A Sleep Primer for Parents » Teeny Manolo

A Sleep Primer for Parents

By Glinda


I don’t know why no one ever told me the truth. But I would now like to bring the truth out in the open, for all to see. I consider it my duty and a public service. You’re welcome.

When I brought my newborn home, I thought all was perfect and well with the world. And it was. For the first eight hours.

Then it became apparent that my life would never be the same.

Awww, Glinda, you are saying to yourself. Of course, a child changes your life in such a wonderful way! Such a wonderful, permanent way!

Well yes, there is all that with the bond you have with your offspring, yadda, yadda, yadda.

However, the permanent change that I’m referring to is that of not getting enough sleep. That is the change that no one bothered to tell me about. And if you ask me, it’s a rather important one.

For some reason, the term “midnight feedings” just doesn’t really seem all that big a deal until you are actually in the midst of doing them. And then you are so sleep deprived that you just sort of muddle through the rest of the day, hoping to goodness that it is safe for you to operate heavy machinery. Most likely it isn’t, but you do anyway because that is how insidious the process is. You’re fine, really, you insist, as you almost knock over the trashcans while pulling out of the driveway.

Finally, you get to a point where you think, my child can sleep through the night! Hooray! You have gone through about three “sleep books” that have purported to tell you how to get your child to sleep, and you have at last discovered the magic formula, whatever that may be. You might even be tempted to indulge in some self-congratulation, because that first night is such a milestone.

Don’t believe the hype.

There are still nights of sickness and coughing, nights of waking up at 2am and screeching that they “can’t get back to sleep!” They are hot, they are cold, they need a tissue, they loudly announce bathroom visits at 4am. Worse yet, there are the early wakings-up from an almost demonically energetic child who wants you to make them breakfast. Now. Even though by all rights you should be snuggling under the sheets for a minimum of a half hour more, they really don’t care.

From what I hear, as they get older, you still aren’t guarunteed a peaceful night’s sleep because they are gallivanting around and you are wondering if they are lying in a ditch somewhere, or posting compromising photos of themselves on the internet, or a plethora of other things that will keep you awake into the wee hours of the night.

So just know that when your child is born, your life is indeed changed in many ways, mostly for the better. But the odds are you will never get a truly good night’s sleep again.  At least until they leave the house. And maybe not even then.

12 Responses to “A Sleep Primer for Parents”

  1. Carol Says:

    Sorry, no. Not even then.

  2. Awesome Mom Says:

    Thank you for the delightfully encouraging post! Lol!

  3. gemdiva Says:

    As they were wheeling me to the delivery room 31 years ago, my doctor said “from here on, your life will never be the same”. I answered with “I bet you say that to all the girls” and asked him if I would be able to play the piano after my C section. He said “of course” and I said “Cool, I could never play before” Ba Dum Bum!

    Seriously, though, truer words were never spoken. I still ask my son to call me even now, if he’s on a business trip, when he gets where he’s going and when he gets home. Sometimes you just gotta know everything is OK. Being a Mom is a wonderful thing, but say bye bye to sleep.

  4. Metro Says:

    A recent study in Australia estimated that a baby costs its parents between 400 and 750 hours of sleep in the first year.


  5. raincoaster Says:

    Gee, I wonder if I can return this uterus. I don’t think I’ll be using it now.

  6. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    Oh dear. And I’m renowned in my family for my fondness for sleep (I could easily and happily sleep 10 hours a night). Maybe I should think twice about this trying-to-get-pregnant thing and just get another dog. 🙂

  7. JaneC Says:

    Every time my mother goes on a trip anywhere, my grandmother expects a phone call or email as soon as mom arrives. Mom is 59. The thought that my grandmother has suffered sleep deprivation for nearly 60 years…makes me want to put off having children a little longer.

  8. Jennie Says:

    Raincoaster, get some cats… Litter trained at birth, grateful for food, warm and cuddly without having their paws out for every little thing…

  9. raincoaster Says:

    Cats? As if I’m not batty enough, you want me to turn into a Cathy comic!

  10. Jennie Says:

    At least the kitties won’t eat you alive like giant squids or children…

  11. pamici Says:

    Yes, I quickly realized that what the books really meant by newborns needing to eat every three hours, was “every third hour, for the whole hour, every day, for several weeks.” oy!

  12. valawhoo Says:

    Did someone mention getting a dog? Forget about that. Our puppy kind of sleeps through the night now (he’s about 4 months old), but if he’s hot, he whines. If he hears a noise outside, he barks. Sunday, we awoke at 6 a.m. to the lovely sounds of retching as he coughed up the grass and piece of gravel he’d ingested the day before. (Of course, such is our madness that we were actually RELIEVED. “He threw up the rock! GOOD BOY!!”) My husband, who does not deal well with being sleep deprived and was still under the effects of a muscle relaxant he took the night before to deal with a back problem, stumbled outside with the kennel tray, while I graciously volunteered to doze on the couch and watch the puppy, because putting him in his downstairs kennel (the “condo”) would be pointless – it would involve another good half-hour of listening to him cry. I managed maybe a total of 45 minutes of dozing by giving him a rawhide chew. Later, my husband mentioned getting up at 2 when the puppy threw up. “It was 6,” I told him. “Remember, the sun was coming up?” No, he didn’t remember.

    Next time, he’s going in the kennel downstairs, and I’m going back to sleep.

    The good thing is, you learn to discipline them, because after a while, having a dog run the house just isn’t livable. They have to learn to live within your constraints, not the other way around.

    It’s good training for parenthood, is what I’m saying. Either that or the world’s best method of birth control.

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