People say that becoming a parent is the most rewarding thing they have done. It is also the most exhausting. It is more tiring than an advanced spin class followed by a conversation with an enthusiastic anglican.
I became a dad just over four years ago and have spent all that time chasing sleep harder than Bradley Cooper chases Oscars.
Parenting is a perpetual state on functioning insomnia, where the cause of your sleeplessness is your offspring.
In the early months, as a first time parent, you undergo a form of sleep deprivation that would make even the most-hardened CIA interrogator pass the pillow.
Soon you become an expert in living off 4 hours of broken sleep, often taken in tangled proximity with a little person who has no concern for the natural flow of your limbs circulatory system or the inflated rate card of your osteopath.
So if this sleepless state is such an inevitable part of the parenthood package, what hope do we have?
There are some simple techniques I have developed to help secure some sneaky Z’s, so I felt I should share with you the science and secrets of my sleep.
There is a saying that goes “Let sleeping dogs lie” and it is the same for children. When they sleep, you sleep. Weekends are best for this as I found syncing your kids afternoon nap when you are desk bound at work wont fly with the boss.
Apparently the night is always darkest before the dawn, but why risk having to know this for a fact?To avoid your kids getting out of bed earlier than a breakfast radio host, let them stay up a bit later. Sure Game of Thrones will replace Ben & Holly as their favourite binge watch, but you’ll at least wake at a reasonable hour, instead of one only seen by shift workers.
Invite trusted friends and family to stay the night. What better way for them to repay your hospitality than minding a morning-fresh mini monster?
Why not head off on a long road trip and then convince your life partner to do the driving? You can then drift into an awkward car-sleeping position that makes passing cars think they've seen someone smuggling a dead body.
The best move my wife and I have is the ‘tag’. Like WWF wrestlers crossed with miners, we tag each other into the early morning shifts, allowing the other to get some sort of sleep-in.
The system works because you can select your shift. Take the first then have the reward of sleep at the end, or you can sleep through those early hours and rise at a point that your body finds respectable…even if the dreams you had during that time where nothing of the sort! By the way, does anyone else fantasize about Margot Robbie dressed in a giant popcorn suit, handing out promotional leaflets?