Use Your Smart Phone to Fight Mom Brain

fight mom brain

Exactly 24 hours before my kindergartener’s birthday party, the doorbell rang. I opened the door in the super-glam outfit I wear to bleach my bathrooms to find a mom and her little girl on the front porch holding a present.

“Is this Cooper’s house?” the mom asked, giving my ratty clothes and the barking dog I was holding by the collar a questioning once-over. “We’re here for the party.”

You guys, I wanted to kiss her. Do you know how many times I have shown up on the wrong day or at the wrong time for a birthday party/play date/pediatrician appointment? MORE THAN I CAN COUNT because counting is hard, and my head is too full.

I mean it.

I am out of room in my head.

My brain is too full of messages, menus, to-do’s, homework assignments, permission slips, band concerts, sportsball practices—you get the idea.

So, I did what any twenty-first century mom with 30 million songs in her pocket would do would do: I outsourced my memory to my technology.

That’s right, friends. My iPhone is not just something for me to stare at instead of my kids so I can get shamed by all the sanctimommies at the park. No! It’s the place where I keep ALL OF THE THINGS so I can free up my brain to SAVOR THE MOMENT because life really is just a someecards meme after all. I KNEW IT! Also, WHERE IS MY WINE?

Things you can make your phone think about:

Any of those old-timey pieces of information you run across. A birthday party invitation. A grocery list. A post-it your nagging harpy partner left on the kitchen counter. JUST TAKE A PICTURE OF IT and remind Google Calendar or Siri or Alexa to remind you to look at it. I heard this as a happiness hack on Happier with Gretchen Rubin, the best podcast ever, and as usual, Gretchen Rubin is right.

Printing pictures. I know; I know you take a billion pictures of your sneauxflakes but you never print them. Welcome to the club. Which is actually a club I quit because I subscribed my Facebook and Instagram feeds to the Chatbooks app. Now, like magic, every 60 pictures I post to FB and Insta get printed in adorable little hipster-sized books, complete with captions. They just show up on my doorstep! I never even have to think about it! (Probably I should think about it a little because you can decide which pictures you want in the books, and so we now have lots of printed pics of my better-than-usual dinners, artful latte foam, or Pinterest FAIL classroom treats.)

Coupons. My grocery store has an awesome little coupon app that saves me around $15 a trip, and all I have to do is scan QR codes while I shop. It’s perfect, and I bet your grocery store has one, too.

Classroom donations. At open house in my kindergartener’s classroom, his teacher had a big laminated poster with classroom wish-list items written on post-its. When my son pulled off the post-it that said “moon sand” there was a space to write his name on a line saying he’d donate it. As I watched him happily scrawl his letters in Sharpie—a novelty because he’s not allowed within 100 feet of a permanent marker at home—I realized I would never remember to send in the sand. Unless! I could whip out my phone and use my Amazon app to Prime some to his teacher right there on the spot. So I did!

Household items. I am terrible at remembering light bulbs for weird appliances. I mean, it took me like 3 full minutes of pressing the “oven light” button and getting no light to realize there’s even a light bulb IN THERE SOMEWHERE. And fridge water filters? AS IF. So now, I use the moon sand principle to just Prime those things on the spot. Then I promptly forget the whole thing ever happened. When my item shows up, though, I totally love day-before-yesterday Sarah.

Recording videos of my adorable kids. Pictures I can take all day, but video slips my mind. So, I got the 1 Second Everyday app, and it prompts me to add a snippet of video every darn day. Genius.

Parenting. Google Calendar reminds me to give my kids medicine, check their school folders, quiz them on their spelling lists, and tell them I love them. KIDDING ABOUT THE LAST ONE #notamonster.

Since I outsourced my memory to my iPhone, I am way less frantic. I even have an app that reminds me to meditate which is… ironic? Zeitgeisty? Kind of dumb?

What tips do you have for letting your phone do your thinking? I’d love to hear them!

Sarah Jedd
Sarah Jedd has a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and studies the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood. Sarah has 5 (F I V E) children: teens Harry and Jack, elementary schoolers Cooper and Dorothy, and sweet baby Minnie, born in August 2020. Sarah blogs about being a mom of many at and overshares on IG as @sarahjedd. Sarah, her husband, and their kids live in Verona with the world's laziest dog.


  1. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who takes photos of invitations and other scraps of paper. I also photograph things like the Scholastic order codes for school book orders and store them in Google Keep.


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