Of course no one is kidding. Seriously, it’s not a joke. You have a new baby, you don’t sleep. And you don’t sleep, you’re not in the mood to laugh. Or live, really.
There are telltale signs that you’re a sleep deprived new parent. They’re hard to miss. Unless, of course, you’re so tired that you miss everything. In that case, here are the top 11 signs you’re in need of an Ambien (or 12):
1. You put things where you shouldn’t.
Is that cream I grabbed out of the fridge and put in my coffee? … Or was it breastmilk? On second thought, who cares as long as it’s coffee I put in my coffee.
2. You know all of the players on C-SPAN.
I’m not a political junkie, but at 3 AM I’m not going to even attempt to fetch the remote when it falls to the ground — because the very fragile baby in my arms just fell asleep. Maybe I can’t figure out how to sleep while my baby sleeps, but after seven straight hours of Key Capitol Hill Hearings on C-SPAN, I’ve actually figured out how to run the government. So I’ve got that going for me.
3. You don’t even know what you’re changing.
I know there used to be a penis in there. Somewhere. At least I think so. But it’s two in the morning and I can’t tell if I’m asleep or awake as I change this diaper. Thus, I can’t tell what’s in the diaper and what’s not. Hopefully it’ll, uh, turn up somewhere. Someday.
4. You forget to actually replace the diaper.
Oh, right. A new diaper. Whoops. When you take off a dirty diaper, you’re supposed to replace it with a clean one immediately after. That’s something that being well-rested would help me remember to do. Otherwise being peed on helps me remember. Either way. (But preferably the former.)
5. You sleepwalk through smartphone shopping sprees.
I may not be of use to anyone because I’m on 47 minutes of sleep in the past three days, but the App Store surely loves me. I know this because it if it wasn’t for me, who else would possibly download Outbreaks Near Me (an app for real-time Swine Flu alerts!) and Dog Whistler (yes, it’s an app meant for shepherds to call their dogs, and no I’m not a shepherd nor do I have a dog — why do you care?). I’m not sleeping — is there something else you’d suggest I do with my awake time, which is all the time?
6. You realize just how long you can go without a shower.
Yes, I know I smell. Shower? What’s that? Sleep is usually what separates yesterday from today and tomorrow. When I don’t sleep, it’s just one long day. And why bother showering more than once a day? Besides, a mom by any other smell might be unrecognizable to her baby, and that could give the kid yet another excuse to not sleep. Again.
7. You’ve become nocturnal.
Sunlight means it’s daytime? Because I’m pretty sure daytime is when most people are awake. And yet I’m awake at night, when it’s dark out, in addition to daytime, when it’s light. Clearly my baby didn’t get the memo about the fact that people are supposed to sleep at some point. In fact, it’s feeling like she never will.
8. You drive like it’s your 90th birthday.
Yep, that’s me driving 9 mph in the right lane. You’re right, I probably shouldn’t be driving on negative sleep. And you’re right, the reason I keep drifting into your lane is because I can’t remember where I’m going. But that’s what the right lane is for (well, that and my grandpa). Get in the left lane, be thankful I didn’t have that fifth espresso (because do you really want me driving faster when I’m sleep-deprived and can’t remember where I’m going?), and keep moving, buddy.
9. All you think about, dream about, and wish for is sleep.
Yes, it has gotten to the point where I will now accept sleep in lieu of gifts. The bracelet I said I wanted for my birthday? I don’t want it. No more do I require the fancy truffles for Valentine’s Day. Forget I ever said I even need so much as a card on our anniversary. Just take the baby for the night — or even for a nap — and let me sleep. No gifts will be my gift. The baby’s presence in your presence will be my present.
10. You forget what you were doing while doing it.
I look lost? It’s because I am! What day is it? Why am I here? No, really, why am I here? I know I came here for something, but I haven’t slept since August, so I can’t be sure of the reason.
11. You have a baby.
Clearly my baby doesn’t want me to sleep. How else can she exert total control over my every movement otherwise? Obviously it’s my fault for thinking I could maintain some semblance of a life — awake orasleep — after becoming a parent. Only in my dreams, apparently. Oh, wait.
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Read more about sleep-deprivation and how it’s more than just a parent problem.