Sleep deprived? You're definitely not alone
Babies and broken nights go hand in hand and when you're in the thick of it, it can be hard to believe you'll ever emerge on the other side. Take heart from the stories and coping strategies of fellow sufferers (and survivors).
It's true that going without sleep does strange things to you…
“I remember being so sleep deprived that, when I was making myself a cup of tea while attempting to put on a load of washing, I caught myself pouring milk into the fabric conditioner slot in the washing machine.”
… and can turn you into a pretty scary person
“A neighbour has just driven past and I scared myself with the overwhelming feeling of wanting to punch the bastard in the face if he woke the kids. Mine wake up if a mouse farts three streets away.”
“I openly tell anyone and everyone how horrific it is in the hope that more people know how bad it can be and are not totally shocked/feel like a failure. I'm pretty sure I am responsible for some of my friends remaining childless at 50.''
You'll harbour a profound resentment for anyone getting a decent night's kip
“I feel personally offended by those hotel adverts with Lenny Henry in that hotel bed – actual anger at the way he rubs my face into the plain and painful fact that I have not, and will not, have the luxury of that kind of sleep for a very long time.”
“I watched The Shawshank Redemption and my first thought was: a good night's sleep in my own quiet cell. Prison was my fantasy.”
So, give yourself a break…
“I don't set my standards too high around the house. I set realistic goals for what I can achieve on the days when it's really bad, and go to bed early.”
“Sleep when you can and try to eat well. Treat your kids and yourself with kindness. Have CBeebies afternoons when needed and remember that this too shall pass!”
Make industrial quantities of caffeinated drinks
''Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Coffee is my best friend."
There's no shame in asking for help
“My lovely health visitor suggested I went to see her for a one-to-one. She'd been reading up on Bach Flower Remedies and thought a long chat with her and a few remedies would help. They did help, but looking back, I'm sure it was more of an opportunity for me to just let it out and to talk to her about how desperate I felt.”
“I would have bitten off someone's arm if they had offered to take my eldest for even a few hours when the youngest was at his worst.”
Or in taking comfort wherever you can
“I remember having emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed. It was the happiest day of my life. I got to have 11 hours of unbroken sleep and I cried when they discharged me.”
“Fresh air and lots of chocolate got me through.”
And when it's all over (and it will be) you could discover an upside
“I can now sleep anytime, anywhere. Useful on boring train journeys…”
It could even be something to put on your CV
“Needing less sleep as an adult is a fantastic thing. You can achieve so much more than others (thinking of City job).”
“They really should be enlisting mothers to MI5. We'd pass all of the sleep deprivation tests.”
“I never understood why the media made such a fuss about Maggie Thatcher only needing four hours a night. She was a mum of twins – of course she could function without sleep.”
…and a quick safety tip for the sleep-deprived:
Having a toddler round the house can provide as much entertainment as a circus show – everyday daring acts come naturally to the under-fives. But the role of household ringmaster also brings stress. It's important to do as much as possible to minimise risk in your home because no-one can have eyes on a child 24/7. Watch the video from Fairy Non-bio above to find out more about the new child lock on packs of liquid laundry capsules.