I only have three kids, but I made the mistake of naming my boys “Joshua” and “Jonah” (no, my daughter’s name does not start with a “J”), which often leads to me calling them by the wrong name. OR — at least that’s what I like to blame name mix-ups on. I mean, I certainly don’t want to blame it on my crappy mom memory, right?
RIGHT! Turns out, it’s totally not my fault, or yours, if you also go through ALL of your kids’ names before you get the right one. Science says moms get their kids’ names confused when they are calling out to one of them for a great reason: love, sweet love.
A recent article on NPR.org details a study headed up by cognitive scientist Samantha Deffler, who says her own mom used to mix up her and her siblings’ names quite often (and throw the dog’s in there, too!) and she wanted to find out WHY. So, she enlisted some colleagues and interviewed over 1700 men and women who admitting to mixing up loved ones’ names.
The results were published in the journal Memory & Cognition, and conclude that if you’re a name-mixer-upper, you’re not alone.
“It’s a normal cognitive glitch,” Deffler says.
But also? If you’re a MOM? You’re basically going to do this no matter what. Because the award for the group most likely to call a loved one by the wrong name goes to…
“Moms, especially moms,” Deffler says. “Any mom I talked to says, ‘You know, I’ve definitely done this.'”
I KNEW IT! Didn’t you?
Turns out, Deffler says, this “glitch” has nothing to do with memory or aging. Rather, it’s that the brain has stored all these much-beloved names in the same “file folder,” if you will. When you’re in a hurry to get a name out of that folder and call out to a loved one, your brain will often choose the wrong one in its haste.
It’s really THAT simple. All those names stored in your “PEOPLE I LOVE” folder are likely to get mixed up.
So, basically, if you mix up your kids names, you’re just a really LOVING mom.
You probably already knew that, but now you’ve got the science to PROVE it. SCORE!