I sat there numbly looking at the text in Photoshop, knowing that something was wrong but too tired to figure out what. It took me a good 3 minutes to realize that Too needed another O. Ooof.
I want my brain back.
I used to be smart. At the least, I felt like my brain was nimble enough to handle just about anything the day could throw at me. Even when I was tired, I had my brain. It worked.
Now it doesn’t.
I’m debating causality and correlation here, but this is my hypothesis: my kids are killing my brain cells. After all, before we had kids, I was an up-and-coming artist, brimming with creative energy and ideas. Now, I’m a limp noodle flopping in front of the computer at the end of the day. I crank out a post, manage social media (crap, I forgot Pinterest again?) and then I generally sit there staring at Facebook and not even seeing it until I realize that I’m falling asleep.
The funny thing is, this was a fairly good day for me. Other than the dizziness that I’m battling, I felt pretty good. Some energy, got stuff done, the kids did schoolwork and played with a friend: a good day. And I did my circuit around the pond looking for caterpillars in this heat wave that we’re having. So, productive, check. Exercise, check. Kids’ needs met, check. All good, right?
At some point while I changed out milkweed for the caterpillars, my brain shut off. It reminds me of what my husband said about overclocking a computer – they all have a safety switch that kills the overclock if it starts overheating. My brain just flipped the safety switch and sent me into blue screen mode.
On the face of things, being a parent doesn’t seem that hard. Another person to pay for, another mouth to feed, and minor drama to deal with. Where was the PSA about “hey people! Listen up! Having kids will suck your brain, your life, and your energy level away and you won’t get it back until they go to college. And by then you’ll be old. So consider using protection, ok?” I won’t even go into the physical changes – wait, yes I will! Because I’m no longer the chipper little thing I used to be. I’m droopy. Aching. It doesn’t seem quite fair that women get stuck with all the hard labor (ha! pun intended) and body modifications in this parenting gig.
I’ll admit, even if someone had told me the brutal truth about parenting, we would have done it anyway. Some sort of hormonal nesting urge, I guess. It’s a darn good thing our bodies cheat us into thinking we need to reproduce, because otherwise the human race would cease to exist. Not that you can quantify toddler hugs, newborn fingers, and gap-toothed grins.
No, I miss my brain. We had long sessions pondering the meaning of life, debating the merits of Lord of the Rings over the Hobbit, and coming up with creative images that took dreams, musing, and analysis to finalize. Right now I’m empty. Brain is rattling around in there all lonely and shit. Hello? (hello … hello …. hello … echoes back.) It’s as if … my brain cells were replaced with Cheerios.
Tomorrow I will get up, ready to face a new day. I’ll make a completely unrealistic mental list of what I need to accomplish, and I’ll promise myself that tonight is the night that I will finally finish that Teachers Pay Teachers product that’s waiting for a title sheet. Tomorrow I will do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Kiss boo-boos and offer ice packs. I’ll pick up the damned trains for the zillionth time, and I’ll panic at 4:30 p.m because I ran out of time to actually – cook – something. Anything!
And I’ll put the kids to bed. I’ll ignore the siren call of the bed in our bedroom, and clump back downstairs to do more chores. More crap that has to be done. And then I’ll realize that, yet again, I have absolutely no energy or desire to fill my free time with more work.
You know how they say people live paycheck-to-paycheck? Well, I’m living REM sleep to REM sleep. And running on empty 90% of the time.
No wonder people go do crazy fun stuff when they retire. Because kids. Seriously.