I love it when researchers make proclamations about “startling discoveries” that the rest of us have known or surmised all along. Take the one about seatbelts saving lives. Wow – can you say revelation? I believe it is fair to say that even a three year old with common sense can draw the line between being restrained and not traveling through the windshield in an accident. And how about that bombshell they dropped regarding cigarette smoking as it relates to an increased chance of emphysema, lung cancer and death? Whoa. I need to sit down. I mean come on, I don’t for one second believe anyone ever thought that inhaling smoke on a regular basis could be good for you.
Well, now comes the latest grant financed research data from the University of Richmond, and it’s a doozy. According to scientists, motherhood may actually make women smarter!
May I hear a collective “DUH” from all the moms out there?
It’s true. After studying rats for prolonged periods of time, they have ascertained that the ones who have a lovelife, get pregnant and give birth have better memory retention and are more nurturing to younger rats. The mother rats are far more likely to protect their offspring than are “babysitter” rats who have never given birth. They also believe that the “hormonal wash” the rats’ brains go though while pregnant make them far less susceptible to developing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. So to paraphrase Forrest Gump, I guess “Stupid is, as stupid doesnot“, which in this case is does not procreate.
Where was I when they were handing out the grant money for this one?
I mean for a couple hundred thousand dollars, I would have been happy to chart my existence from singledom to motherhood for them. And I would not need to waste money on mazes and cheese either.
Let’s just start with their first nugget of data: Mothers are more nurturing. Before I became pregnant, children were cute, sometimes bothersome, whiny little people. I used to babysit them all the time insuring they did not burn down their houses or kill each other. That’s about all the nurturing $5 an hour will get you. Then I got married, got pregnant and gave birth to my own baby. Those three words are very important because they make it personal. I made these people and there is nothing I would not do to protect them or insure their happiness and safety. Like a mother bear, I would defend them with my life. That is not called hormones, research or genetic alterations. That is called LOVE.
Next, Mothers have better memory retention. We’d better. Someone has to know where Johnny and Janie’s homework, spelling list, fundraiser sheets and permission slips are. Someone has to keep track of their doctor appointments, allergies, likes/dislikes, activities. And only a mother knows the answer to any question beginning with “Have you seen my…” or “Do you know where my…”. Again, this is self preservation, not a hormone bath to the brain.
Finally, the part about being less susceptible to Alzheimer’s symptoms. I totally believe this is true for one reason only. If the years of raising children from babies to teens into adulthood has not driven her crazy, she is surely not as likely to be taken down by a little brain plaque.
I do, however, believe that all men – fathers or not – suffer from Alzheimer’s their entire lives. “Honey where is my…?” “Today is our anniversary?!?” “What was I supposed to pick up at the store?” “You never said your mother was coming to visit.” Then again, maybe it should be called Sometimer’s, since they are able to remember decades old sports scores, their college roommate’s favorite beer and the measurements of all of Charlie’s original Angels. But I digress. . .
My point is simple, of course we are smarter. Only those with a highly enlightened intellect would go into this business to begin with. It takes brains, know-how, stick-to-ittiveness, creativity and stamina to get through this maze of life called motherhood.
I’m suddenly craving some cheese.