To All Of The Exhausted Parents

Dear Sleep Deprived Parent,

Let me start off by giving you a high five of solidarity. (It’s okay if you miss, I don’t expect your A-game when you’re living a protracted sleep hangover).

We are the ones asking the barista at Starbucks what blend has the most caffeine, and if there’s a larger size, oh, and add a couple of shots of espresso for good measure. We buy the professional grade dark circle concealer, and just hope it helps. We receive unsolicited advice about sleep from everyone from your old school Aunt Mable (thanks but no thanks Aunt Mable, I’ll pass on that nip of whiskey) to your single childless friend who has all the answers and knows just the right essential oil to send your precious little one to dreamland.

We’ve tried letting him cry it out, and cried the whole time ourselves, we have queried the pediatrician, tried diet changes, and overdosed on those bath products guaranteed to send your child into a transcendent and blissful night’s rest, and diffused every oil from lavender to chamomile and back to vanilla. Yet your sweet child continues to defy conventional and unconventional wisdom as well as every off the wall homeopathic remedy the internet has to offer. If there is a white noise machine or fan, we have tried that. Weighted blankets, check. We have superstitions and rituals to woo the sandman, from just the right temperature to sleep dances.

<i>He acts like his bed is a torture device, but can fall asleep mid-day like it's nothing.</i>
He acts like his bed is a torture device, but can fall asleep mid-day like it's nothing.

Please, dear friend, take heart. Your child’s ability to sleep (or lack there of) is in no way indicative of your parenting skills. (If anything you have reached super-Jedi-ninja level, but your kid just levels up just ahead of you, which pretty much means she’s a rocket scientist). If anything, you have shown adaptability, persistence and heart. Let’s stand together as survivors and hold our heads high! (when we aren’t dozing off while standing). You’re going through life in a state of abject exhaustion, and somehow manage to hold it together when weeks of sleep deprivation melt into months and even years. Your superpower is keeping your eyes open during meetings and keeping your coffee intake perfectly balanced between dozing off and bouncing off the walls. Just remember, this too shall pass, it might just take a decade or two.


The Mom who’s 10 years into this nightmare.

P.S. If you’re secretly cursing that mom who is bragging about her child sleeping 12 hours at a stretch and taking a 3 hour nap I am so with you!

Follow Alethea at Ben’s Writing, Running Mom.

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