If you’ve ever wanted to transport yourself into the worst version of Alice in Wonderland, just don’t sleep. When your waking hours stretch far into the double digits, the world truly turns itself upside down for you no matter how much you plead that things just be normal. Try existing with just naps- you’ll start seeing some weird stuff.
This is a more-than-familiar experience for so many parents and definitely not by choice. It’s just a commonly accepted fact in child rearing that you will go temporarily insane (or permanently) from how much you aren’t allowed to sleep. Things just get weird when you’re not sleeping as much as your body demands it and not like, in a way that reveals who you truly are. Just in a way that reveals how truly odd you can be when pushed.
It’s not like when people talk about how under stress someone’s true colors come out- it’s just like, wow I can really start acting like an alien if denied enough basic components of my life. The best news is that you are not at all alone and some parents have done absolutely bonkers stuff while out of it. Don’t worry, the world is crumbling from everyone’s perspective.
20 You Slowly Lose Your Mind
One mom lists all the highlights (or lowest points) of her sleep deprivation-incited madness. "I tried washing my hands with toothpaste once. Multiple times I've woken up, the baby sleeping in the co-sleeper next to me, with absolutely no memory of putting the baby in there and going to sleep. Once pumped for a solid ten minutes before I realized the tubes weren't connected to the flanges.”
It’s obviously important how far she got into washing her hands with the toothpaste, but it sounds like she was at the scrubbing stage and didn’t get why things weren’t working out for her.
19 You Grab The Wrong Thing
It’s frighteningly easy to just start forgetting what thing is what. Or what it does or just forgetting the feeling of that object in your hand because there’s so much else going on. I mean, we own so much crud that when you’ve been awake for days- it blurs together.
For instance, "I grabbed what I thought was my phone from the nightstand when I left the bedroom with the kids. Set it on the side table while I fed them. When I went to pump I grabbed it (set a timer in case I fall asleep) and realized it was the nightlight--which is shaped like a monster and was on."
18 You Forget Why You Walked Into A Room
Case in point- "I recently started to make coffee. I used the carafe to pour water into the basin, got the coffee down from the cupboard and added it to the basket, turned the pot around and... the carafe was gone. I looked around me and on the counters and in the sink and just stood there stupidly looking around like what?! It took me way too long to realize I put the carafe up in the cupboard when I grabbed the container of coffee down. I was too tired for that nonsense."
All of that is so fair and also so ridiculous.
17 You Forget How Many Kids You Even Have
Sounds ridiculous? You might find yourself there, too. "I was just a couple days PP, and home with hubby and the baby. I was up with her all night, and in the morning my husband took baby duty so I could sleep from 7-10. I woke up in the middle of this and started panicking. I looked in his arms and saw our daughter--but "where were the other kids??" I asked him. He told me the dogs were downstairs. I told him I didn't mean the dogs, I meant the other two babies, he only had one! I was convinced that we had triplets and he lost the other 2 kids..."
16 And Think Your Partner Is The Kid
You don’t need to necessarily remember who is who or who occupies what role in your family to be part of that family. It’s a low bar to hold yourself to but it definitely happens-
“I have patted the husband when he made a noise, thinking it was baby and shushed him, started shushing a crying baby on the TV, tried to actually put an invisible pacifier in the husband mouth....I think now I need to do something special for the husband. He dealt with a lot of sleep deprived insanity from me over the last year!!"
15 You Feed Inanimate Objects
If you think you’re doing a perfect job, check yourself. It’s very likely you’ve completely messed up and are too exhausted to realize. Or just that your fly is down. Whenever you think every base is covered, you’ve forgotten something. That said, cling on to your ill-begotten pride- you probably deserve it.
As one mother recalls, "I nursed my pillow. I turned on the nursing timer on my phone, held my pillow up to my chest and fell back asleep. I was extremely confused when my actual baby started to cry 15 minutes later later and I was convinced I was already nursing him."
14 Unexplained Things Happen
Life can be just as strange as your sleep-deprived mind- "I had really low supply so we supplemented using an SNS. One night my husband was changing the baby while I put some formula in the SNS. I came back into the bedroom, got baby latched, and when I turned to pick up the SNS, there was a ladybug floating in the bottle. I said 'There's a ladybug in it.' My husband said 'What? I think you're sleepwalking.' 'No, there's actually a ladybug.' And there was. All I can guess is it snuck in while I was prepping the top for the SNS? I don't know."
13 You Forget The Baby
Or another example- "I had a C-section so when the baby needed feeding at night, he had to get up and give me the baby. So baby wakes up and… I shake my husband and ask him to please give me the baby. He then proceeded to get up and throw a pillow at me, then lay back down. Did he think that was the baby? He just whipped the "baby" at me. I had to shake him awake and tell him what he did and that I need him to actually give me the baby but not till he was fully awake. Im laughing out loud remembering it."
12 You Lose Anything Not Tied To You
It can be on your own face or clasped in your hands and you'll still have no idea where it is. For instance, ”When she was a newborn, I lost her pacifier during a middle of the night change. I looked everywhere for it: the swing, the armchair, under the bed... couldn't find it. When we got up the next morning, I found it secured to LO's back under the flaps of her halo swaddle sack. Poor thing had it digging into her back for hours and never made a peep!”
Well, maybe the princess and the pea just had a very frazzled nanny who had no idea what happened to her pea.
11 You Just Forget Things
It’s a lot like when it’s so dark you can’t see your own hands in front of your face, but you’re so tired that you completely forget you even have hands even when they’re in front of your face. A great example of this is a story from one mom- "Middle of the night feeding I put the bottle to my mouth instead of the baby’s.”
Wow- yep. It takes a minute and you wonder why the milk is going down your throat when it doesn’t usually feel like this. It’s the ultimate shoe on the wrong foot and it can be really difficult to know what’s happening when you’re this tired.
10 You Forget Where You Are
I don’t even mean what state you’re in and what date it is. One parent remembers a particularly rough night- "I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and was surprised to find I felt warm and wet. Turns out I [had mistaken the couch for the toilet]. I had literally pulled down my pants, sat down on the couch, and started [going] as if I were on the toilet.”
You just don’t know what room you’re in. When the brain thinks it’s right, it really leans into that assumption.
9 You Do Really Simple Things Wrong
This is a hilariously simple version -"I kept trying to open the front door of my house by pressing the unlock button of my car key.” I can see this going on for multiple minutes before the brain realizes what it’s even trying to pull off. There’s an Einstein quote about how doing the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
And there are the times when you’re using the car clicker to open the front door expecting any results at all and definitely feel like you’re in the right. And those times are also technically insanity, but you’re off the hook new mom.
8 You Forget What A Baby Even Is
Sure, you gave birth to it but you might still forget who or what your baby is. It’s the one image most firmly implanted in your mind but you also might totally space on what your baby even is. For instance, "Upon hearing the baby cry I woke up and started rocking my arm. Was the baby in my arm? Nope, it was the cat who looked at me like I was crazy.”
That’s honestly such a sweet cat to even go along with this nonsense. Sorry, pets of new parents. We all know it’s getting pretty weird and there’s nothing that can be done.
7 Or Who The Baby Is
Who in the family is the infant? Should be an easy question but it’s really not if you’ve been awake for countless hours. For instance, "One night I was convinced my husband was LO so I woke up and was feeling his mouth to see if he still had his pacifier. My husband was startled by my sudden grab at his mouth. I snapped out of it but I remember it took a while to shake off my confusion.”
Pretty rough- also totally understandable once the dad calmed down from the weirdest sensation of someone pulling at his mouth during the dead of sleep.
6 And What Noises Signify What
Cause and effect sounds like it would be simple but in truth, it gets a lot more foggy and confusing when you’re already sleep-addled. Your brain starts to guess at what’s happening and it’s all downhill from there. So this story totally checks out- "When my baby woke up in the middle of the night crying I answered the door thinking it was someone ringing the doorbell.”
No one expects you to be able to correctly identify what’s happening- sure, your kid will someday learn that the cow goes moo, but for now it’s fine if you forget that the doorbell doesn’t shriek and wail.
5 You Mean To Kiss Your Kid But Don't
There are times when parents explain their experiences and truly sound like they live on another planet. Or like they’re just extremely bad at living on this world. Take this rough story for one example-
"It wasn't the middle of the night, but one day I was feeding my daughter and gazing lovingly at her and marvelling at how amazing she was and then leaned down and ever so gently kissed the bottle.” It doesn’t have to even be the dark of night to feel like all the lights are off in your brain. As a new parent, the lights can feel like they’re off when actually it’s bright out.
4 You Mean To Feed Your Kid But Don't
You truly have the intention to feed your child and do right by them, and then you forget where the food is supposed to go. Or something that makes even less sense.
For example, "Tried to feed both my cat and a teddy bear their bottles. The cat liked the idea, the teddy bear seemed kind of neutral to it. My daughter was very displeased about both. This is what you get when you fall asleep on the sofa with a 1yr old, a cat and a teddy bear while sick.” Whatever is closest is the baby and that’s the new rule of having a cold while napping with an infant.
3 And Words Stop Making Sense
There’s no need to be embarrassed if you’re a huge weirdo to everyone- "When I was in the hospital right after my C-section, I told the nurse to 'take the headboard' because it 'had a face.' Another night, I was convinced that there was a spider carrying a pouch of eggs through the wall. Sleep brain forgot the word for 'eggsac', so my husband woke to me pointing at nothing as I insisted that "the package is in the wall."
Do any of those make sense? Of course not. But these are people meant to put up with your total madness so sure, blather away. Gibberish is fine.
2 And Nighttime Gets Confusing
The story speaks for itself- "I apparently started shaking like crazy and asked my husband to bring me fuzzy socks (I hate wearing fuzzy socks) and I have no recollection of any of it. I woke up sweating at 2am, wondering why I had fuzzy socks and like 8 blankets. My favorite of my husband's sleep deprived dad moments was the time he heard the baby fussing (in his room across the hall) and asked me where the baby was and started looking under the covers all over the bed for him." Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’ve been awake forever.
1 Everything Falls Apart
It’s a laundry list of oopsies- "Cereal in the fridge and milk in the cupboard. Walked into the wrong bedroom (we were renting it out to a friend) thinking it was the bathroom. Left my daughter in her carrier on the floor of the living room. Walked out the door with the stroller and went to check on her to make sure she was properly covered. Lost it because I couldn't logically figure out where my daughter was for about 15 seconds. Ran back inside to retrieve daughter”
That could have easily all happened during a single day and it’d be totally forgivable.
References: Reddit.com, Buzzfeed.com