.

Honey Cake