The A to Z of Sleep-Deprived Parenting


A glossary of parenting terms you won’t find in the baby books…

Arm Roll & Release: The nerve-wracking manoeuvre used by parents in order to remove their arm from under a sleeping baby.

Booby-trapped: Term used to describe being stuck breastfeeding when you have a pressing engagement (or really need a wee).

Baby-trapped: Term used to describe being stuck under a sleeping baby who will wake up if you even think about moving her. You have even considered chewing off your own arm as an alternative to moving it from under your sleeping child.

Brulti-Tasking: The ability to breastfeed your baby and perform several other tasks at the same time.

Cot transfer: The terrifying moment when a parent has to place a sleeping baby in her cot. Often takes around 6 – 10 attempts.

Co- no sleeping: A baby-sleep technique more commonly known as Sod, It Just Let Her Sleep In Our Bed.

Coffee: An essential staple in the diet of tired parents.

Dream Crasher: A baby or young child who wakes up at the exact moment their parent falls asleep.


A Dream Crasher

Drowsy but awake: The quickest way to piss off a tired baby.

Expert baby advice books: Useful for propping up one side of the baby’s cot when they have a cold. Can also help to make you aware of all things that you are doing wrong.

For Fuck’s Sake: A common phrase regularly uttered under the breath of the sleep-deprived parent.

Good night’s sleep: Four hours in bed.

Go_the_fuck_to_sleepGo The Fuck To Sleep:
A sentence frequently used by parents between the hours of 9pm and 9am.

Hitting the wall: The point at which a parent believes they are too tired to go on any more. Running away or jumping out of the window are often considered but curling up on the bathroom floor and crying is usually opted for. Commonly occurs at 4am.

I am too tired to sleep: Mumsomnia is what happens to a mother on the rare occasion their baby actually goes to sleep.

Justification: Something exhausted parents feel the need to do on a daily basis. ‘Oh, I don’t
usually have the TV on all morning but we had a really bad night.’
   ‘I don’t normally drink wine on a week night but I have had a stressful day.‘ Or ‘Sorry about the mess, I was up all night with the baby.’   STOP THIS NOW. If you are out of bed and the baby is in once piece then you are doing ok!

Kicking Arse: You haven’t slept in three days, you have a migraine and you can’t remember when you last ate something. But you get up, get dressed and get on with it. Because becoming a parent gives you the ability to totally kick arse!

Lie Down And Pretend To Be Asleep No Matter What: Popular sleep method where a parent lies down next to their baby and fakes slumber in order to trick him/her into eventually falling asleep. It is not for the faint-hearted. Many parents have reported injuries such as scratched eyelids, bitten noses or bruises to the ribs.


When a mother finally snaps

Mumtrum: When a mother finally snaps. Common causes are toddlers, running out of coffee and dinner time.

Mantrum: When a father finally snaps. Common causes are toddlers breaking their stuff, toddlers hiding their stuff and bed time.

Multi-Halftasking: Occurs when tasks are left incomplete after a sleep-deprived parent attempts to do more than one thing at a time.

No-sleep solutions: Fail proof solutions to the everyday problems faced by sleep-deprived parents. Include coffee, wine and grandparents.

Overlooking: A technique used by many parents who are too tired to do ‘stuff’. Instead of dealing with that bank problem, going to the shop for toilet paper or washing some clothes – they will simply ‘overlook’ the situation until the moment it becomes imperative that it is dealt with (usually, when you have used all the baby wipes, kitchen rolls, socks, cotton wool and sanitary towels to wipe bums, so you are forced to call the bank, get some money and venture out for loo roll in snot-encrusted jeans).

Pyjamas: A must-have for every sleep-deprived parent. Comfortable, versatile and if worn all day you are spared the effort of getting ready for bed.   #notskinnyjeansselfie

Quiet please: The unwritten rule that must be adhered to when entering the home of a sleeping baby.

Risk assessment: Once you have finally got the baby to sleep every Potential Threat To The Peace needs to be assessed as a Baby Waking Risk.

A relaxing evening bath? Risks: Running tap, splashing, extractor fan. HIGH RISK.

A takeaway? Risks: Opening and closing the front door, the delivery person may have a loud voice. HIGH RISK.

Using the toilet?  Risks: Chain flushing, light switch that activates fan: LOW RISK (If risk-taker ensures they go in the dark and do NOT flush.

Sleep Thief: A baby or young child who will not go to sleep or stay asleep simply because she/he does  not want to be asleep. These infants spit in the eye of sleep-training and would cause Supernanny to throw herself off the naughty step.

Stick a tit in it: A night weaning method popular with the sleepless mother.

Teething: Term used to describe a baby who is being a pain in the arse.

Under a baby: The place the parents of a sleep-hating baby spend most of their time.

Vacant: The look in a sleep-deprived parent’s eyes when you talk to them about politics/X Factor or what they are doing next week.


4pm. When good kids turn bad.

Witching hour: Usually takes place between 4-6pm: The time of day when your kids turn into dicks for no apparent reason.

Walk of shame: When a parent returns to the living room with the baby after failing to get him/her to sleep.

Wine o clock: The blissful moment when the kids are all finally asleep.

X: Damn you letter X. I am too tired to think of an X.

Yawning: How sleep-deprived parents communicate with each other.

Zen: The feeling a parent gets directly after drinking the first coffee of the day.


Check out my book that contains no baby sleep advice whatsoever… Just lots of laughs and stories about surviving the sleepless nights from someone who has been there!

Sleep Is For The Weak: How To Survive When Your Baby Won’t Go The FzZk To Sleep at book shops or on Amazon now!!

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20 thoughts on “The A to Z of Sleep-Deprived Parenting

  1. the only X i can think of is the 600 plus “X” I’ve marked on the calenders until the day my little sleep thief “sleeps through” (starting to think this is just an urban myth and doesn’t really happen). As always, made me laugh out loud and feel not alone.

    My favourite was “Witching hour: Usually takes place between 4-6pm: The time of day when your kids turn into dicks for no apparent reason”. Husband often misses this time and on the days he does witness it is bewildered… whereas I now just know what time it is.. must get a battery for my watch.. its only been flat for a year and half……

    • Ha ha thank you. I dread witching hour with every fibre of my being. From the moment I start cooking dinner right through until I am scraping it off the floor it us utter hell. Husband us usually walks in just as it is over so I swear he thinks I exaggerate!

  2. If we can substitute ‘X’ for a kiss as we do in text speak then my toddler has that covered. She just came in to give me my eleventh “last goodnight kiss” of the evening… So far. When they want something they want it NOW but when they DON’T want something (i.e. to go to bed) they are master procastinators! Otherwise I will just have to do like they do at school with the difficult letters and suggest one that ends with the letter ‘X’. Sex. As in the end of it. Not just the word but the entire concept of it – at least until they are old enough to go out all night clubbing! 😛 xxxx

    • Ha brilliant..Oh god mine are at their procrastinating cutest at bed time. ‘Mummy , you are my best friend. Can you lie down with me?!’
      I can’t believe the actual school can’t think of X words!!

      • It’s true – even cbeebies are at it, they did it with fox the other day. Must be a phonics things because words beginning with X invariably sound like they begin with Z which is kind of anti phonics :-/.

        That’s not procrastination, it’s emotional blackmail lol 🙂 xxxx

        • You lost me at phonics…. Isla starts school in september but I have been teaching her to read the way i was taught.. Better swat up before she starts!!

  3. Love it. The Walk of Shame is so, so accurate! I am a total ‘Overlooker’ – my phone has been broken for 4 months and I have literally today ordered a new sim… it took 50 seconds to do but apparently that was too much for me!

  4. My personal favorites that we actually use:

    Poop-splosion – (see also Poo-pocalypse) When the contents of a baby’s bum end up everywhere except the diaper that is supposed to contain it all.

    Puke – Baby-speak for “I love you.” Commonly directed at the mother.

Feel free to leave a reply..misery loves company.

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