Nine reasons I failed at sleeping while the baby slept

Sleep when the baby sleeps? Sometimes it's not that easy.
Sleep when the baby sleeps? Sometimes it's not that easy. Photo: Getty Images

"Sleep while the baby sleeps!" Heard that piece of advice before? You're not alone. It's one of those well-worn parenting clichés, like "this too shall pass" and "enjoy every moment".

Well, I don't know about you, but I failed spectacularly at sleeping while the baby slept. And there were a number of reasons why …

1. Excessive coffee consumption

The problem with being so sleep deprived your eyeballs hurt is that you drink far too much coffee. And what happens when you drink too much of that delicious caffeinated beverage? Yeah – not a lot of napping, that's for sure. Wired yet still beyond tired. What a combo …

2. The addictive lure of daytime TV

I don't know how exactly, but at some point during the early months of my son's life on earth I became extremely involved in (okay, addicted to) one particular daytime television show. It might have been The Bold and the Beautiful, it might have been The Young and the Restless. To be honest, I have no idea now.

What I do know, however, is that I was utterly hooked on a storyline about a pregnant woman who wasn't 100 per cent sure about the paternity of her baby. The drama! The intrigue! For several months there, knowing the identity of the father was far more important than napping. Despite the fact that I was so tired I could hardly remember my own name, I'd sit down with my Bold or Restless friends and get further sucked in to that scintillating story. #soworthitthough

(Oh and spoiler: the baby wasn't her husband's - gasp!)

3. The unexpected drop-in


You know the drill: the day you decide to give the "baby is asleep, time for a nap" a red hot go is the day you receive the "I'm just around the corner, up for a visit?" text message from a well-meaning friend or relative.

Don't get me wrong, company is lovely. Adult interaction is bonza. But the unexpected pop in? It's the fastest way to reach the top of a new mum's sh*t list – I'll tell you that one for free.

4. I chose sexy time over sleepy time

Look, I'm not saying sleep was sacrificed for sexy time very often. What I am saying, though, is that sometimes a girl has needs, you know? And hey, the opportunities for special time with your significant other can be few and far between when you're a parent.

5. The phantom baby cries

You know what I mean, right? Your baby's been crying all morning but you finally get her down to sleep and you're relishing the sweet sweet sound of silence. You can finally relax.

Except as soon as your head touches that pillow, you hear the baby cry. And cry. And cry. When you get up to investigate, however, bub is sleeping soundly.

You, on the other hand, are not.

(While we're talking phantom baby cries, they also tend to make an appearance during point 8.)

6. My Type A personality chose cleanliness over sleepiness

"Embrace the mess!" they said. "Let perfection go," they told me. And look, that's fine to a point, until you – and bub – have no clean clothes, there are no clean coffee mugs to enable point 1 and, frankly, to enhance the experience of point 2 – and the house is starting to feel a tad claustrophobic. Sometimes you just feel like it's time to do a teensy bit of housework, in spite of the exhaustion. 

7. The interwebs (specifically cat content).

"I'll just quickly check Facebook in bed," I'd say. "Then I'll have a nap for sure."  Forty-five minutes later and I'm watching YouTube's "10 Cutest Kitten Videos of All Time" playlist.

On repeat.

Still awake.


8. I chose to shower instead

As much as I love the scent of Eau de Breast Milk and Eau de Baby Spew, there comes a time when you really just need a shower.

9. My baby was a cat-napper.

This one is 110 per cent not my fault. When you've taken 30 minutes to drift into blissful slumber, only to be woken a mere 15 minutes later, you don't make the same mistake again.

And actually, come to think of it, that probably explains point 2 ...