Chronic Exhaustion and How to Survive Being a Mother

May 27, 2015

Essays, Mom Stories


I was born chronically exhausted, so once I had a child, any hope of ever feeling rested again went right out the window. And it’s not just when they are babies. It starts then and goes until you die.  My long-term affliction has morphed with regular mom-exhaustion into a Defcon 5 level of survival strategies.

Here are my top 5 tips on surviving the prisoner-of-war-like sleep deprivation that occurs upon the birth (and beyond) of your precious little bundle of joy.

1. Don’t have children. Okay, clearly, that horse is out of the barn. But in a quiet moment, just imagine a life of sleeping late on the weekends, reading a full-length novel in one sitting and peeing alone.

2. Drink. And I don’t mean water, because that will just make you have to pee, and when a mom goes to the toilet, it somehow signals that there is a little-person convention in your bathroom, and every child within a two block radius shows up to ask you for a snack. No, I mean, wine. Or beer. Or vodka, if you have it. And remember, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.  Will this help you sleep? No, but it will help you survive.

3. Take advantage of friends and family. And I mean advantage. Bribe them, even blackmail them, if necessary. Know something naughty your sister did in high school? Does she want Mom and Dad to know all these years later? I thought not. Use that knowledge to your advantage!

4. If they aren’t babies who might legitimately need you in the middle of the night, may I suggest ear plugs and an eye mask? Perhaps a fan blowing white noise or an iPod playing the sounds of soothing ocean waves? Sure, you run the risk that older children are hovering over you like something from “The Shining” in the middle of the night, but a mild heart attack is worth a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. And you’ll get used to it — eventually.

5. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I don’t have five tips. That just seemed like a good round number. I’m not even sure if the first four will work. Basically, it’s every mother for herself. Do what you can to survive and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it.

I wish for you sweet dreams. Good night.


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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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