Mama, if your vision is blurred while you’re reading this, if your eyes are tired from being open, I feel you. Yesterday morning, I put our carton of milk in the cupboard instead of the fridge and only discovered it hours later. So. Many. Hours. Later. In truth, it was more like I had discovered some sort of fermented cheese.
Being sleep deprived is probably the worst side effect of being a parent. A woman I once worked with came into the office one morning, in a state of blubbering tears. Her 2-year-old still wasn’t sleeping through the night, and she was done. I sympathized with her the best that I could, but at that point in my life, I was sleeping and waking up at my leisure. Sure, I have been tired before. I’ve been a “full-time student/part time employee” kind of tired. I’ve been sick and had those restless sleeps that make you feel foggy the next morning. However, I had never experienced the kind of exhaustion you become familiar with once you are a mother.
Forward to 2016. My first daughter arrived on Christmas morning, and I have been perpetually tired ever since. I remember coming home from the hospital and feeling slightly delirious from the lack of sleep. I had been in labor all of Christmas Eve with maybe an hour of sleep but otherwise, my eyeballs had been open for nearly 48 hours. It was no joke.
Sleep is a fundamental component of being able to human on a daily basis. I had no idea that without proper sleep, I would not only feel sluggish, I would also feel depressed at times. I have had many moments where I have sat on our kitchen floor, sobbing into the million toys scattered around what felt like my broken body. I have lost my patience, yelled at our cats and debated eating actual grinds of coffee. I have said things to my husband that I didn’t mean and I have prayed to all the Gods, in moments when I thought I was going to lose my mind completely. Sleep is our BFF for a reason.
And so, to all the mamas out there who have mistakenly defrosted chicken in the freezer, or who have consumed more than the recommended amount of caffeine per day, I feel you. I feel how your body aches and I hear that inner cry for a nap that could last one hundred years. I know you are trying your best and I know you are functioning on whatever fragments of sleep your baby has allowed you. Remember, this too shall pass.
Eventually, the sleepless fog will lift, your baby will hate you less and your bed will be right where you left it. Until then mama, invest in some good espresso and remember, there is always another mother who is peering out at the same midnight sky, while desperately trying to lull their baby back to sleep.