“When you’re running on three hours sleep you don’t care if your eyebrows are waxed or if your roots are growing out. You are just pretty damn proud you managed to brush your teeth and put on pants…”
When you’re a sleep-deprived parent, you have one goal and one goal only: sleep. Things you once cared about become part of another life, a life when you had time to dress yourself properly, socialise, even form coherent sentences… Your one and only mission is to get more than four hours of solid shut-eye. Nothing else matters.
Here are eight things that fly out the window when you have a child who won’t sleep.
Sleep when the baby sleeps… if they ever do. Image: iStock
Catch-ups with people that require effort
Once, you might have made time for that friend who is always a bit flaky, or a bit whiny, or a bit self-involved… but let’s be honest, when you’re sleep-deprived, YOU’RE the one who is whiny and self-involved. And if you’re flaky, it’s simply because you can’t remember what day it is. You don’t have time or energy for people who bring drama. You need friends who bring coffee, food and don’t speak in complicated sentences.
Any form of self-care
Let’s face it, when you’re running on three hours sleep, you don’t care if your eyebrows are waxed. You don’t care if your mani-pedi is peeling off or if your roots are growing out. You are just pretty damn proud you managed to brush your teeth and put on pants. And you should feel proud. Putting on pants is a massive goddamn achievement.
Want to join the family? Sign up to our Kidspot newsletter for more stories like this.
Started to curl your hair then fell asleep mid-way? Guilty. Image: iStock
Finishing anything, ever
Your Netflix queue is 12-shows long and you’ve watched approximately eight minutes of each. It’s not just that you’re too tired to make it through a full episode without falling asleep, it’s that you spend so much of your life being interrupted by kids, your attention span is shot to pieces. And don’t even mention that pile of books stacked up beside the bed. Save those for when the kids are teenagers and never get out of bed.
Your sex life
If you manage to find yourself in your own bed – at bedtime – without a small person, you are not going to waste that opportunity on anything kinky. You are going to take up your full half of the bed, pull up that doona so it covers you exactly how you like it, and close your eyes, safe in the knowledge you are not about to be poked in the face with a small foot. And if anything else tries to poke you in the face – or anywhere else – they’d better watch out.
It’s rare there are ever just two in the bed. Image: iStock
The state of your house
Look, I’m not saying you let everything go, but you definitely let the pile of crap by the front door build-up for a few days longer than usual. And you’re at the point where you’re just taking forks out of the dishwasher as needed rather than unpacking the whole thing. And forget about making your bed… why bother, when you know you’re going to be back under the covers there before long, lying down with your toddler who refuses to nap in their own one.
What you put in your body
Look, we all know that we are what we eat. But sometimes we can’t be slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with a spinach, couscous and three-bean salad. Sometimes we are just going to be a medium quarter pounder meal with a coffee frappe (extra cream). And that is because sometimes our sleepless kids fall asleep in the car on the way home from the park and there was no way in hell we were waking them up to go get fresh food from Woolies.
You don’t make friends with salad. Image: iStock
What you put ON your body
There are only three things you need to ask yourself when DWE (dressing while exhausted):
1. Does it fit?
2. Does it need an iron?
3. Does it have food stains on it?
And let’s face it, you can get away with #3. Just buy clothes with patterns.
Sympathy for others
OK. So this goes both ways. Because while any parent of a sleepless kid will TOTALLY understand when they see a fellow mum or dad nodding off at work or staring mindlessly into their fourth cup of coffee, we also don’t want to believe any kid is worse than our sleepless devil spawn. There are also levels of being a sleep-deprived parent, and as the mum of a two-year-old who still wakes up several times a night, I genuinely don’t care that at six weeks your kid won’t sleep more than four hours. Get back to me in eighteen months.
Then I’ll buy you a coffee. Or something stronger.
There is no such thing as too much sleep. Image: iStock