Taking care of a baby is tough. But taking care of a new baby when she has kept you up all night is even tougher.
However, help is at hand.
Here are a few things you should not attempt at any cost if you have been up all night with a baby and three things you should:
1. Leave the house
There are people out there and they might talk to you.
2. Cook anything other than toast
In fact, ditch the toast. Best play it safe and stick to raw toast aka slice of bread (lick butter to taste).
3. Go to playgroup
There will be babies there who ‘sleep through the night’ and ‘self-soothe’ or ‘go down drowsy but awake’ and you might leave feeling bad—it is just not worth it.
Never ever Google ‘can you get some horrible disease from lack of sleep?’ while you are sleep-deprived. This will all end in tears. You’ll survive like 100% of sleep-deprived parents do!
5. Read a parenting book
Unless you hate your baby. In fact, do yourself a favor and avoid all baby books completely. Burn them if possible.
6. Clean the house
I know, I know…it is hard to leave ALL THE MESS JUST SITTING THERE STARING AT YOU. But trust me on this—the mess will not kill you—or even smack you in the face. The baby doesn’t care about the mess. In fact, no one does except you, so stick it in a cupboard and get on with your life.
7. Make plans to do stuff
You won’t remember them. Or you will only remember a minute before you are supposed to go and meet Bunty from NCT group then you have to text and cancel (again) and hate yourself forever.
8. Drive a car
Driving a car while sleep-deprived is like driving a car while drunk. A very bad idea.
9. Do laundry
Not unless you want to do the same load of laundry 15 times. Because you’ll put it in the machine and forget to take it out for three days then you’ll have to put it on again and again and again until you just give up and stop wearing clothes.
10. Talk to your partner
Trust me, when you are this tired, partners can easily blow up. Especially the ones who have been at indulging in a calm, quiet oasis of adult conversation and hot coffee (at work), smugly wee-ing all alone like they are royalty. While you’ve been taking care of a baby and slaving away over a erm...cold bread bag.
11. Find a matching pair of socks
This is a tricky task at the best of times but after you have been up all night, it is near impossible. I have no idea what happens to all the socks in my house but I suspect they are in the same place as the little spoons and the tops of my tupperware.
12. Look at Facebook
It is a fact that exhaustion can make you irritable. It is also a fact (probably) that looking on Facebook can make you irritable, especially when you are licking butter in your pajamas with baby vomit in your hair and everyone else seems to be taking selfies at the coffee shop.
Do you really want to see NCT Bunty boasting about the fact that baby Angel slept for 235 hours? Do you need to hear that Smug Susan from playgroup has checked in to the Big Tesco? Do you really want to be subjected to article after article of ’12 really obvious way to get your baby to sleep that probably won’t work’? No, you do not. So log off, my friend, log off.
13. Beat yourself up for not doing *all the stuff*
Being sleep deprived in charge of a baby is tough. Don't feel guilty if you need a pajama day now and again—you are only human!
Things you SHOULD do if you have been up with a baby all night:
1. Wake up (washing optional)
Although, personally, I found a five-second power shower (while the baby screamed at me) to be the only way I had half a chance of achieving number two.
2. Get coffee
The only way to achieve number three.
3. Don’t break the baby
You’ve got this, mama!
Emily-Jane Clark is the bestselling author of Sleep is for the Weak – How To Survive When Your Baby Won’t Go The F**k to sleep. She was finalist in the Funny Women Awards 2016 and is also writes for Metro UK, Daily Mash, Huffington Post and the New Statesman.