Mom will find it!

“Mom will find it.”

This is a recurring phrase from my life; we could even call it a leitmotif of motherhood.  Along with its companion phrase:

“Mom, I can’t find my [insert any item]”

The latter is usually accompanied by shouts, whining, a bit of hysteria; the former by conviction and (a perhaps misplaced?) optimism.   I have spent much of the past 21 years finding things that no one else seems capable of seeing.   In my general experience these are frequently things that are right in front of our proverbial noses.  Why can’t they see these things?

Since I manage a cognitive neuroscience lab, I am aware of visual neglect, a condition often following brain damage, which affects vision on one side.  Here is a definition from WIkipedia:

“Hemispatial neglect […] is a neuropsychological condition in which, after damage to one hemisphere of the brain is sustained, a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of space is observed.”

What I am describing in this post is not a form of brain damage but is nonetheless a well-documented phenomenon which I shall call “Mom-is-in-the-room neglect”.

Mom-is-in-the-room neglect is a neuropsychological condition in which, when one’s mother is in the room, a deficit in attention to and awareness of any item which one wishes to find is observed.”

This condition is unrelated to the size of the object one wishes to find.  For example, while I frequently hear “Mom, I can’t find my glasses!” or “Mom, I can’t find my homework!” it’s not unheard of to hear “Mom, I can’t find my cello!”

The condition is also notable for the inherent ability of moms to see whatever it is that others can’t see.  What is it about the condition of mom-hood that mediates this?  My own opinion is that it is a Superpower, along the same lines as Superman’s ability to fly, or perhaps a more relevant analogy, his x-ray vision.

My kids have both flown the coop and I am now an empty-nester.  Yesterday, I had the house to myself, and needed my laptop.  I looked for it everywhere.  I looked upstairs and down.  I searched every room; not once or twice but three times.  I looked under things.  I looked around things.  I finally gave up.  I ate lunch.  I did some knitting.  Then, I walked into the living room and saw my laptop right in the middle of the couch.  Right out in the open.  Not disguised or hidden in any way but so apparently obvious that only someone with a neuropsychological impariment could fail to notice it.  Could it be that there is a statute of limitations on Mom Superpowers?  Do they fade away when one’s kids leave home?  Have I developed a new condition, called The-kids-have-left neglect?  Or maybe I just need my eyes checked….

Pattern Bombardment Syndrome

Disease:  Pattern Bombardment Syndrome

too many patterns
daily releases
internet facilitation
only so many unique things can be done with yarn and two needles

Like a virus (or bipolar disorder), the disease cycles – between being completely overwhelmed with all of the fabulousness of hundreds of great patterns and wanting to knit everything, and feeling completely underwhelmed and thinking “seen that, done that”; these up-down-up-down swings can cause emotional distress.

Symptoms of Pattern Bombardment Syndrome can range from mild to severe.  Learn to recognize early warning signs:

  • spending hours on Ravelry, knitting blogs and other on-line knitting-related sites, aimlessly surfing through patterns in an increasingly apathetic manner
  • looking at a new release (say of BT or Twist Collection) and needing to sit on your hands to keep from buying 20 patterns when deep down you know that you will at the most possibly knit one of them
  • losing your knitting mojo
  • looking at a pattern and immediately calling to mind ten other patterns which are very nearly the same
  • realizing that you are subconsciously tracking which patterns make it to the top of Ravelry’s “Hot right now” page and how long they stay there for
  • catching yourself drooling while looking at knitting sites
  • spending time analyzing the effect of social media savviness on why one pattern will succeed wildly when another will not
  • waking up at 3am to see if the new spring edition of [insert online knitting mag here] has just been released; and then checking it again at 4am
  • becoming a designer fan girl
  • becoming increasingly annoyed at designer-fan-girl-dom
  • being unable to pick a new project because you have 700 items in your queue


  • put down the laptop and go for a walk
  • stop putting patterns in your queue
  • better yet, get rid of your queue
  • limit your time on knitting sites
  • spend more time knitting and less time thinking, talking, reading about knitting
  • spend more time doing things completely unrelated to knitting
  • stop being obsessive
  • think carefully about what you want to knit and don’t be a slavish trend follower
  • re-position yourself on the product knitter-process knitter continuum; it’s OK to shift towards one end or the other at different points in your knitting life
  • remind yourself that knitting is supposed to be fun; it’s not a competitive sport
  • design your own patterns or knit without one