A day in the mind of a sleep deprived parent.

5:00am-6:00am: Wake up.

WTF?! You only just shut your eyes! Between the crying, the feeding, the re-settling and whatever the older kid’s problem was, you’ve literally had about an hour of (broken) sleep. Today is going to be long, my friend.

6:30am: ‘Who are these small people and why do they keep asking me for food?’

Put the kettle on and know that sweet, sweet relief will soon be pulsing through your veins. You can do this. You feel like roadkill but you. Can. Do. This.

Supply some sort of breakfast for the small humans and enjoy the left over pieces for yourself, you lucky devil.

7:00am: Give up asking the kids to eat breakfast at an actual table and promise yourself to teach them manners at some point. Your coffee is now cold, by the way. Drink it, it’s all you have time for.

8:00am: Dress the children. As your eyes no longer focus properly you’ll likely dress your daughter in your husband's clothes, you son in your daughter's clothes and the baby in that 'pimps and prostitutes' fancy dress costume that your sister made you wear to her 21st. As long as everyone has clean underwear on, you’re winning in my books.

Try and throw clothes on your own body. This will be done with children hanging off your appendages and constant background whinging (the baby is tired from being up all night, you know). 

Jacqui's children. Image supplied.

Resort to the television while you locate something that isn’t stained in food or baby spew. Failing that, remove any obvious marks with a baby wipe. You’ve done your best, tiger. Just tell everyone that it’s a new look you’re trying out- homeless, dishevelled mess. And you lady, are rocking it.

Restrain everyone in the car and make your way to various daily activities. It’s possible that you’ll drop the 7-year-old off at daycare and try and convince school to mind your 2-year-old for the day, so take a minute to reprogram your brain before pulling out of the driveway. Some people are annoying sticklers for the rules.

Once everyone is safely being looked after by other people, it’s time to adult.

Here’s how this should go. Coffee, coffee, everyone shut up, coffee.

Once sufficiently caffeinated, try and smile at the smug bastards strolling in with a solid eight hours under their belt. It’s not their fault you feel like a corpse. You don’t have to smile at the ones who have voluntarily gone to the gym before work though. They’re just showing off.

During the day, try and type words on the glowing box thing. It’s what you’re there for.

You’ll also probably have to interact with other humans. Try and time these conversations with coffee consumption. That way, you’re much more likely to keep up with workmates who’s brains are operating at a much higher capacity than yours. Think of it as parenting performance enhancement. It’s not frowned upon in this sport.

Mid-morning someone will stop you in the kitchen to let you know that your shirt is inside out.


Around midday, you’ll need to eat. Enjoy that Vegemite sandwich cut into the shape of an elephant (no crusts). Your son is no doubt thoroughly disappointed with his low-cal mason jar salad you accidentally packed for him instead of you. F-U Pinterest. It seemed like a good idea when you were endlessly rocking the baby at some ungodly hour.

The afternoon is when the fun really starts. Remember coffee? Yeah, get more of that.

If needed, prop yourself up at your desk using whatever you can find laying around the office. It could be books, a broom stick, hell- even that ancient guy from accounts can be used as a stabilising device if you’re desperate.

Respond to work related emails but remember to check your correspondence thoroughly. It’s likely that your brain will kick in to ‘low power’ mode and you’ll start typing out the words to whatever friggin' lullaby you were signing to your non-sleeping child at 3am.

5:00pm: You’ve made it through another day. Congratulations to you!

A few co-workers have mentally noted that you seem to stare a lot into thin air and will probably avoid you from now on. Other parents will just see the look of exhaustion in your eyes. Consider setting up a staring corner in the office where you can all just go and sit, sleeping with your eyes open. Either that, or elect someone to be the look out and stay awake while other sleep deprived mums and dads try and catch a few before the impending night shift.

Leave the office and collect your children. Try and remember which ones are yours. Or don’t- just look after the ones you take home and return them fed in the morning. They’re all the same.

6:00pm: Stop at the grocery store with your children and negotiate the gauntlet of no energy/need to provide dinner to overtired kids. Find something resembling food with nutritional value and head to the checkout. Stare blankly at the 15-year-old checkout girl as she stares blankly at you holding out your driver's licence against the pay wave terminal. Give no sh*ts that it takes you almost three whole minutes to work out why a receipt is not being printed.

7:30pm: Feed children. Have your partner feed you in much the same fashion as the baby given that your body is starting to shut down unnecessary functions just to cope. Just like the infant, you’ll have food all over your face. It’s easier if you just eat puree mush too now, seeing as though chewing will use up much needed energy stores.

9:00pm: Once all children are in bed, head to the bathroom for a shower. Realise that you’ve turned the bath on and instantly poured Peppa Pug bubble bath in. Turn bath off and stand naked in the shower wondering why no water is coming out. Turn shower on.

10:00pm: Sit on the couch and stare at the television, which is off. Prepare yourself for the long journey to the other side of the room for the remote. “Wahhhhhhhhh!!!!” Nightshift has started.

What's the craziest thing you've done while sleep deprived?