Doing ridiculous things while tired is essentially a rite of passage for parents. Sleep deprivation and funny sleep deprivation stories are often passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes the funny stories are shared in solidarity with new parents who are deep in the throes of new parent sleep deprivation (one of the worst kinds!). Other times, they’re shared in more of a “Let me tell you what YOU did to ME when you were a baby!” fashion.
Regardless of the intent, while sleep deprivation may be the worst…
Funny sleep deprivation stories are amazing!
Personally, I could fill a book with all the embarrassing and ridiculous things I’ve done under the spell of exhaustion. That book would include “shampooing” with conditioner for an entire week, mistaking a nail polish jar for my 5-Hour Energy, and leaving dinner in the oven for a full week.
Still, I decided to crowd-source and ask other parents:
What is something stupid YOU have done while suffering from parental exhaustion?
(Before I share those hilarious sleep deprivation stories with you, I want to address something. You might notice that the title of this post is 17 funny sleep deprivation stories, while the URL says 13. That’s because originally, I started with 13, but the fantastic stories from parents just kept rolling in. This was in my early website-running days, when I didn’t know any better. NOW I’ve learned not to put numbers in the post URL. Okay, moving on…)
Ladies and gentlemen, the responses did not disappoint! I nearly peed my pants laughing while reading some of the answers. (This is actually not that surprising. I’ve birthed four large babies, so…).
Here are some lessons we can all learn from the suffering of our fellow parents and their rather exceptional achievements in the Exhausted Parents Hall of Fame.
Making dinner every day stinks, but sleep deprivation definitely makes it so much worse.
Katie, a mom of four says,
“I PUT A MEAL IN THE SLOW COOKER AND CHECKED IT MULTIPLE TIMES, EVEN STIRRING IT A FEW TIMES. I WENT TO SERVE IT ABOUT SIX HOURS LATER AND REALIZED I NEVER PLUGGED IN THE SLOW COOKER!”
Katie actually did a little better than poor Niki, a mom of three. At least Katie got the raw food into the crockpot. Niki recollects,
“I LEFT RAW CHICKEN BREASTS ON TOP OF THE FRIDGE FOR GOD KNOWS HOW LONG. WE STARTED TO NOTICE A STRANGE SMELL AND ABOUT 5 DAYS LATER, WE FOUND THE PACKAGE ON THE FRIDGE.”
Unfortunately, breakfast can be just as bad as dinner. Brian, a 39 year-old father of one, reminisces,
“I WENT TO PUT CINNAMON ON MY OATMEAL BUT ACCIDENTALLY USED CRUSHED RED PEPPER INSTEAD. DIDN’T REALIZE IT UNTIL I TOOK A SPOONFUL.”
Yikes—that is quite a wake-up call!
There will be physical suffering (beyond exhaustion).
Anyone who’s witnessed (much less experienced) giving birth can tell you there’s a great deal of physical pain involved, but the pain doesn’t end there…
Heather, a mom of two, explains,
“I WAS NURSING MY DAUGHTER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. DOZING OFF, MY HEAD FELL BACK AND SCHWACKED THE HEADBOARD! IT WAS SO LOUD MY [AIR FORCE] HUSBAND WOKE UP. HE THOUGHT SOMEONE GOT SHOT. I HAD A HUGE HEADACHE FOR DAYS AND DECIDED TO SEE THE DOCTOR. YOU CAN IMAGINE HIS LOOK WHEN I EXPLAINED WHAT HAPPENED.”
(Heather is fine now. Thanks for asking.)
Laura a mom to three, admits,
“I PUT EAR DROPS IN MY EYE THIS MORNING. IT BURNED REALLY BADLY. IT WASN’T UNTIL I PUT MY GLASSES ON THAT I REALIZED I GRABBED THE OTIC DROPS NOT THE OPTIC DROPS.”
Honestly, I think the blame belongs with the manufacturers. What sleep-deprived parent is supposed to discern the difference between the words “Otic” and “Optic”?!
Of course, some of this suffering may belong to the baby–this sleep deprivation is a hell of baby’s own making, after all. A different Laura, also a mom of three, confesses,
“I FED MY YOUNGEST (ONLY A FEW WEEKS OLD) A BOTTLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND TOTALLY FORGOT TO PUT THE LID WITH THE NIPPLE ON. I POURED TWO OUNCES OF WARM FORMULA ALL OVER HIS FACE AND MYSELF.”
If you’ve lost enough sleep, you’re going to misplace things…
Lindsay, a mom of two, remembers,
“WHEN MY SON WAS ABOUT THREE WEEKS OLD, I HAD TO RUN TO THE GROCERY STORE AT NIGHT. I WAS SO EXHAUSTED, THAT I LOST MY HOUSE AND CAR KEYS. MY HUSBAND HAD TO GET THE BABY INTO THE CAR (AT BEDTIME), AND COME TO GET ME. OH, AND WE HAD TO REPLACE THE FOB KEY FOR OUR JEEP THAT I LOST, TO THE TUNE OF $300.”
Suzy, in a sleepless fog, attempted to dress her five children for school, but misplaced her preschooler’s underwear. She says, “I ultimately had to get another pair. I found them later. In the refrigerator.”
Of course, it’d probably be better to make Suzy’s mistake than Erin’s. Erin, a mom of two, says,
“I WAS CHANGING ONE OF THE BOYS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. ZIPPED UP PJS, RESWADDLED, THE WHOLE THING. NEXT TIME HE GOT UP AND I CHANGED HIM, I NOTICED I LEFT THE ORIGINAL DIRTY DIAPER ROLLED UP BEHIND HIM IN HIS PJS.”
Is it really considered “misplacing” if the misplaced object is yourself? Anne recalls,
“I went to use the bathroom and came out later… My husband asked me what I was doing for almost four hours in the bathroom… I must have dozed off!!!”
Who can blame Anne? When you haven’t slept well in a billion years, a nap on the bathroom floor (or possibly the toilet…? She didn’t specify), sounds amazing!
But misplacing things or yourself doesn’t seem so ridiculous when compared to the next two hilarious sleep deprivation stories.
Apparently, if your parental sleep deprivation is bad enough, you might even misplace your kid!
Rebecca explains what happened one summer while she was at a family cookout. She was pushing her two year old on the swings when the new baby exhaustion finally got the better of her. She says,
“I ZONED OUT FOR A SECOND, THEN STARTED FREAKING OUT BECAUSE I DIDN’T SEE HIM IN THE YARD. EVERYONE DIED LAUGHIN WHEN I REALIZED HE WAS STILL IN THE SWING.”
But Mike wins the first-place trophy in this category. His wife shares this hilarious sleep deprivation story from the week they brought home their third child,
“THE BABY HAD BEEN UP FOR HOURS AND I WOKE MY HUSBAND UP TO TELL HIM THAT I NEEDED A LITTLE SLEEP, SO HE NEEDED TO TAKE HER. HE GOT UP, PUT ON A HOODIE AND LEFT THE ROOM. I WAITED A FEW MINUTES BUT HE DIDN’T COME BACK SO I TOOK THE BABY AND WENT TO SEE WHERE HE WENT. I FOUND HIM IN HER ROOM, SITTING IN THE ROCKER, ROCKING BY HIMSELF. WHEN I ASKED HIM IF HE FORGOT SOMETHING, HE SAID ‘NO.’ I THEN ASKED HIM WHERE THE BABY WAS AND HE SNAPPED OUT OF IT AND REALIZED HE HAD FORGOTTEN HER!”
Anything you say when suffering from sleep deprivation should NOT be used against you.
There are plenty of times for important conversations with your partner, but deep in the throes of sleepless weeks or months is not one of them. Exhausted parents should get a free-pass for any absurdities their lips may utter.
Cassie, a mom of two, says,
“I RECALL A 3AM BREASTFEEDING SESSION WHERE MY HUSBAND HAD BROUGHT THE BABY INTO OUR ROOM TO NURSE (WHILE I WAS STILL ASLEEP) AND I WOKE UP SAYING, ‘AWW, HOW OLD IS SHE? WHAT’S HER NAME?’ I REALLY DO NOT MISS THOSE DAYS OF EXTREME SLEEP DEPRIVATION.”
It’s unclear whether this is better or worse than Mary Frances’ story. Mary Frances explains,
“WHEN MY YOUNGEST WAS ABOUT SIX WEEKS OLD, I WAS HAVING A DREAM THAT I HAD TWINS. WHILE STILL ASLEEP, I PICKED THE BABY UP FROM THE BASSINET, THINKING SHE WAS THE OTHER TWIN, WALKED DOWN TO THE KITCHEN, AND ASKED MY HUSBAND, ‘WHERE’S THE [OTHER] BABY?’ HE WAS ALL, ‘UMMM, YOU’RE HOLDING HER….?’ THAT WAS A LOW POINT.”
Danielle, a mom of actual twins, was changing a late-night blowout with poop allllllll over her baby boy’s front. This prompted a serious birds-and-bees inquiry to her husband:
Danielle: “Does this ever happen to you?”
Hubby, confused: “What?”
Danielle: “Do you ever get poop all over your penis?”
Hubby, still confused: “Well, Danielle, I don’t typically poop in my pants, so…….”
(Insert face-palm emoji here.)
Of course, it’s not just the things you say. It’s also the things you don’t (or perhaps CAN’T) say while in a sleepless fog.
“My second is 7 weeks old. My 2.5 year old was singing the alphabet in the car. I couldn’t remember what came after ‘T’! I had to start over from the beginning TWICE before I remembered ‘U’.”
If you’re a new parent, the good news is that the sleep deprivation of the early years is temporary. It feels like it will last forever, but it doesn’t.
The bad news, I’m told, is that when your kids hit the teen years, you can look forward to the sleepless nights starting all over again, albeit for different reasons. You may want to begin stockpiling (even more) coffee now.
This article initially ran on That’s Inappropriate/Filter-Free Parents. and the comments were even BETTER than some of the stories initially shared in the post.
I’ve added two of my favorite “bonus” funny sleep deprivation stories below.
But first, let me preface these stories with a reminder. In case you’ve never had a new baby or it’s been a while, new parents’ sleep deprivation can be so, SO intense.
While some people give birth to naturally great sleepers, many other babies hate sleep and are on a mission to do as little of it as possible for as long as possible. One study found that sleep deprivation in mothers, especially, continued for a full six years after the birth of a new baby (woof!).
I say this because when the story first ran, a few random strangers on the Facebook page accused some of the parents of lying for attention. First, that would be super weird. Second, I don’t have any difficulty believing any of these sleep deprivation stories because, as they say — been there, done that!
Anyhoo, here are two of my favorite additional sleep deprivation stories that were shared.
First, from Sarah,
I went to my car in the parking lot and stood there. I had trouble opening the car with my remote lock (as in, it wouldn’t work). Weird. Tried my key, but it also wouldn’t work, so I went around to the unlocked passenger door and crawled into the car that way. I sat down and tried to start the car, but it wouldn’t start. Sitting there, baffled, I tried again and again until THE MAN WHO OWNED THE CAR SHOWED UP. I was parked one row over.
And the second bonus story, from Nicole,
My mom watched the baby for a few hours so I could rest and get some things done. Woke up to my husband calling on his way home from work. I must have slept a little too soundly because I asked him to swing by and pick up the baby from my mom’s on his way. I went back to sleep and woke up to him calling me from my mom’s and telling me she wasn’t home. Right, she wasn’t home because she was watching the baby for me… at our house. She was at our house the entire time.
A big thank you to all the parents who shared their hilarious sleep deprivation stories for our amusement!
What’s something ridiculous you have done while sleep-deprived? Drop your “favorite” memory in the comments!
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