Living in the fog of sleep deprivation

Giraffe Sleep

I learnt a fascinating fact recently which had me wishing I was a giraffe. You see giraffes only need 20 minutes of sleep a day.

As for me, I’m tired; doggone tired, living in a fog. I’ve had maybe 6 months of unbroken sleep in 3.5 years. My eldest didn’t sleep through till 18 months then 6 months later her sister was born. My baby still wakes through the night 16 months on.

It all adds up. I don’t know how far in the red one’s sleep bank can go before we hit sleep bankruptcy. (And I hear all mothers in solidarity say, “Tell me about it!”)

Living in a fog

Everyday I wake in a haze, after yet another night’s broken sleep, knowing that I could slip back to sleep in an instant and keep on slumbering for hours. Whilst my eyelids and body struggle to wake, my sense of responsibility forces me to spring out of bed and rush about like a crazy woman to get myself, and everyone else ready for the day.

The non-stop rush continues at work before the rush to pick up the girls from childcare, the rush home, to cook, clean, get the girls to bath and bed, all before I crash into my bed. Then I awake the next morning and it begins again, a little like groundhog day sometimes, except time is really passing fast and before I know it, the week has gone and the next one is beginning.

Work has further been exhausting my brain and my body. Squeezing five days work into four is hard. In fact, it’s beyond hard. It’s impossible. Hubby did warn me.

So there was this project I had to ignore for two months because I had no time to tackle it. It was like a ball and chain around my ankles, a monkey on my back, the piles of paperwork taunting me every day as I sat at my desk.

I’ve finally had to tackle it and it’s overtaking every day, dragging on and on. All I want to do is wrap it up fast and have a massive celebratory bonfire. Pity about record keeping legislation.

Domestic chores have also been leeching whatever energy I have left. Our tiny apartment, and I stress *tiny*, feels like a disaster zone. I don’t work well amongst clutter, but I’ve congratulated myself for learning to adapt by increasing my tolerance threshold, yet I still have a threshold.

With time, the pressure starts rising, like an active volcano, and I eventually erupt. At that moment every “invisible” piece of clutter materialises before my eyes and I turn into a rampaging mad woman, ranting and raving about the mess as I toss things back to their rightful places in a frenzy.

In trying a new tactic, I’ve taken a picture out of Honey and Fizz’s Instagram feed and tried her “flower therapy”.


Hopefully, if I flood this place with beautiful, aromatic flowers, and maybe candles too, the fragrance and the beauty will blind me from the mess lurking below and I will be transported to a more zen state of being……well, maybe………but I need to buy more flowers…..

Floral Stairway

{image credit}

Last Saturday morning it was all too much. My head was in a spin. With the excuse of emptying the compost, I took flight to escape the mayhem.

As I rushed towards the front door to leave, fleeing to find a moment of sanity, I kept hollering aloud to myself, “I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t want to make any decisions! I don’t want to be responsible! I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t WANT to care!”

Just me

My problem is that I do care. I can’t help myself. But lately, in my haze of tiredness, I am not being gracious about it. An ugly side of me is rearing its head far too often, leaving me ashamed at the poor example I’m setting for my family and having to apologise for it, time and time again.

Fly Away

As I stole my moments alone in the chilly morning air, I realised the mayhem that was threatening to swallow my peace of mind was pretty much all in my own head. No one else cares about the mess, the piles of laundry, the unkempt home. They want to play, enjoy some leisure time, live in the moment, sleep, and chill out.

I’ve been thwarted by sleep-deprivation but can I thwart my own nature? Can I push beyond sub-optimal brain fog productivity to think more clearly about what matters, and what doesn’t? Can I learn not to care about what really isn’t all that important? Time will tell.

Did, or do, you survive or excel through sleep deprivation? Any tips for me to add to my arsenal?

p.s: A weekly subscription of flowers would be lovely! 😉

Palm Sun Flare

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Anthems for the Sleep Deprived


Linking with With Some Grace for FlogYoBlogFriday (FYBF).


21 thoughts on “Living in the fog of sleep deprivation

  1. I excelled during sleep deprivation in school haha. And kind of survive now. Pumpkin still wakes up 2-3 times a night but she’s quite easy to settle nowadays so I’m not complaining. We’ve long given up on her sleeping through the night so when she does, it’ll be a happy surprise and not an expectation.

    I don’t know if this is feasible but can you take power naps at work? Maybe 15-20 mins will help I think.
    Big hugs to you and hope you’ll find more rest soon.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • It’s so interesting you talk about excelling at sleep deprivation during school. I did my high school in Singapore and remember sleeping almost midnight daily and waking between 5-6am to get the bus for Sec 3 and Sec 4. I don’t recall feeling exhausted then either! I think we’re just older, have more adult responsibilities at home and work so it’s just more tiring. After having one baby who didn’t sleep through till much later, I am glad my expectations were set for this one. I am pretty sure she will learn to self-settle better soon. Well, one can live in hope!

      Power naps at work might not be possible though with the weather warming up, I did ponder crossing the road to the park and laying splayed out on the grass for a while this past week!

  2. I tried the flower therapy thing. I ended up spending what was left of my wage after childcare on flowers. It made me feel better but I wish they had of been cheaper. I think I’m only just surviving on sleep deprivation. I can certainly relate to the foggy head, it’s even worse when I haven’t had coffee in the morning!

    • I am a bit concerned about the cost of “flower therapy” too, Prue. Not every type of flower detracts my attention though I can focus on the cheaper winter bulbs right now. I think we all just end up pushing through and surviving, enduring, until such time as the kids are older. There’s not a lot else to do. No point fighting it. Thanks for visiting. Love the photos on your blog, by the way.

  3. I definitely do not excel, I only have one little munchkin and I am a SAHM and most of the time I am exhausted. Sleep Deprivation is one of those things that makes me so raw and abbrasive, my poor husband. I like to think caffeine helps 🙂

    • Karen, I think my husband deserves a little award sometimes for his patience when I’m in a sleep-deprived, ranty mood too. Then at other times I am sure he could help alleviate things by doing a tad more housework. 😉

  4. Oh Veronica.. Big hugs (flowers and candles to you!) wish I could send you some sleep!!
    I have jetlag at the moment, from a week of travelling so I dont know how you have done it for 3 years – that is alot of lost sleep! Maybe allocate 1 day where you think about leisure and looking after yourself! It is tricky when work gets in the way.. And it’s so so hard to change our mindsets! Xxx

    • Jetlag is tough too, Jane, but like this season in a parent’s life, it does pass…..eventually! I do have a “day off” technically since I only work 4 days a week but instead of taking the girls out of childcare or doing stuff for me, I seem to end up filling it with chores, chores and more chores, despite my list of non-chore items I want to do. I guess it always seems things like the housework scream more urgently than taking a walk on a sunny day, shopping even (I really need new clothes!) or blogging. I am going to have to learn to change that!

  5. You know, I don’t think it’s so much the sleep deprivation thing for me. I used be able to go to work, go to the gym, hang out and party with friends…all on 4 – 6 hours of sleep a night. I was like this Duracell Bunny.
    These days, I still only get 4 – 6 hours of sleep but it’s just all of that emotion that goes with looking after twin toddlers.
    I completely lost it today – amongst the tears and tantrums. I kept saying to myself it’s because I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired.
    While in fact, I have proven to function just fine when I’m tired. Just not when I have children.
    And that’s what’s been most frustrating about this whole motherhood gig.
    Hope you get some rest soon, V. It’s a long haul but eventually you’ll get there. (We all will) xxx

    • I think you’re right, Grace. There is something about the added responsibilities of parenting and running the family household that saps the energy away faster. Because it’s not just physical tiredness. It’s emotional too. When we can regulate our surrounds and control them, despite tiredness, I think it feels less onerous. When we are tired and also out-of-control of our surrounds, and the little people who have their own wills, it is more draining. I know it’s just a season. Still hard some days though. xx

  6. Oh goodness Veronica you poor thing… I really feel for you.. I’m battling jet jag at the moment and that seems horrendous… but nothing compared to this…. only compounded by a busy job… it must be tough.. not sure i have much valuable advice.. only to try and get that leisure time and not sweat the small stuff.. easier said than done I bet… keep strong … thinking of you xxxxx

  7. yep very sleep deprived here. bub turned 2 this month and still wakes every single night. if it’s not her it’s one of the other 2. musical beds in this house

    • If we had a bigger than double bed in our bedroom, I suspect both girls would be asleep with us too, Steff. I think we all do what works though it’s easier to roll with the punches some days than others. Pick and choose our battles has never been more true for me than since becoming a parent!

  8. I hear you loud and clear. I’d forgotten how crazy it is with work and small children but your words reminded me. I think you’re entitled to a few minor escapee moments!

    • Thanks, Carli. I know I need to grab them when I can, especially after feeling a bit suffocated with a clingy toddler who’s been sick on and off for about two months. I think a personal re-grouping is in order.

      P.S: I wish I could figure out why your messages always appear to need moderation. It’s not a standard setting on my blog.

  9. There’s nothing quite like the insane sleep deprivation that comes with motherhood, is there? I think I was quite lucky with my lot (so far!) – The first year I didn’t work, so the feeds and resettling wasn’t too bad, and her routine wasn’t too extreme. Since then Pebble wakes most nights, and I guess we take the easy road by pulling her into bed with us. Luckily it’s ususally late-ish – 3am or 4am ……..or 5.40am as is the case right now, I can hear Paul picking her up through the baby monitor…. there goes my bloggy break!

    • I think the easy road is the road most travelled by parents, Kylie. Getting through, enduring, surviving, is essential. I have my days where I fight it all and it never ends well. The days I just let go usually turn out better but it’s not always an easy decision despite the logic!

  10. I read this post a few days ago on my phone, and I don’t like commenting on my phone, sorry it’s taken me this long to get back! All I can say is I know. I know the desperate tiredness. I know the crazed stressing out about little things like clutter and unfolded washing. I don’t cope with the noise, the incessant talking. I honestly don’t know how you are working. My two days are a relief, but I couldn’t concentrate for much more.
    And it is harder to think through personality issues and rationalise emotions and thoughts when you can’t think straight and little voices keep interrupting your thoughts anyway. It’s so HARD.
    I can’t think of anything helpful to say other than, this too shall pass. We will get there. xx

    • Lee, sometimes work is a relief, or rather, a distraction from everything else. But given I’m squeezing the 5 days into 4, it’s not really a comfortable distraction but rather adding to the pressure. I know I could tackle everything with a calmer approach (meditation maybe???) but I also need to lower my expectations….. a lot! I miss my girls at while I’m work but unless I be more chilled, I know I’d be stir-crazy if I was at home all day as a SAHM too. I know it’s a season. Just not sure how long or short! xx

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