Are you forgetful sometimes?
Has one of your kids or your husband said something to you and then five minutes later you don’t remember what it was? Maybe sometimes it takes less than five minutes to forget (like it does for me sometimes). I call this challenge combating mom forgetfulness.
When this happens to me, I find myself in a quandary: do I ask my loved one to say again what he or she just said (which reveals that I don’t remember) or do I not ask and hope it will come up again soon or hope that it wasn’t important?
I have to admit, I’ve done both. Of the two choices, I have found that it is best to come clean and ask again.
Defining Mom Forgetfulness
I define mom forgetfulness as forgetting things I want to remember or forgetting things I think I should remember. How old our son was when he took his first steps is something I want to remember. What my husband told me yesterday about his work schedule today is something I think I should remember without too much effort.
What time is the dentist appointment on Thursday? Or, was it Wednesday?
Is soccer practice at 5:30 or 6:00?
Did our daughter ask me to get chocolate chips at the store this week? I ask myself this while I am shopping and have no way to reach her to ask and find out.
Questions like these can swirl around inside my head as I try to grasp at them to bring them into clear focus from the vague thoughts that they usually are.
Combating Mom Forgetfulness
Combating mom forgetfulness can be done. It takes work and practice. Here are some simple steps we can take to help us to be more focused and remember the things that are important for us to remember.
1. Look in the eyes of the person who is speaking to you.
I have found this to be helpful to keep me focused on listening well.
If I realize I have not paid attention when my child or husband (or anyone else, for that matter) had spoken to me, I will look my child or my husband in the eye and say, “I’m sorry. I was not completely paying attention to you just now when you were speaking to me. Can you please tell me again what you said?” I will continue to look him or her in the eye as I listen and then repeat back what he or she just said.
Looking the person in the eye helps me to more closely pay attention and shows the person speaking to me that I am paying attention and that I care about what he or she had to say to me.
2. Repeat back the words you just heard.
This is a tool that has really made a difference for me.
It feels sometimes that we are speaking different languages, especially as husband and wife. What my husband says is not always what I hear and what I say is not always what my husband hears.
After the person speaking to me has finished speaking, I will repeat back what I just heard. This accomplished three goals. 1-I make sure that I truly understand what was said to me. 2-I will remember better what was said since I just repeated it out loud myself. 3-I show the person talking to me that understanding and remembering what he or she just said is important to me, which lets the person know that he or she is important to me.
3. Take action.
Knowing and understanding what was just said to me is one thing. Remembering it and applying it is another thing. Taking action is the next important step. I will ask myself, “What do I need to do next?” Do I need to give my son a hug, make a phone call, pay a bill, write a letter, or write something on the calendar?
Whatever next step is that I need to take, I should do it now or write down what I need to do and put my note where I will see it so I will remember to do it.
4. Write it down.
Writing things down helps me to remember them and helps me to keep organized. The more I have written down where I will check it, the less I have to keep organized in my brain.
One of the things the kids hear me say often is, “it’s on the calendar.” We have a huge wall calendar in our kitchen so we can keep track of our family’s events and appointments. Me trying to remember everything does not work (I tried this once upon a time), so everything goes on the calendar.
I also keep a planner for day-to-day tasks and notes I personally want to remember. I keep my daily planner sheets in a binder so I can go back to them for any notes that are important.
If you want to try using a daily planner sheet yourself, sign up for Blessed Catholic Mom and you will receive a pdf download of my daily planner sheet and be subscribed to my e-mail list. You can find the subscription form at the end of each post and in the sidebar.
5. Make a plan.
Plan to pay attention. Plan to remember. Make the conscious effort to pay attention to and truly listen to others when they talk to you.
If I plan to look at our son in the eye when he is speaking to me, I need to know that he will want to speak to me while I am doing something else. A few days ago I was standing at the kitchen counter making dinner and our son came into the kitchen and started talking to me. I moved the bowl to the table by him so I could continue working, yet face him as he was talking to me. I asked him questions about what he was saying to show him that I was paying attention. We had a much nicer conversation than we would have had if I would have continued working with my back to him.
Plan how you will handle conversations and pieces of information so you will remember them. Will you look in the eyes of the person speaking to you? Do you plan to ask relevant questions? Will you write things down? If so, where will you write them down and what will you do to keep track of them and make sure you follow through?
By planning ahead and thinking these things through, you set yourself up for success.
Ask God for help. He will help you.
Pray in the morning for God’s help and the ability to focus so you can pay attention to and remember the important things that happen in the day. God will help you to have that focus and patience.
Remember to thank Him, too, for his help.
Remember that you are a work in progress.
My husband is fond of saying: “We are a work in progress.” We need to work on ourselves today-to work one day at a time.
As wives and mothers, we are the heart of our home. Our kids and husbands can ask us so many questions throughout the day. (At least mine do!) What is for dinner? When will we leave to go to the library? Did you hear what I said? Where are my shoes? Cay you tell my brother to leave me alone?
We can be pulled in many different directions at the same time. By paying closer attention to our family members when they speak to us and having a plan to remember the important things, combating mom forgetfulness is a lot easier. You can do it!