How to Sleep Like a Parent: The 7 Hilarious Types of Bedtime Parents

Remember the time before we had kids when we would feel tired after a busy day? We’d brush our teeth, fluff our pillow and head to dreamland for a blissful, uninterrupted 8 hours.

Then we’d wake up in the same bed, most likely in a similar position to when we feel asleep and feel, well, refreshed.

And then we had kids. We are faced with a parenting decision that we didn’t know was coming – what kind of sleep parent am I going to be?

We all want the same thing – a blissful night’s sleep. But getting it? Well, that’s a whole other story. A story most likely filled with bed-hopping, bruises and bribes.

So, without further ado, allow us to introduce you to the different bedtime parents we all turn into when the lights go out. Which one are you?

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‘Just for Tonight’ Jess

Okay, fine, You can sleep in our bed. Just for tonight. 

Oh, Jess. We BOTH know this isn’t true. This is the lie Jess tells herself when she’s entered a certain circle of sleep hell. She’s all outta f*cks to give and she just wants to sleep.

woman in bed, weekend plans

Jess usually arrives at this stage after losing count of how many times she’s walked the kids back to their rooms or given in to their many demands for water, cuddles, answers to the world’s most unanswerable questions, etc.

‘Just for Tonight’ Jess hates children in her bed. But she hates answering questions like, ‘what does the colour blue smell like?’ more. We feel you, Jess.

Newbie Nell 

Nell is in a unique position because her child is asleep. It’s Nell that’s not.

Instead, she’s tiptoeing into the room to check bub is breathing or checking the monitor every seven seconds. On the off-chance she does fall asleep, she’s most likely woken up in a panic with a massive milk boob and a sense of astonishment that she actually fell asleep for longer than 17 minutes at a time.

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You can spot Nell by the massive bags under her eyes and the constant questioning as to whether anyone else ‘hears a baby crying’.

Nell is not crazy. She’s just going through a thing right now. Called ‘having a newborn.’ It goes away. Well, sometimes.

Musical Bed Mel

Musical bed Mels is the athlete of the sleeping world. Mel is the one who is walking back and forth, from one bed to another, several times a night, clocking extra steps while the rest of us snooze.

She faces extreme conditions and multiple injuries as she dodges LEGO bricks left on the floor, chairs that weren’t pushed in after dinner and squeaky toys that wake the rest of the house, all in the dark.

You may be a Mel if you end up crashing from physical exertion and stubbed toes in whatever bed is closest. 90% of the time it’s a toddler bed. 100% of the time you will wake up confused and with a foot in their face.

Co-Sleeping Cate 

We’re not here to start a debate on co-sleeping so don’t even bother messaging me complaining about how I’m promoting co-sleeping. #GoAwayKaren.

The truth is, some parents co-sleep. Some because they enjoy it, others because they enjoy sleep and know the only way their little kids will sleep is beside them.

co-sleeping Peta Tuck
Image via Peta Tuck

If you’re into this co-sleeping world, then you’re probably a Cate. You also probably started with a co-sleeping bassinet, perhaps a cot beside the bed.

Sure, in theory, the baby would stay in their own zone the whole night, but in reality, Cate has probably woken up with a baby attached to her nipple in her bed more times than she can count.

As Cate’s child graduates from the boob life, Cate has upgraded her queen to a king, added a single bed on the side, and has now transformed the bedroom into a ginormous family bed of comfort with 15 pillows and space for ALL the stuffed animals, in the event she ends up with extra little humans in her bed.

Which, let’s be honest, is a regular thing. Cate doesn’t choose the co-sleeping life. It chooses her.

Negotiating Nancy

Nancy is well aware that children are conniving little turds who can’t go past a good bribe. And she uses this to her full advantage at bedtime.

Negotiating Nancy has a whole drawer full of sweets, treats, and rewards just waiting to be claimed, as long as those tiny bedtime ninjas stay in their rooms.

Negotiating Nancy knows some parents are judging her for this tactic. She also knows she’s able to get a full night’s sleep and doesn’t give two shits about whether you think jellybeans for breakfast is a good parenting choice.

Diehard Deb

Deb is not a quitter. Her mission is simple – to get the kids to sleep in their own beds. And this is one mission she won’t fail.

You can spot Deb by her collection of sleep training gadgets. Sleep clocks. Sleep timers. Star projectors. White noise machines. Melatonin machines. Dream catchers. She’s got them ALL.

toddler sitting in bed

Deb does the back and forth numerous times a night, never wavering, never giving up. Hell, she’s even been known to fall asleep on the tile floors in the kitchen to block the kids from sneaking into the big bed. Now that’s dedication.

And finally, Sleep Sorcesses Sue 

This is what we all want. The Holy Grail of Sleep Mastery. Parents in one room. Kids in their own rooms, in their own beds, from sundown to sun up. A bedtime story, a goodnight kiss and cuddle, and an “I’ll see you in the morning”.

Few people have achieved this sorcery. Even fewer before their children turn five. So if you’re Sue, then consider yourself a Parenting Legend. And mix the rest of us some of your sleep potion, will you?

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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