18 May Newsflash – becoming a father may lead to Amnesia
So, I’ve been doing some research. I have been keeping tabs of my husband’s movements when with the kids, and sharing these movements with some girlfriends, who have kids the same age as mine. Shhhh. Don’t tell my husband.
I was out last month for a girls night out, celebrating one of my new mommy friends birthdays; and it happened to be that the majority of women there all had kids close in age, ie: babies and/or toddlers; and we’ve all noticed the same thing: It was clear our husbands were willing and able to look after the kids on their own from time to time, otherwise none of us would be at the girl’s night in the first place, but we all agreed that when we arrive home the same situation faces us upon arrival. Our husbands forget how to live like normal everyday adults.
According to the majority of my mom friends, particularly the ones at this birthday celebration, our husbands all suffer from amnesia when having to look after the kids. It seems when they have the children under their supervision, every other regular mundane task has completely vanished from their brain. Somehow the task of taking the dirty dishes off the kitchen table to the sink or dishwasher, just up and leaves the daddy brain, and the pots and pans that are still half full of leftovers on the stove have been completely forgotten about, as has the wet-now-stinky clothes in the washing machine that have been sitting there all evening. The toilet doesn’t get flushed, the bath doesn’t get drained. What the hell is going on? Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I’d seriously think they have some major form of memory loss. These new dads also seem to forget or perhaps don’t notice that there are 400 Leggos scattered through the hallway, and 15 crayons on and in the couch, and 12 colouring books on the living room floor. My research is leaning towards the possibility of vision impairment in some subjects, but mostly it seems to be memory loss. As in loss of memory of what the house is looked like before Mommy left for her yoga class.
Now, before any of you get a bee in your bonnet, I am not making light of amnesia or memory loss, as those disorders are nothing to make light of. I am however, trying to make light of husbands who struggle to watch their kids and keep the house from looking like a category 5 hurricane has ripped through it. Because you know what, it isn’t THAT hard. We moms do it 24/7 (most days anyway) – especially those of us who are staying at home. Clearly this research doesn’t apply to every single dad and or husband, but my data has informed me that it is quite common side effect here in the South West of Western Australia.
Now the question is, how do we respond to this? Do we tirelessly just put the leftovers away (or in the garbage) and clean those dirty pots and pans and put the dirty dishes away, and not say anything because we are grateful for the few hours of ‘me time’ we had while those pots were being used? Orrrrr do we politely ask if they’ve forgotten how to function like an adult with half a brain and how to put this shit away?
I come home every Saturday morning from teaching yoga and every Saturday morning without fail the kids breakfast bowls are still sitting on the table, the milk and cereal are left on the kitchen counter, the kids pj’s are on the floor in the living room, the beds aren’t made, and 75-85% of my kids toys are scattered throughout the house. How my house can get in this state every week in just over an hour is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, he’s an incredible father, but I seriously can’t imagine what the house would look like if I went away for a few days. I don’t know if it would still be standing.
Perhaps the struggle to keep the house in ‘order’ is because the majority of men aren’t as good at multi tasking as women. I say this because there are a number of studies by accredited universities and research facilities that have proven it, and well because I’ve seen it with my own eyes my entire life. And when discussing my research with a friend of mine in Canada, she reminded me of another possibility as to why women are better multitaskers than men. She pointed out that despite humans evolving over the last 20,000 years, our ancestors, you know the ones who lived in caves, had gender specific roles. The men single mindedly went out to hunt, and only hunt, meanwhile back at the cave the women would have her mini cave baby on their hip, gather berries and nuts, make food, and keep the cave neat and tidy. Perhaps, this explains how moms nowadays can cook dinner, with a baby clinging to her leg, take a phone call from her best friend who’s in Spain backpacking, and pick up leggos off the floor with her toes, while Dad freaks out at the BBQ if you ask him to watch Junior for a minute while you run to the loo.
Oh and by the way, from what I’ve read, multi tasking can also be a learned behavior, so there may still be hope? Can we somehow teach our hubby’s to be multi taskers, who put the milk away as they go into the fridge to grab and apple for the kids snack? I don’t know about you, but I find myself picking up an assortment of things to the point where my hands and arms are overflowing, and one by one dropping said items in their respective ‘homes’ as I walk through the house. No sense in back tracking to pick up more stuff, right? This time saving behavior will never be adopted by my husband and I’ve accepted that. I do see my kids following suit though, and I guess that’s a good thing, till their hands are so full they fall on their face trying to balance it all.
Anyways, the bottom line is, it’s important for dad’s to have one-on-one time with the kids, and it’s important for us mums to have a break, so if this means, coming home to a whirlwind of clothes, dishes and toys all over the house, that is just going to have to be ok. For now anyway, and besides that is what wine is for.
(Post by: Heather Starr)