It’s been about 10 years since you last had a real night’s sleep.
OK, in actual fact it’s probably been a lot less, but even a few weeks of sleep deprivation can feel like a life sentence.
Babies fall into two categories when it comes to sleep. The perfect little angels who sleep for six hours, mew out a few pitiful cries, eat, then nod straight off again for another six hours. Or, there’s the ones born with an allergy to sleep.
You know the type. Their symptoms magically disappear when they’re in your arms, but they jerk awake the second you even think about putting them down so that you can do stuff like have a wee or, heaven forbid, get into bed yourself.
Sleep deprivation feels like you’re living in a fog, but is it really all bad? I think there are a few benefits to losing hours of sleep every night (yes, really), and in the interests of turning a negative into a positive, here they are:
An excuse to get out of doing stuff you hate
Don’t fancy lunch with the in-laws? Hate the idea of a hen weekend in Blackpool? Worried that wedding is just going to be really boring? Just tell them your baby hasn’t slept a wink all week and the weekend is the only chance you have of catching up.
It can be applied to a range of situations. Just remember to back it all up with sleepy posts from bed on Instagram.
An excuse for all the yawning
When your other half tells you about their day or someone at work starts explaining the new email system, you can blame your frequent yawns on the lack of sleep.
This could be hugely beneficial in work and social exchanges. Always mention the baby was up half the night when you’re entering a potentially dull situation.
Extra time for binge watching
Nighttime feeds were what Netflix was invented for. Fact.
Get your phone or an ipad, get some headphones, and what whatever you want. I got through all of 8 Reasons Why during my second maternity leave. Yes I was sobbing into a muslin at 4am (I would watch something happier than this show next time I’m facing a spate of sleeplessness), but at least I was thinking about something other than how tired I was.
Is there anything better than getting into bed in the middle of the day? A daytime nap, where you have the bed entirely to yourself, is a glorious treat.
PJs all day long
When you haven’t slept the night before, you don’t have to get dressed. Slob around in PJs all day. Watch some movies. Chill out on the sofa while having cuddles with your babies.
It’s not laziness. It’s sleep deprivation survival.
The knowledge you are powerful
This works on two levels. One, you are managing to care for a tiny human who needs you to do everything for them while maintaining a house/relationship/job/friendships. That is power!
Two, you are managing to not punch people in the face when you hear them complain about being tired. That is a superpower.
The opportunities to be a bit of a dick
Crankiness comes hand in hand with tiredness. But actually sometimes it can be quite liberating to be a bit of a twat.
You can have the last bite of ice cream, because you are knackered.
You can use the last of the hot water, because you are knackered.
You can hog the duvet, because you hardly ever get to use it anymore.
You can roll your eyes and get away with it, because when you’re exhausted, you can’t be held accountable for anything you do or say. It’s a bit like being drunk, but with a far stronger argument because it involves caring for an innocent baby.
If you’re fighting sleep exhaustion right now, I hope this gave you a laugh. Keep on going tired mama!