How to return your IQ back to normal after maternity leave

This post follows my desperate cry about the struggle of finding a job while being on maternity leave. Before I begin, I’d like to highlight that none of my claims are backed up by any scientific evidence, however, I can show you a million mums who would agree with me, and for me that’s a strong enough evidence.

Baby brain is a widely accepted “condition” of being rather thick and forgetful during pregnancy. I swear that one’s intelligence drops even lower in the months following childbirth. Personally, I believe it’s a result of a primal instinct taking over. New mum’s main concern is to keep the tiny human alive, and everything else (including social interaction and intellectual growth) is pushed aside. I recently took an IQ test, the result of which confirmed what I feared and made me cry. My IQ score was a whole 20 points lower than a couple years ago! I mean, it still slots me well above the British average, but I no longer belong to the top 1% of the population. Tragic!

I can totally understand why American women head back to work six weeks after producing a baby. They save themselves from becoming more stupid with each nursery rhyme they sing. On the other hand, I personally blame the state of the US society on parents not spending enough time with their little ones. It’s a no win situation really.

But back to the drop in new mum’s intelligence. I refuse to accept this as the new norm, so I embarked on a mission to become a bright professional once again. Here is how I personally go about it:

  • My little one gets up at 5:30 am and so I start the day by briefing him on IAG share price, the possible reasons behind its change, industry highlights and trending topics on social media. He listens very carefully while waving a flashing dinosaur in front of my face.
    I’m not implying that knowledge equals intelligence but being up to date with the latest events and trends, makes you think about them (i.e. use your brain) and feel like you are a member of society.


  • I exercise more. Exercising distributes oxygen to every little “corner” of your body, and that includes your brain. Oxygen is brain food. It helps your brain work better.
  • I go to bed earlier. That sounds awfully boring! But how would I feel in the morning after five hours sleep and three night feeds? Like a zombie. It is no coincidence that zombies eat brains – because they have none! So don’t be a zombie 😉
  • I use my brain as much as I can. While sitting in front of TV and watching Teletubbies on repeat, one can as well do something a bit more productive. There are many fun activities that act as a workout for your brain cells – sudoku, crosswords, puzzles, trying to memorise grocery shopping list…
  • I started a business. Okay, that might be a step too far, but I felt like doing something creative, not because I have to, but because I want to and because I have the brain power to make it happen. Business plan. Budget. Predicted sales and profit. Branding. Marketing. My brain is getting warmed up nicely… Besides, my ten months old @Derrys_Diary is the CEO, so who knows – he might learn something in the process.

As I suggested, I have no scientific evidence that any of these activities will make you smart again, but for me they seem to be working. Last week, I received a feedback from an interview for yet another job I didn’t get – and the feedback made me hopeful again and gave me a confidence boost. The interviewer said I was brilliant and could not have performed any better at the interview. She was amazed when I told her I was still on maternity leave. Sadly, the job went to someone who has years and years of experience in that particular field, while I had none. But one day I’m hoping they will run out of all the experienced people and/or they will decide to give a shot to someone who’s enthusiasm substitutes (if not exceeds) the need for experience. Until then, each morning there will be a briefing on IAG share price carried out in my bedroom, with a flashing dinosaur as a regular attendee…
So mums, and how do you go about regaining your intelligence?

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