Par­ents bed in for wak­ing night­mare

Say bye to sleep as hav­ing kids will open your eyes – per­ma­nently

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - @SCHOOL - mi­randa mur­phy @mur­phymi­randa Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at The Aus­tralian

A COU­PLE of sci­encey news sto­ries last week con­firmed what ev­ery par­ent al­ready knows: lack of sleep messes with your memory.

I’d go into the specifics but I’ve al­ready for­got­ten them; af­ter a decade of sub­stan­dard shut-eye, I’m a gib­ber­ing wreck.

Be­cause once you have kids, you can wave nor­mal slum­ber – and to­tal re­call – good­bye. Be­hold the six ages of sleep de­pri­va­tion:


THERE is no sleep. You feed the baby ev­ery three hours and spend the rest of the time look­ing fran­ti­cally for its snooze but­ton.

The kid thinks night-time is day­time and it has no in­ter­est in binge TV, which you can’t make sense of any­way be­cause you are so mind-numb­ingly stuffed.

The only time you prop­erly fall asleep is when you try to have a con­ver­sa­tion with an adult, or per­form crit­i­cal tasks like sign­ing le­gal doc­u­ments or walk­ing.

Memory loss sta­tus: you can’t re­mem­ber any­thing that hap­pened more than half an hour ago.


YOUR kid dis­cov­ers they can get out of bed them­selves and roams free-range at night or pre-dawn. You can’t sleep be­cause you worry about them creep­ing around the house, or you fear wak­ing in the small hours to find a tiny face inches from your own.

Memory: you can’t re­mem­ber how many times you got up in the dark.


BED­TIME Bingo! There are many vari­a­tions of this sleep-re­sis­tance game go­ing around: bingo squares in­clude Need A Drink, Heard A Scary Noise, Can’t Find Long-Lost Toy and Foot Hurts.

Memory: you can’t re­mem­ber how to per­form ba­sic tasks at work or what your col­leagues’ names are.

Pri­mary age

THE chil­dren are eas­ier to get down – af­ter an hour or so of ne­go­ti­a­tion that ends, not coin­ci­den­tally, at 8.29pm. You then fall into a worn-out coma a minute into your fave TV show.

But you wake up brighteyed for your 3am worry slot and spend the rest of the night fret­ting about the 400 tasks you have to do.

Memory: you can’t re­mem­ber which kid is called what, so just run them all to­gether: Anna Jack Felic­ity!


YOU’RE now pro­grammed to wake at the crack of dawn with early bird young­sters … but you sim­ply can’t rouse them as teens from their morn­ing slum­ber.

Later, if the older ones go out at night, you find your­self ac­tively not-wait­ing-up but wracked by anx­i­ety in bed.

Memory: you’ve for­got­ten why it was a good idea to have kids.


YOUR freeload­ing 25-yearold brings back his mates for din­ner but has to be wo­ken up the next day for his meet­ing with his prop­erty in­vest­ment man­ager.

Memory: the past 25 years are a mys­tery.

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