I found the Mr. standing in the middle of the kitchen staring into space. Like many of us, he forgot why he came into the room once he got there. This made me start thinking about how long I had been doing the same thing as I had a niggling worry deep inside about going senile. And I think I nailed down the problem that leads us to forgetting things.
Think about it. Before kids, we generally cruise along in life fighting the battled of becoming an adult. Sure, we forget to do things now and then, but the majority of the time we are sailing along just fine. Then it hits women first when they get pregnant. Baby brain slowly creeps in but we cope with it, after all baby will come along soon and it will all change. Our husbands, partners, whatever, get upset with our baby brain moments, but generally just laugh at us.
Then baby comes along. And so does a complete lack of sleep, organization, and ability to think. New parents are so tired that sleep is more important than showers, food, or even sex. That is when true forgetfulness strikes both parents hard. The slow unraveling begins. Even after the baby sleeps through the night, starts walking, potty trains, and talks, the brain begins to drop bit and pieces everywhere.
OK, kids get old enough to go to school, most folks have several by then, and are pretty oblivious to the brain drain taking place. Mom and dad start making notes and keeping calendars to stay on track, Kids have school, sports, play dates (as silly as that sounds), and there are a multitude of other activities from school plays to family dinners. And the brain just keeps dripping cells everywhere.
By now the parents are in their forties. Kids are driving themselves and creating a life of their own, soon they will be off to college or working (hopefully), and the house gets less hectic. The only calendar kept is one for doctor appointments and such. Until, one day, the house is empty and a couple is alone again. And that is when the final event hits, the memory wall.
We forget what we were saying mid conversation. We forget where we put our glasses Every. Single. Day. We forget our car keys, our wallets, and where we took off our shoes. We double check to see if we fed the dog and if we left water out for the cat. We have to go see if we locked the car door, and we always have to make sure where we put the credit card after using it. But mostly, we can’t go from one room to the next without forgetting what we were going to do when we got there.
Sometimes, we stare in the refrigerator thinking that’s why we are in the kitchen. Or, we go into a room four times before we get what we came for, because we get distracted by something else, and walk out of the room without the one thing we needed.
By the time we get to retirement age, we start reminding each other about things before going out the door. We do a check list, wallet, keys, glasses, hat, sunglasses, cell phone, and most importantly the list of things to get done or for shopping. Oh, and don’t forget each other while you are out.
So, yep, it is all because we have kids. Those that don’t have kids, have extended family, friends, and pets to help drain our brains as we age. Therefore, it doesn’t help not to have kids.
Next time you are standing in the middle of a room and forget why you are standing there, remember to blame it on the kids. And watch your own kids start down the same road with their kids and laugh. Then spoil your grandchildren and sent them home, just to get even.