Monday, April 26, 2010

Does marriage and/or having kids make you stupid?

Or just forgetful? Or is it just old age?

Am I the only one who must write EVERYTHING down (to-do items, groceries, upcoming events) or risk running out of milk or sanity or underwear? (And no, that is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.)

As I recall, back in the day (i.e., before getting married and then having my daughter), I never wrote anything down -- not phone numbers, not appointments, not groceries, not "remember to pick up the dry cleaning," nothing. Kept it all in my head -- and never forgot anything. Now? I keep a list in every room -- and constantly ask people to remember to remind me. (Though for some reason, I still know the lyrics to "Escape," aka "The Pina Colada Song," and dozens of phone and license plate numbers, many of people whom I barely know.)

Moreover, I often find myself blurting out utter nonsense that has nothing to do with the brilliant, well reasoned thought or statement I had meant to articulate.

So, is marriage and/or children to blame? (Always good to have a scapekid, i.e., a little scapegoat.) Or is it just old age?

While (briefly) researching this post, I could not find any scientific evidence that marriage makes you dumber (fatter? yes; happier? yes; dumber? no; though apparently sex makes you stupid, but considering how rarely most married people have sex, I don't think it applies). However, I did find this highly amusing article about kids making you dumber on Salon titled "Is my kids making me not smart?" which I am sure many of you parents can relate to.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts via the Comments.


Sarah Lindahl said...

In a word, yes, kids make you stupid. I don't know about marriage, I think that might make you smarter, but it doesn't matter because any intelligence points you get from marriage are taken by the kids anyway. I should write everything down, but I don't, because that's how stupid I am, and a lot of things get forgotten. You're doing okay as long as your kids are alive, happy, and relatively clean.

Molly said...

Thank you! You just reminded me to add milk to my list!

Anonymous said...

I am so forgetful, the notes don't work either - I have to send myself emails and I am not allowed to delete them from the Blackberry until I actually do the task! This morning, I forgot my husband's social security number (not that he knows mine) when prompted! Personally, I think it is AGE and work overload. My kids actually help my memory - they are like little "reminders" that you cannot "dismiss" in Outlook!

Dave S. said...

I think we have to distinguish between the actual lowering of intelligence and the doing of stupid things. I probably knew how to express that better before the kids came along, but my point is that the huge increase* in the need to retain, evaluate and process data related to kids - which can be summarized as Where Are They, What Are They Doing, and Why Aren't They Where They Should Be Doing What They Should Be Doing - means that the needle's going to skip on the record every now and then.

Teletubbies videos, on the other hand, just make you stupid.

*It's either geometric or exponential. Can someone out there ask the sitter what the difference is?

J. said...

@Sarah: Good point, especially the "relatively" part. ;-)

@Molly: You're welcome. Though, sadly, you will forget something else.

@Anonymous: So true about kids being reminders. The spouse refers to our daughter as "my agent," meaning she nags him about the stuff I used to (but don't anymore, because she does it, unbidden).

@Dave S. re Teletubbies,that show won AWARDS. And the Noo-Noo? Totally cracked me up.

Lizzy said...

"Escape" - great song!

IMO kids overwhelm our minds in that we now have to do things for them as well as us. Going on a vacation? Guess who has to pack the children? Not Dad! Events/activites? Who keeps track of who goes where when? Us!

Changing the toliet paper roll is akin to rocket science per the actions of the 3 other members of my household.

I consider the day a success if both girls are alive, fed, and somewhat clean! As for the other's on the list!

Amy N. said...

What Dave said. And Lizzy.

Plus the neverending exhaustion that was supposed to magically end when they slept through the night.

It's only in the past year or so that I feel like I'm almost back to where I was mentally 10 years ago.

I'm just grateful my 7 y.o. is amazingly organized. If she didn't remind the rest of us of what we forgot, we'd really be screwed.

Michael said...

Good questions. All I know is I can't remember anything unless it's written down or, most importantly, in my iPhone in to-do list, on the calendar, etc. My wife calls it my brain. And it's true! What were we talking about?