Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Does Motherhood make you stupid?

Does Motherhood make you stupid? I've never given this question a thought until I was reading a blog the other day by one of my former students.
See, back in 1998 I was fresh out of college and landed a great job as a middle school art teacher in a small rural Indiana community. I worked there for five wonderful years before I married DR and began moving all over the country. It's weird to think that all my students are now in their twenties!! Anyway, this blog, is written by one of my students who is working on her doctorate in psychology. She blows me away. She's just such an intelligent young woman with an incredible ability of tying in her love of art and photography with her study of psychology.

While reading her post the other day I was forced to ask myself....."What have I been doing in the world of learning? Am I still smart? What does it mean to be smart anyway?"

I reflected on my life a bit and was able to summarize my current work in various areas of study.

Math - "Do I have enough time to drive to WalMart and back before naptime?"

Arts - "Where's that Pooh Sing-a-Long video?"

History - "Time to dig out the immunization records again."

Economics - "Bills, bills, bills..."

Language Arts - "Good Night Moon!"

Psychology - "What were those kids thinking? All three of them in the shower at the same time....and Yahoo was dressed!!!"

Current Events - "CNN Headlines on my Google Reader Feed; who has time to sit and watch the news?"

It can be depressing when I think how I've been out of the work force or a "thinking community" for the last six years. I'm not doing lesson plans or meeting with other teachers or attending educational conferences anymore. I'm not staying up on the latest trends/legislation/issues in education. Could I even go back and do it again? I've let my teaching license lapse...sorry, hard to keep up when you've lived in 5 different states!! If I do want to go back to teaching again I'd have to return to college for a while. How stupid have I become?

I mean, as a stay at home mom my whole world and manner of thinking has changed. Teething, potty training,naps and the basics of feeding and clothing my family is what my world revolves around now. A doctorate in psychology like my former student? It seems like another world and I feel stupid just thinking about all the 'smart' people out there who get to 'think' more than I do. 

But maybe stay at home mommies aren't dumbing down. Maybe we are just getting a new kind of smarts. Purse Gurl asked me the other day about naps. How did I know when to put my kids down for a nap? How did I know when they didn't need a nap anymore? I had to think about it. How did I know? I guess it's something I've picked up through other moms, books and my kids cues.

What other smarts have I acquired through motherhood? Time management for one. I can get more packed into a day now than I ever could when I was in my twenties. I'm  much more patient than I used to be and a better listener. I suppose I'm more flexible than I used to be too, more go with the flow. But are my 'mommy skills' the same as 'smarts'? Does being a stay at home mom make me dumber?

What do you think moms? Are you smarter, stupider or about the same since you became a mom? Does it matter? Should it matter?

Hmmm, I think I've made myself more confused writing this post than I was before.


  1. Feeling it too! I've got all 3 in school full time now and decided I needed to get out of the house some and have interaction with grown people - and I am scared to fill out the substiture teaching application!

  2. I've been a mom since I was 20, so I don't have much adult time without children to compare my life to. I do feel smarter now though than before. Smarter in a different way though.

    The flip side is a definate feeling of scatter-brains. I have more than just a full plate, I have about 12 full plates, and it takes it's toll on my day to day thinking abilities. When I slow down, the kids are all in bed, and I've had some time to unwind, I can reflect on things and realize that I haven't totally lost my brains, they've just changed.


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