Kids Can Cause Mental Meltdowns

pexels-photo-341378 (1)By Kathy P. Behan

My older sister thinks she’s losing her mind. Though she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford, she can never remember where she’s put her keys or, at times, even her own telephone number.

After taking her son to a Cub Scout meeting on the wrong night for the second time in a row, one of my friends began to question her sanity. Her husband is also concerned, since she sent him to help out at a school charity event where he found a locked and darkened building.

Even when he called her to confirm the logistics, she insisted that the fair was that day and belligerently told him to remain at the school until they let him in. It’s a good thing he didn’t listen — the event was actually scheduled for the following Sunday.

Whether it’s showing up at the wrong hockey rink at the right time or the right rink on the wrong day or the right day and time but with the wrong kid, the mothers of America are, to put it simply, losing it. The problem is not that we’re all suffering from memory loss, it’s just that we’ve got too much on our minds.

After all, we’re required to remember not only our own busy schedules, but we also have to coordinate our children’s medical appointments, school, athletic and social activities, and for the most part, our husbands’ itineraries as well.

Juggling so many balls at a time, it’s no wonder that occasionally one drops. Just slogging through our daily routines greatly contributes to the clogging of our minds. And as usual, it’s our children who are mostly to blame. After all, they are diabolically gifted at gumming up our mental works. The main reason is because, for the most part, they don’t do what they’re told. If they did, our brains would be free to move on to the next step without having to replay repeated requests.

Here’s what I mean. I’m frantically trying to get the kids up and ready for school, and they aren’t helping. While I’m trying to make lunches, my daughter complains that she can’t find her shoes. I send her off to look for them in the playroom. Brendan wanders by still in his pajamas. Putting the lunches aside, I follow him into his room to remind him that he needs to leave for the bus in 10 minutes and to hurry.

Checking on the progress of my eldest, I discover that he hasn’t brushed his teeth yet and order him to do so. Resuming lunch making, I hear the television in my bedroom. Going to investigate, I discover my still shoeless daughter raptly watching Barney. I turn off the T.V. and remind her to find her shoes.

With T-minus-five until the bus comes, child number two goes into the bathroom still partially clad in his pajamas. Resisting the urge to scream, I urge him to HURRY!

Trying to remember what I was doing, I enter the kitchen and see the still incomplete lunches on the counter. Scrambling to finish, my oldest reminds me that he has a hockey game directly after school and that I need to pick him up. “You’ve got to write my teacher a note, Mom.” I write the note and begin stuffing the lunches into the backpacks.

“I still can’t find my shoes and I’ve looked everywhere!” wails the youngest. After locating the shoes, and tugging them onto her feet, I help Brendan into his jacket. Looking into his backpack, he complains, “This isn’t my lunch box, mine is the blue one.”

Switching the lunches, I then try to quickly usher the kids out the door. On his way, Cullen stops and turns to me. “Boy, Mom, I always thought you had a good memory.” Yeah, so did I.

Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.

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