- I have forgotten how many children I have. I was holding my newborn son when a kind stranger asked ‘Is this your first?’ I stared down at my boy in confusion and stammered ‘I don’t know.’ The stranger and I looked at each other in horror for a few moments, then she backed away.
- I have forgotten how many cats I have and that they are subject to the laws of physics. I woke up one morning, saw a vague shadow on the roof and screamed ‘The cats are stuck on the roof! GET A BROOM!’ while covering my months-old boy with my own body (I’d like to point out this is an act of immense bravery on my part). There are many things wrong with this scenario
- We had only one cat.
- Cats are known for being athletic and agile, but not for their ability to defy gravity.
- If cats did get stuck on the roof, would a broom really be the best solution?
However, my equally sleep deprived husband leapt out of bed – and got a broom.
- I have told helpful checkout people my life story. Just because they were adults (adults!) and I. Could. Not. Stop. Talking.
- I have (this one makes my blood run cold): Announced a friend’s pregnancy. This is pretty much the worst thing you can do to a person, and I did it. Whenever you feel bad about something just think ‘Have I ever accidentally announced someone else’s pregnancy?’ You’re Welcome.
- I have been convinced I was in the early stages of schizophrenia. This is because, I recall from first year psychology, a common early hallucination is spiders, and whenever I hung out the washing I would find a spider.
Me: I’m hallucinating, I saw another spider today.
Husband: You’re not hallucinating, you’re just paranoid.
Me: That’s another symptom!
After a week of frantically taking photo’s of the spiders and shoving my phone in my husband’s face screeching ‘CAN YOU SEE THEM TOO?’ it became clear that I did not have schizophrenia, but we were people with a spider problem.
- I have told my doting husband, quite seriously, that he should abandon his wife and family so he could sleep. That way at least one of us would be sleeping.
Husband: I’m not leaving.
Me: Are you sure? Last chance?
Husband: I’m not leaving.
Me: Can I leave?
- I have struggled to open the door after dozing off putting the baby to sleep. I tried to open that door; I tried really, really hard. Eventually, the only logical conclusion was that it was gone. This was scary. I was scared. I sat down on the floor, in the dark, trapped and quietly sobbing when my husband opened the door – which turned out to be on the opposite wall, to see what was taking me so long. All I could do was sob harder because I was so relieved.
- I have lied about my daughter’s name. A friend of a friend pointed at my daughter’s toy puppy and asked it’s name, so I replied ‘Puppy.’ ‘Oh? That’s very unusual!’ Hmm, really? When she later introduced my daughter as ‘Puppy’ I understood the unusualness. This was beyond my social-skills scope, so I let my daughter be called Puppy for the day. She loved it.
- During an interesting Mother’s Group conversation about sex and co-sleeping I told everyone that I had shagged on the couch. The couch they were sitting on. So help me, I even pointed. My friend sitting on that bit of the couch quietly slid to the floor.
I could have pointed again.
But I didn’t.
This is called progress.
- I have looked at my beautiful, glorious, perfect babies and thought: ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’
This is the turning point with sleep deprivation and babies and parenting in general. It doesn’t matter how much you love them. Love doesn’t make things that are quintessentially not easy and not fun, easy and fun. It doesn’t matter if you’ve met your baby and thought ‘Oh good, this is so natural!’ or if you think ‘This small person appears to hate me and why do I have porno boobs?’ There will always be a point where it gets too much. You will be too tired, and too neglected and you will feel like your life has run away without you. This is normal and ok. It does not mean you are failing, it means you are mothering. Sometimes mothering is about falling apart and letting other people put you back together again. You are still capable, and your baby loves you even when they consistently poop on you. It’s ok Mama, you’ve got this.