5 Strange Things That Happen To Sleep-Deprived Parents

by Maya Ziobro
Originally Published: 
sleep-deprived parents
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We all know that kids can make you tired and crazy, and kids who suck at sleeping obviously make you more tired and more crazy (and I don’t mean to make light of this, as lack of sleep can lead to some very serious mental health issues, but that is for another post). Beyond this predictable exhaustion, though, sleep-deprived parents may start to notice other somewhat fascinating, somewhat disturbing changes in their life after months or years of waking and being up at night.

1. Total Fixation on Getting More ZZZs

All you want for Christmas (and your birthday, and Mother’s Day, and your anniversary, etc.) is sleep. When anyone asks, it’s literally the only thing you can think of off the bat. You have, somewhat understandably, developed an obsession with sleeping and forgotten most of your other desires in life. This is the animal brain in survival mode. Of course, when you actually get the opportunity, you don’t sleep well because you don’t remember how to. And because of all of the…

2. Existential Introspection

Many years ago, falling asleep was a once-a-day process you gave little thought to. Now, it is something that must be accomplished multiple times per night in a state of mild to severe anxiety, leading you to ponder its nature more deeply. How is it that one is not conscious of the moment one falls asleep? One second you are there, the next you are gone. God, that is freaky. Is death like sleep? Is sleep like death? I wish I didn’t have to be unconscious every night. It’s not only a nuisance, but it also creeps me the eff out. And, naturally…

3. Everyone Else Around You Will Have Good Sleepers

It’s quite the phenomenon. Your siblings, your best friends, every stranger you run into. It suddenly seems like the whole world is inexplicably filled with these magical children who sleep through the night at a mere few months old (or at least by age 2, I’d take that at this point) without even having to endure any of the special tricks or training you’ve inflicted on your own children. You will consequently develop…

4. The Inability to Understand Many Complaints

You will read articles and posts about parents actually missing their children when they sleep, or mothers crying when their babies no longer need them at night. These people have every right to live and speak their truth, but you cannot relate at all. Others will complain about being tired after sleeping a whole six hours or more! It’s not so much that you are jealous at this point (though you are), but more that you are confused at how this is possible. Which brings me to my last point…

5. High Tolerance, Low Standards

After years of smashed expectations and being broken in, you are happy with small gifts and improvements, and are able to gracefully weather many of the shenanigans that send other parents into a tailspin. Bedtime only took one hour? Woo-hoo! Three hours of sleep in a row? Hallelujah! Child actually wants to sleep in your bed with you (or on the kitchen floor)? Awesome! House is trashed, kids are breaking things, fighting and screaming, not eating dinner…whatever, it’s cool, as long as they sleep tonight!

Probably won’t happen. But until then, I can at least take solace in knowing I’m kind of a badass.

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