By Kelly Hines
I used to be smart. I mean, I wasn’t going to win any Mensa awards or anything, but I was pretty freaking smart. I used big words, and knew what they meant. I could add two – sometimes even three – digit numbers in my head. I knew what was happening in the world, and had an opinion about it.
Then sometime between kid one and kid two, I started losing it. Being smart took a lot of effort, and my time and energy was suddenly diverted from watching the news to watching my little one blow spit bubbles. I quit working full time, and my adult interaction plummeted. By kid three, I could barely spell my own name.
“Hey,” I said to my husband one day. “what do you want for dinner? I have some of that stuff I can make.”
“What stuff?,” he said.
“You know, that meat. The white meat. Sometimes it has bones, sometimes it doesn’t.”
He stared at me.
“You know, the meat on farms? The egg-meat?” The name of the animal completely escaped me.
“You mean…chicken?,” he asked tentatively.
“YES! CHICKEN! That’s IT!” I held up a hand for a high five and got nothing. “Egg-meat totally made sense, though,” I said sheepishly.
Eventually, I came out of the baby-fog and starting paying a little more attention to things, but I’ve yet to fully regain my senses. I rely almost exclusively on Facebook and Buzzfeed for news. If it can’t be delivered in a funny video or .gif format, I simply don’t have time. It’s a habit that’s given me just enough information to be dangerous.
We recently attended a party, and I found myself in conversation with a political science professor, a community organizer, and a minister. There was a time when this combination of people would have been thrilling to me. These were once my people – smart, socially active, community focused, well spoken and well read. One of them mentioned a particular religious issue and I jumped all over it
“I just read an article about that!” I exclaimed, so excited to have something contribute. “It was about this guy, and he believed this thing, but I can’t remember what it was called? But it was like that, or, wait. No, no, it wasn’t like that? But it was something like that? Wow, I wish I could remember what it was called. Hey, did you guys see that video on Facebook of the monkey smelling his fart?”
It has all failed me, except one thing: Mothering. Ask me the ibuprofen dosage for a 40 pound child, or how to get a splinter out, or the best method for dealing with the hard core screaming mimi meltdown in aisle 12 at Home Depot, and I’m all over it. I can cook dinner, check math homework, braid hair, and get the last leg of a Transformer to transform, all at the same time. I have an endless supply of funny poop stories, and who wouldn’t rather hear that than a discourse on American politics, anyway?
It has taken getting dumb to wise up. If having three awesome kids means losing a few brain cells – then ignorance is bliss!