Monday, April 20, 2009

Sharpening up the Mommy Brain

You high school and in college I was very articulate. I could use all kinds of adjectives, adverbs and beautiful phrases. I never forgot a noun and I certainly got the names of all my friends and siblings straight.

However, when Steve and I gave birth to our firstborn, I realized that at the tender age of 21, my brain seemed to be rapidly going downhill. What was wrong with me? Could it be the onset of early dementia? How come I seemed to be so suddenly...well...dull? Interestingly, scientists now agree that this is not a mom's imagination. Termed momnesia by one researcher, it appears stress, sleep deprivation and hormones are at the root of our declining mental agility.

You know what else I think is to blame? I think it also has to do with the particular kind of brain exercise a mom is often lacking. Before having children, I had more flexible time with far fewer interruptions. I would read lengthy and challenging works much more often. Nowdays, I am much more likely to skim through a parenting blog or a magazine article. These can be valuable, but are not sustaining for the brain by themselves. Often this type of reading contains mostly information whereas Charlotte Mason said that a brain's proper food is ideas.

Recently, a friend recommended a particular article from the archives of the Parents' Review at AmblesideOnline. I printed it off to read and found it quite challenging. The article, written over 100 years ago, was full of literary language that I don't read very often these days. On one hand, I felt inspired by the article and refreshed to be exercising my brain in a way I hadn't done in awhile. On the other hand, I found myself getting antsy and longing to put the article down and read a 'snippet' of something easy.

I did, however, persevere and was very pleased that I had worked to excavate some wonderful ideas I could digest over the next several days.

Beginning this week, I am hoping you will join me in a weekly 'Read-Along' of some of the articles from The Parents' Review. I will post a link to an article each Monday and will share my thoughts about the article each Thursday. I would love to have several of you share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section of the post on Thursdays. Sound good?

This week, we will read, "Parents as Inspirers" written by Charlotte Mason. If you would like to participate, I suggest printing the article and reading through with a pencil in hand to underline those things that stand out as you read. Check in on Thursday to read my thoughts on the article and to share your own. See you then -- I'm looking forward to it!

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