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Confessions of a Grumpy Mother

A word on the title of this column. I am grumpy, and probably always have been, but four years of almost perpetual sleep deprivation have injected grumpiness deep into my bones to such an extent I have no memory of being wide awake. Unfortunately my mother does all too well. Apparently I was a frequent-waking devil baby too. She took me to the sweet old-school family doctor who gave me a lollipop and her some blue medicine, which knocked me out. Sadly, new-school doctors shy away from dishing out sleeping draughts for infants.

Those in the club of red-eyed, grey-skinned parents who have a child who has never slept well, know the devastating impact this has on your life and relationship. The evening begins at 5pm. You snap the heads off people who call after 9pm, and yawn continuously at friendly guests who don’t seem to realise we can’t make it past 9.30pm and still speak coherent sentences.

The way we have ‘coped’ (and I use the term in its loosest sense) is by doing nights in shifts, so we’ve have lost a sense of ourselves as a couple. We’re just doing a parental sleep/childcare relay where the baton gets dropped if any of us are ill.

Yet another couple I know in Lewes with children have split up this week. Before having a child, I used to be amazed when parents of small children split up. Now I’m always impressed when couples manage to stay together. And even go on to have other children. That means they still have sex. Now that’s impressive.

Alarm bells: sleep deprivation is no good for your sex life