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6 Stages of a Sleep-Starved Mom(bie)

You know that feeling when you wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a nice night of rest? Me neither.

Words by LJ Kunkel

As a mom, I’m pretty sure I may never again experience the simple privileges of getting to bed on time, an uninterrupted full session of shut-eye, sleeping in, or waking up refreshed and ready to go (at least not until the nocturnal minions are adults themselves).

Crazy how the one thing you need most after giving birth is stripped from you and remains always just out of reach. Nature, you have failed us all!

Take heart, fellow mombie (mom + zombie) – you’re not alone! We’ve all experienced the following long spiral to parental insanity.

STAGE 1: Denial
I am a rock star! I just popped out a freaking baby. He is so perfect! I made this little cutie! And I’m not even tired! What is this silly exhaustion thing everyone warns about? This isn’t so bad. I don’t even need coffee!

STAGE 2: Anger
Okay, now I see. What the heck? I can’t even think straight. How many times during the night does this parasite need to eat, for crying out loud? It’s 2 a.m., and I’ve been up five times already! What the…no, no, no! Diaper blowout?! Gotta be kidding me. I housed this thing for nine months, and this is what I get?! What…what is that? Snoring? Who is snoring? Oh, that’s right — the father — somehow he is able to completely tune out all sounds, even screaming. Wait, is that me or the baby screaming? Aaargh! He did this to me in the first place! Maybe I should “accidentally” wake him up…

STAGE 3: Bargaining
Okay, okay, calm down, crazy! It’s not you…it’s not hubby…it’s not the baby (well, it is kinda). This sleep-starved state is making you insane! It won’t last forever. The cuddles and the laughs and all the fun stuff will all be worth it. Look, little guy is finally asleep again! Aw, how sweet! They say someday you will miss this, right? Will I even be able to remember the good parts? Did the dog just talk to me? I’m so tired that I’m delusional. Am I talking out loud? Yep, officially riding the crazy train.

STAGE 4: Depression
Shouldn’t this little imp be sleeping through the night by now? Google lied to me about this! I must have the only 8-month-old who still needs night feedings. Lucky me. And why does he think 3 a.m. is a good time to play? I’m done trying to “enjoy” this stage. I don’t know when I last showered. Did I eat dinner tonight? What the heck is stuck in my hair? My body hurts. My brain hurts. Not even the best makeup can cover up these massive black shadows of doom under my eyes. I can’t stop crying. Does it ever end?

STAGE 5: Acceptance
This is just how it’s going to be, I guess. For a while, anyway. Not sure how long I can take this, but it will end, right? I won’t be doing this in 14 years, right? Heck, by then he’ll be sleeping until noon whenever he can. Then I can wake him up! Oh, I can’t wait! Sweet revenge! Until then, I will survive. I hope.

STAGE 6: Coffee
Yes, this is a stage. Perhaps the longest one. Enough said!

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LJ KUNKEL is a writer, fitness trainer and sleep-deprived mom(bie) of three boys. She keeps her head on straight by working out, dancing shamelessly and eating chocolate (also shamelessly). Learn more about LJ at fitmixmom.com.

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