“Honey, how much formula is bub having at the moment again?”

“OH seriously, I told you yesterday how much formula he is having”

Before becoming a dad my memory has always been one of my strengths, something that has been very handy and served myself and those close to me very well. However, since exhaustion, stress and information overload has kicked in I can sometimes hardly remember things I’ve been told a few hours ago.

I was finding myself in this situation a lot and it was impacting on our relationship. Knowing I had supportive mentors from Dads Group Inc around me I spoke to founder Tom Docking. In this discussion, I learnt how it can come across that I don’t care enough to remember. I also learnt I am not alone with this problem which helped normalise the issue. It was Tom who gave me some good advice, ask myself “what is right and what is helpful”. He also provided insight into why memory loss and poor concentration can occur.

The next time I found myself in this situation I gave it a try. My wife had told me about an upcoming event which I had forgotten about, in my mind it was like she had never mentioned it before. Rightly so she was frustrated with me so I asked her if she was right, or if she was being helpful? She looked at me a little puzzled. I went on to share with her that while it may be right that I should know what she is talking about, it is not that I don’t care, I am fatigued and have a lot on my mind so it would be more helpful for us and this situation if you could remind me. To her credit and not surprisingly she accepted what I was saying and helpfully reminded me. PHEW, thanks, Tom.

Caity has had to ask me this same question a lot of times as well when I have responded in an unhelpful manner. I have to say, since we introduced this into our discussions it has helped our relationship and support for each other immensely.

What are the contributing symptoms for memory loss and poor concentration?

–          Fatigue

–          Stress

–          Pressure at work

–          Information overload

–          Poor health

–          Anxiety

–          Depression

 

Chances are you have experienced one or more of these symptoms in your life before you became a parent; you only had yourself to look after so it is more likely than now you learnt to manage them well enough to function at a medium level on a daily basis.

It is well known that the chances of people developing at least one or more of these symptoms increase after becoming a parent. In fact, it is likely that at some stage we can experience all of them at once.

So we need to do our best to be extra mindful of this and be supportive of each other when either parent forgets things you have told each other, information about yourselves or your children, processes and functions of running the house, upcoming events etc. Forgetting information will happen time and time again so to maintain a healthy relationship, your own health and wellbeing and your child’s development depend on you supporting each other as a team.

So the next time you feel frustrated when your partner doesn’t remember something you’ve told them to ask yourself,

“Is it more important for me to be right, or more important for me to be helpful?”

To the contrary, if you are on the receiving end, admit that it is right that you should have known, and then ask for the helpful answer.

 

Written by Adam Tardif in collaboration with Caity Tardif

 

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