Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I am smart--I have a Mommy Brain

So the other day my eldest daughter said, "Mommy you aren't so smart." I became defensive immediately and probed on to find out her comment came from comments I had made about "not having as good of a memory as Daddy." Of course, I explained to her that Daddy has an exceptionally good memory, better than most, and that having a good memory wasn't the only way people are smart. Yada yada yada......

Which segues perfectly into a book I have just read, "The Mommy Brain; How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter" by Katherine Ellison. I just couldn't help but want to read this...because even though I was defensive at my daughter's comment I often wonder if I am losing my smarts. Good news....according to the research (mostly done on rats who have similar brains to humans) in this book I am not!!! Hooray!!! Anyone who says "I swear having kids has made me dumber," should read this book and cut themselves a break.....sleep deprivation, being overwhelmed at first at a new job with no manual and no training, and shock (what did I do?) can cause anyone to skip a step.

Here are just a few ways having children (according to research on rats) makes you smarter:
* perception (more sensitive to the sounds of your own child than others, improved visual perception--can spot a dangerous environment or situation)
*efficiency (multitasking--what mother especially of multiple children doesn't do this?, cognitive flexibility--able to think about things in new ways, being able to focus on the essential and ignore the irrelevant)
*resiliency (oxytocin hormone calms you---reduced reaction to stress, better memory due to oxytocin--ha ha, increased social networking)
*motivation (less fearful when necessary to take risks for your child's well being, aggressive towards a threat, motherhood causes you to re-examine your priorities and re-direct your energies)
*emotional intelligence (learning to care more about someone else needs than your own, figuring out a nonverbal child's wants and desires strengthens your ability to understand others feelings and motives---90% of communication is nonverbal anyway, increased empathy, increased self-restraint, improved conflict resolution skills).

"When asked which part of parenting helped most in her subsequent diplomatic career, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright answered, 'Getting people to play well together!' Mothering,that is, provided the groundwork for her expertise in managing a huge bureaucracy and supervising highly emotional negotiations over foreign conflicts. In doing so, she would often be reminded of 'children arguing and feeling that they can't understand the other person's side.'" (K Ellison)--Welcome to my everyday :)

All these "improvements" can be translated into skills for a job outside the home. We just need to see them as such. We need to advocate for ourselves. Perhaps we should start listing motherhood on our resumes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


There's only one way to teach self-esteem: You give them something they can't do, they work hard until they do it, and you just keep repeating the process.---Randy Pausch

Maybe my self-esteem would be better if I took on more tasks that I'm not immediately successful at. The accomplishment would probably be relished more, rather than expected.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You can do better is not "You're not good enough"

"Guys that was pretty good but I know you can do better". He was telling me I obviously didn't know how high the bar should be and I'd only do a disservice by putting it anywhere."----Randy Pausch "The Last Lecture"

I hope when I push you to strive for more you feel it's because I believe in you and not because you feel you aren't good enough. I will try to tell you specifically what I like 10 times more than I say something I don't like. How am I doing at that???

Love, Mom

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hard lessons

It's not how hard you hit but how hard you are hit and keep moving forward---Randy Pausch

I'm trying very hard to stay out of your way and let you learn life's lessons your own way. I only wish it weren't so darn hard. I want to protect you from pain and disappointment....but really the better lesson is to teach you how to deal with frustration and how to get back onto your feet if you fall. You'll feel stronger that way. At the same time, I'll always be here with a kiss and a band-aid, trying hard not to gasp as I see the fall coming.

I want you both to be the type of people who make lemonade from the lemons life throws at you. I want you to find the good in the bad. I want you to find strength as the world crumbles around you. But I also want you to reach out for help when you need it. Read the "The Last Lecture," Randy is a great example of a lemonade manufacturer :)

I realize I need to model that type of persistence, but also allow you to in small measures experience the joy that comes with a hard earned victory over adversity.

Love, Mama

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keep trying

"Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren't there to keep you out. They are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The Brick walls are there for people who don't want it badly enough." --Randy Pauch

Or as you both sing from "Yo Gabba Gabba"....."Keep trying, keep trying. Don't give up, don't give up. Keep trying, keep trying. You'll get it right, you'll get it right."

Persist and fight to make your dreams a reality. I'll be there to cheer you on :). If it's hard to acheive, the success will be even sweeter.

---Love, Mom

-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, October 8, 2009


"When you are screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you. You may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better." Randy Pauch

I hope you will not be as sensitive to criticism as I am. Don't take it as a personal attack....see it Randy's way instead.

Love, Mom

-- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All Apologies

"Proper apologies have three parts: what I did was wrong; I feel badly I hurt you; how do I make this better?" From The Last Lecture by: Randy Pausch

Hopefully I always do this and hopefully you will learn that nobody's perfect and apologies are a necessary part of life. Don't ever be afraid to admit when you are wrong. And try not to make the same mistake twice.

Love, Mom

-- Posted from my iPhone