Sleep deprivation does some really weird things to me. I mean really, really strange.
When sleep deprivation sets in and I’m bone achingly tired, I have out of body experiences where I am standing there watching myself speaking to my husband on the phone … one minute I’ll be giggling like a girl and nittering like a bluebird about what I said to so and so this morning. Then give me a breath, a heartbeat and a toddler running across the floor with undies dragging and I’m ready to reach down the phone and rip out his throat!
Completely irrational I know. Psycho mother from hell comes to mind but in that moment, it is very clear to me that of course everything is his fault! The children were up all night with asthma – clearly his fault because he didn’t make them wear warm pjs after their bath. The children were up early because the guy next door revs his engine for 10 minutes to warm up the engine –hasn’t he mentioned that to him YET?!
The scary thing about sleep deprivation (well for me anyway) is that I can’t surrender. Even when I know I should just give in, put my feet up and close my eyes for a power nap, I rage against the tiredness and push through. “Doesn’t anyone else realise that if I don’t carry on, the house will fall apart? The washing won’t be folded, dinner won’t be up to scratch and the beds will stay unmade all day. I mean really, these things are critical”!
In my more sane, less sleep deprived moments, I understand that none of this is anyone’s fault and that things like a quickly scratched together dinner and unmade beds are completely fine. In my more sane, less sleep deprived moments, I am quite rational and realise that everything is WORSE, no make that a thousand times worse, when you are tired.
The sibling bickering is worse, the mess in the house is worse, my regrowth is so much worse and the lack on involvement from you know who is monumentally worse too.
I laughed at the sign I made for my rear window a long time back after a episode of sleep deprivation. I made this because it REALLY HAPPENED. After a particularly long night, oldest son (4) had a swimming lesson so with him, 1 x 2 year old and 1 x newborn in the car we headed off. At the first red light we came to, I pulled up and put my foot on the brake. 4 year old engrossed in a book, 2 year old sucking dummy and newborn sleeping – yes! But with all quiet in the car and me being ridiculously tired, I nodded off! And was brought to an abrupt awakening as I bumped (just a little tiny bump) into the car in front. There was no damage save my pride but it was a wake up call.
I’ve since had many (less serious) moments of craziness because of sleep deprivation – popping the mince in the pantry, throwing a red t-shirt in with hubbies white business shirts, using salt instead of sugar in some kindy cupcakes and throwing on t-shirts inside out (not to mention shouting that could raise the roof) so it is a genuinely mind altering condition!
So I guess the only thing is to learn from those far younger than me. When sleep deprivation takes over, I need to do as my children do when they’re about to cross the road;
STOP (what I’m doing and accept the fact that I am suffering from sleep deprivation)
LOOK (at what sleep deprivation is doing to me – and those around me)
CHECK (whether I’ve left the baby in the car or the water boiling on the stove)
LISTEN (to what my body is telling me)
THINK (about how much nicer I will be and how much better everything will be once I’ve slept)
CROSS (a tidy house, a from scratch dinner and freshly ironed clothes) off the list.
Oh, and maybe apologise to you know who for the witch that I become when sleep deprivation takes control. I mean really, that woman is crazy. I’m not sure who she is but she’s in my house a lot!
What does sleep deprivation do to you? Do you cope, get angry, get teary or completely lose the plot? Please share your story – it might make me feel a little more normal!