This phenomenon causes your baby to become nocturnal, sleeping through the day and staying up at night. At first, this diurnal rest seems lovely—you are free to cook, clean, and have uninterrupted time to work. And then you realize, you are never going to sleep again. Before the baby, I maintained a hectic work schedule, often averaging upwards of 80 hours a week. I can handle minimal sleep, I told myself, this isn’t so bad. However, I quickly realized the main difference; with a baby, you have to be actually nice ALL THE TIME.
Sure, getting off a 17-hour shift sucks. You are tired, cranky, and just want to go home, open up your favorite bottle and sip yourself into a blissful few hours sleep. If some jerk decides to wake you up screaming about some bullshit at 4 a.m., you could, in good conscious, punch them in the face and go back to bed. Unfortunately, with a baby, it’s always bullshit, and you’re never allowed punch them.
Reality and hallucination begin to meld together; one night I woke to my baby’s cries, pulled back the blanket and was completely sure she had removed her diaper and was lying half naked in her bed. “She got out the diaper!” I shrieked to no one in particular. “My god, I bet she’s peed everywhere!” Frantically grabbing a diaper to salvage the situation, I looked back to find her completely clothed, diaper fully intact.
Sleep deprivation is definitely one of the worst tortures, but still one that mothers everywhere suffer silently in commiseration. If you can awake from a 20 minute nap at 2 a.m. to a wriggling 10 lb human waist deep in poo, and address the situation with a smile, congratulations, you might be a supermom. My hat’s off to you all, ladies.
This is the fifth in a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series and browse the archives for previous posts.