Saturday, September 18, 2010

Putting The Smart Into St. Louis Smart Mama: How I Named My Blog and Why I Don't Like It

It's true.  I don't like the name of my blog at all.  Primarily because I tend to think that people who refer to themselves as "smart" are smug and, often, quite pretentious.

And that's not me.

But when you set up an account with Blogger, you have to have a name right away so that you can set up your web address.  And I for the life of me couldn't come up with one that I liked.

There are tons of cute and clever and witty blog titles out there.  I was convinced that if I thought hard enough and long enough then I could certainly come up with one too -- something short and catchy that would capture my essence and epitomize the funny and poignant things I hoped to write about.

As it turns out, I couldn't think of anything clever.  And I also haven't done any of the funny, poignant, earth-shatteringly good writing that I was hoping to do.

Which is kinda the very reason why my blog has the title that it does.

Because I used to be smart.  Back in the day, I did really well in school.  As in, like, I was the girl who was always reading and studying and who graduated from high school as the salutatorian with one of those ridiculously inflated GPA's. 

4.608 cumulative to be exact.  There was even one year when I had a 5.0.  Now, you can argue that that's only one kind of smart, and I'll be the first to agree that the system of class rank is a bad way to judge aptitude, and that my #2 ranking in no way means that I was really any smarter than the student who graduated at #3 or at #10 or at #500 for that matter.

But I do think that it's proof that I'm far from being an idiot.  I had so much AP credit from high school that I was able to graduate from a really good college in three years, instead of the typical four. 

I did very well in school because I was good at reading difficult texts and analyzing nuances and writing about deep and complicated issues in a clear and articulate way.  I once had a professor tell me that mine was "the best undergraduate paper he had ever read." 

I'm not writing this because I think you care.  I'm writing this to remind myself.

Because, now, I'm a stay-at-home mom.  It's been almost ten years since I saw the inside of a classroom, or wrote something that someone was going to read and grade.  And, let me tell you, I feel like I've been majorly "dumbed down."  Like my brain doesn't function the way it used to, and like I can neither comprehend nor articulate as I once could. 

People I went to school with are now getting PhD's, and I can barely think clearly enough to decide whether to serve chicken or tacos for dinner.

Why has this happened?  I don't know.  There's an interesting post over at Fertile Feminism that tackles the issue of "baby brain," and whether the phenomenon of mothers losing intellectual capacity actually exists.

"Is the psychology of motherhood subconsciously learned and culturally-ingrained or is it simply a case of biological design, wherein mothers are destined to expend more brain power on their offspring than on themselves or the world around them?"

I don't think my kids have made me "stupid," but I do think that they somehow manage to sap all of my energy.  It's hard to think clearly or do anything intellectual in nature when two small and very dependent people are always right beside you and always in need of something

Maybe other women have figured it out, and can combine childrearing and intellectual work. 

I clearly haven't.     

The fact remains that I just don't feel very smart anymore.  Right before I started blogging, my husband bought me a book called Buddhism: Plain and Simple.  The book is fascinating (as is Buddhism itself), but I found myself reading and re-reading passages three and four times trying to grasp the concepts that were being discussed.  I felt like I was back in Calculus class.  I felt like I shouldn't have to be thinking quite so hard in order to understand what the author was talking about. 

"Back in the day," I thought to myself, "I would have been smart enough to only have to read this once.  I used to be smarter than this."

I used to be smarter than this.

I used to be smarter than this.

The thought just wouldn't get out of my head.

And then I decided to start blogging.

St. Louis Smart Mama is the title I decided to use because it defines who I want to be -- and because I like the alliteration and couldn't think of anything better

I'm from St. Louis.  I'm a mom.  And I want to be smart, and have smart conversations about topics that really matter. 
So this blog is just me, trying to remind myself of how smart I used to be. 

And trying to convince myself that I can be that smart again.

Photo credit: Goodlad2       

1 comment:

Corrianna {SouthernMother} said...

I totally know the feeling. I definitely have the "baby brain" thing going on, and some days it's super frustrating!
Anyway, I found your blog on and wanted to invite you to "like" Missouri Mom Bloggers on Facebook (if you have an account, that is!). I just started the page, but I hope it will be a way to meet local bloggy moms that we have a lot in common with :)