Mom Brain and Vacation: A Guide for Remembering Not to Forget

Mom brain is often touted as a “bad” thing, when in reality, mom brain is what sets us up for taking on the heavy task load of motherhood. Here’s why mom brain is a value!

by Jordan Paul

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Mom Brain refers to the forgetfulness and brain fog that some mothers experience during pregnancy and after the birth of their children.”

Long before I had children of my own, I remember the first time I heard the phrase, “mom brain.” The person saying it often irritated me so I was already on edge but this rubbed me the wrong way. It was as if her new role as a mother was her excuse and sudden pardon for her tardiness, forgetfulness, and absent-minded listening.

Over the years, it seemed like the phrase caught like wild fire and I was hearing “mom brain” from every seemingly overtired, overworked, and overstimulated mother on this side of the moon. 

When Chris and I made the decision to start a family, I made a vow that at no point in pregnancy or after would I allow the insulting phrase to be part of my vocabulary. I knew I’d already be facing the societal pressures of eating the right thing to develop the baby’s fingernails in utero and bouncing back into my uncomfortable jeans postpartum. I didn’t need another reason to be looking at my dazed and confused state as “mom brain” when it was in fact, just utter exhaustion and discomfort. In no way did I want someone to think just because I was pregnant or taking care of a fresh newborn that I was ditzy or incapable of the task at hand.

However, now that I am a mother, I have completely come to fall in love with the term. Having a “mom brain” is by far the best compliment anyone can give to a mother. But not for reasons as stated above. It all came to light as I was packing for our first airplane ride heading toward our first vacation. 

As any mom knows, the stress that comes with planning a family vacation can often succumb to the original connotation of the dreaded phrase. It would be easy to forget the important things, like…underwear or if we actually did turn off the stove and blame it on the raging hormones pulsing through our veins as we juggle kids, dishes, husbands, and book clubs.  

So, allow me to completely reshape how you think of that little noggin of yours as you prepare for your next trip or family outing. 


I’ll never forget the first plane ride with the baby. I did all of the right things and made it through security and to the gate while everyone cheered me on as I unlocked a new level of parenthood. Everything was going amazingly until I decided to change the baby’s diaper after hitting altitude.

It was there in the smallest space in the sky when I realized that the pressure change made my baby have a blowout through her outfit. Behold! My awesome mom brain packed “for such a time as this.” I hadn’t forgotten extra clothes, extra wipes, extra poop bags, extra bows, extra sanitizer, extra, extra, extra. I was ridiculed at the amount of stuff I packed but, in the moment, I had everything I needed.

That’s what us moms do.

We could never forget the favorite snacks, the game-day socks, the coveted blanky. We’d not dare forget to print the tickets, check-in to the flights, reserve the cars. We have the obvious answer to “Mom, did you bring…?” We can lift our hands victoriously and give a loud eyeroll as we reply with, “I didn’t forget.”

Mom brains can juggle the schedules of multiple kids, the demands of multiple activities, and still not forget to pack lunches accompanied with love notes. 


On a vacation, it is only a mother who can simultaneously remember the demands waiting at home while coexisting with the demands of the present. A mom brain can be sitting on a beach and understand that when she gets home, she’ll have to make brownies for the school bake sale the next day but still manage to snap pictures of the kids playing with dad against the waves (Hence the reason that there are never any photos taken of mom and kids. No other brains in the world understand that this is important).     

Because of this, mom brains have no other option but to soak it all in and remember. We covet vacation with family; time away from the reality of everyday life. But because so much of the load falls on our shoulders (or on the thing sitting atop it), we have to make an intentional effort to memorize every detail of the vacation to fill our soul until next time. 

Our days after the vacation are filled with children reminiscing about the fun had and the experiences they shared. They’ll remember big-picture stuff; the souvenirs they got, the rides they went on. But, a mom brain will remember the way their hair blew in the wind as they threw their hands up in abandon, the way their smile looked as they turned around after splashing in the waves, and the sound of the laughter that filled up the rooms they occupied. 

A mom brain will remember every. little. detail. 

Just like The Scarecrow says in The Wizard of Oz, “(mom) Brains are the only thing worth having in this world.”

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