If you’re a new or expecting parent, you’ve probably already heard this age-old piece of advice: sleep when the baby sleeps. (As if you can save up that time for when you need it later.) But sometimes, sleep is impossible, and you end up becoming a “mombie”: a mom zombie. If you recognize any of these signs, you may be a sleep deprived parent.
10 The Baby’s Sleeping Through the Night and Now You’re Not
If you’re lucky, your little one is sleeping through the night. But now, despite praying for this event and begging for a decent night’s sleep, you’re wide awake. You’re not alone. Lots of parents feel anxious when babies first start sleeping through the night. You’re so used to your 2 a.m. feeding that you wake up automatically, but your baby doesn’t.
If you can’t get back to sleep right away, don’t just stare at the clock. Try meditating or visualization to relax. Go into another room and listen to calming music or do a quiet activity like reading. And talk to your doctor if you’re worried about insomnia.
9 The Baby’s Still Not Sleeping Through the Night so Neither Are You
Maybe it’s 6 months, or 9 months, or 11 months, and your baby still hasn’t slept through the night. All babies sleep through the night on their own schedule. Some babies sleep through the night really early in their life, but once they start crawling and standing, they through a period of sleep regression that leaves parents puzzled. There are many different tips and tricks for trying to get your baby to sleep through the night. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your baby’s lack of sleep.
8 Who Has Time for Housework?
There are dishes piled up in the sink. Rather than sweep the floors, you constantly pull dust bunnies out of your baby’s fist—or mouth. Your load of whites has been sitting in the dryer for three days. You keep fluffing them, but can’t seem to actually find the time (or energy) to fold them.
Since not everybody can afford a maid or a cleaning company, come up with a schedule or a chore chart and find time to do a little bit every day. Divide and conquer! Make sure all family members are pitching in. Even little ones can do chores.
7 Forget Cooking
It’s easier to just pick up the phone and order something. If you actually have the time to cook, you’d rather spend it zoned out on the couch. Besides, cooking creates dirty dishes, and those suckers aren’t going to wash themselves.
Carve out some time to do a bunch of meal prep in advance. It might take a while to prepare your ingredients and get everything cooking, but at least once it’s done, it’s done.
6 Fueled by Caffeine
You might have switched to decaf while you were pregnant, but now it’s GAME ON. There’s not enough coffee in Colombia to wake you up and get you fully functional in the morning. But there are other ways to feel energized besides your daily dose of caffeine.
Try chewing some minty gum, stretching, getting some fresh air, cranking up the radio, or massaging your ears. Sounds crazy, but applying pressure to the outer rim of your ears is supposed to help energize your entire body.
5 You Haven’t Had a Decent Shower in… a While
Long gone are the days of standing under a long, hot, steamy shower. Now it’s get in, scrub up, and get out. You’ve got too much other stuff to do—that is, if you find the energy.
You might want to make it a cold shower. Sure, it’s not comfortable, but studies have shown that cold showers can reduce tension and fatigue while improving mood and memory.
4 You Might Be Wearing PJs, but at Least They’re (Somewhat) Clean
You didn’t feel like getting dressed yesterday. You wore your PJs all day, and then, before bed, you put on clean PJs. (Well, if you’ve actually managed to finish doing laundry recently, they’re clean.) But you don’t necessarily have to get dressed up to feel better. Just get dressed.
Try these tips for getting ready in a flash: keep your closet organized, check the weather for the following day, and pick out your clothes the night before—everything from your underwear to your outfit to your shoes.
3 You Can’t Think Straight
Do you ever feel like your brain is fried and find yourself doing things that make no sense? Maybe you start the coffee pot without putting coffee grounds in the filter. Maybe you respond to a text message in your head, but don’t actually press any buttons on your phone. Maybe you make a bottle of formula and lose count of how many scoops you’ve put in. (Counting to three is hard.)
Whether you’re back in the office, working from home, or just trying to keep it all together, have a plan and try taking it one step at a time. Get rid of distractions, do your easiest tasks first, and stay hydrated. Even mild hydration can cause fatigue, loss of focus, and headaches.
2 You’re Cranky
Are you snapping at your spouse? Feeling cranky? If you find you’re often in a bad mood, your lack of sleep may be to blame. Just like babies gets cranky when they’re tired, it may be time for you to take a nap. It might seem impossible with everything you’ve got going on, but sometimes a little nap is exactly what you need.
Try to keep your naps short. The shorter you nap, the less groggy you’ll feel upon waking, and the less likely your nap will interfere with your nighttime sleep.
1 You’re so Tired You Can’t Sleep.
If babies are overtired or overstimulated, they’re not going to calm down and go to sleep easily. Adults are the same way. You need to calm down and de-stress before bed. Whether it’s taking a hot bath, sipping a cup of herbal tea, or yoga and meditation, winding down and relaxing before you go to bed will help you get a better night’s rest.