Has becoming a dad made me dumber?

It’s 8:30 pm and the house is quiet. My one year old is asleep in his crib, dinner is done, the dishwasher is running and all my son’s toys are picked up. It’s time to open the laptop and get some work done.

Fast forward about an hour and I have gotten almost nothing accomplished. The topic of interest was inbound marketing, when that failed I moved to event research but that become too taxing as well. I digressed further to writing a few easy e-mails while avoiding the ones that will take an effort to answer. Once done “work” moved to inforgraphs on Mashable, tweeting news shorts and YouTube videos of a one-clawed lobster involved in a knife fight. In another 30 minutes I’ll be too tired to form a cohesive thoughts and won’t be able to finish this post until tomorrow (if I finish it at all).

What the hell happened to me? This is just a quick glimpse into my average day, and into a much larger problem that I developed; being a father has made me dumber.

Before my son was born I was functioning at high cognitive levels, learning new techniques, advancing in my career and expanding my horizons. I remembered dates, names, times, numbers, processes and other important things like login passwords.

Now I’m thankful I remember how to tie my shoes.

Everyday I can get through where I don’t forget more than I learn is a good day. I no longer remember names, even though I do all the tricks like name association and saying it back at the person. I apparently have reached the maximum number of names I remember, which means that if I remember you, please feel bad for the person I had to forget to do so.

Numbers, forget it. I can’t remember any phone numbers (thank god for cell phones).  I also loose track of bank account numbers, passwords and lock combinations. Math, math was hard before I was a dad. It sure as hell isn’t getting any easier.

I am going through some sort of skills atrophy with Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress and a handful of other programs that for the months leading up to my son’s birth I had been getting better with. It feels like much of that knowledge is slowly slipping away when I stare blankly a code for 15 minutes or I try to put a simple filter on a photo.

The only books I can seem to get all the way through usually have cartoon dogs on the pages and are made of cardboard. It is almost June and I have only started 3 books for myself this year. Notice I said started. That’s because I haven’t come close to finishing any of them. At this rate I’ll know the introduction to a half dozen new books by Christmas. That is if I can remember what the books are even about. I also seem to forget things as fast as I read them. I had to read an Atlantic article 3 times to  fully understand it. The ironic thing is the article was on staying focused and societal-wide autism.  I can’t finish any op-ed that is more than 400 words (meaning I wouldn’t finish reading this if I didn’t write it).

(This is the part of the blog where I forgot what I was about to write about)

It seems as if my brain is full, and it’s full up with a different kind of information. Like what time my son takes his naps and what foods he is not eating this week. I have to remember how much milk he has had each day, where his shampoo is, and which shelf to hang his clean clothes on (still not very good at this one). My brain is log-jammed with processes such as how to strap my son in his car seat, the correct order to read his bedtime stories and how to present lunch to him so that he actually eats something other than bread with peanut butter.

Do other dad’s experience this one-dimensionality with their cognitive thinking. Does it get better? Or as time goes by and dads are filled up with school projects and soccer practice does it get worse? Will I need a name tag and Velcro shoes before hit 40? Do I need to start a diary of things to remember and keep it in my night stand? Please let me know if I should be concerned.

In the meantime I will be right here trying to remember what I need to prepare for my afternoon meeting and what I need to pick up at the grocery store later.



Pat Lemieux

About Pat Lemieux

Pat has it all, family, big old house, dogs, a young son and a quarter-life crisis. He blogs about trying to be who he has always been and be who he now needs to be. He enjoys 90's grunge metal, tasty local brews and the outdoors.