From the minute that tiny babe is out of you, you’ll start hearing about “tired signs”
“Do you know your tired signs?”
“Have you been watching her tired signs?”
“What tired signs has he been showing?”
“Won’t somebody think of the TIRED SIGNS!”
Everybody is so bloody preoccupied with the baby’s tired signs that they completely ignore the mother who’s standing there wearing gumboots and a shower cap, brushing her teeth with a candle and obsessively staring at her jerking infant and trying to decide if the baby is tired or if he’s trying to communicate through modern dance.
So, for your reference, here’s a handy guide to a mother’s tired signs:
If you spot a mother stifling a yawn, it’s likely she’s had a night of broken sleep and she’s pretty tired. She’s going to need plenty of caffeine to survive the day.
WHAT TO DO: Hand mum a coffee and have a laugh about the good old days when you used to wake up when you’d had enough sleep. Remember that? Jolly good fun.
NOTE: It’s safe to assume that every mother is this tired as a default. If she is not this tired she has perfect children. Or she’s on the good drugs. Either way, good on her.
If you are trying to talk to a mother and she is giving you the wide-eyed fake smile, it’s likely she is very tired. She thinks if she opens her eyes really wide she might trick herself into feeling awake. She’s so tired she doesn’t realise she looks like an idiot.
WHAT TO DO: Please do not be offended if you need to repeat yourself eight times before she responds with a noncommittal, “Mmmm”. She’s trying her very best to look interested in you and it’s drawing precious energy away from her brain. Be patient.
Mum has had a rough night and she’s in a shit mood. There’s nothing more to say. She hates life today. Nothing will fix it except a four hour nap. Fussing and whining can be expected.
WHAT TO DO: If a nap is not possible because she has small children, it’s a great idea to allow her some quiet time. She might like to lie on the couch while the kids play silently near by. If her children are normal, this will not be possible, so turn the TV on. Either way, it’s best to pretend the bitch face is not happening. I repeat, DO NOT ENGAGE.
NOTE: The bitch face is not necessarily directed at you. Mother Teresa would cop a bit of attitude if she walked in the door right now. Although she probably deserves it because WE GET IT TESS, YOU’RE PERFECT. I’M TRYING, OK?
Probably best not to provoke her though because do you even know how much effort it takes to be pleasant? Seriously, what makes you think I care about the awesome deal you got on mince beef when all I want to do is curl up in the boot of my car and sleep for 8 days. Stop being so fucking selfish and leave me alone.
When a baby starts to grizzle, it’s time to put her to bed. When a mummy starts to grizzle, it’s best to step back and let her go. She hates anyone and everyone who looks at her, speaks to her or drives near her. This may be coupled with jerky movements and incoherent screeching.
It is likely she will be shovelling old easter eggs into her mouth because she needs sugar like she needs air and she doesn’t even care if the chocolate is all chalky and white. STOP STARING AT ME.
WHAT TO DO: Do not try to reason with her or argue with her and for the love of God, DO NOT tell her to calm down or relax. I honestly have no sympathy for you if you think this is ok to do. You deserve everything you get.
If you value the skin on your face, do not talk about how much sleep you got last night.
NOTE: There is a very real possibility this mother will not be able to sleep once she lies down because she is so pissed off at life that her brain won’t stop. This is called mumsomnia and it is a bitch.
As we all know, crying = overtired. A crying mother has tipped over into self pity and the world is her enemy.
That sad ad on TV? Tears.
Child taking toast from her plate? Sobbing.
Poonami just as she’s walking out the door? Whimpering.
Trying to unlock the car but keep accidentally hitting the lock button? Wailing. And swearing.
It’s likely her children are still in their pyjamas, sitting in the kitchen sink eating Tim Tams for lunch because she just can’t be stuffed telling them not to.
WHAT TO DO: Don’t you dare put your hand on her shoulder and ask if she’s ok because being nice to her will bring her undone completely. Ignore the tears in her eyes and keep talking to her like she’s completely sane.
This shell of a woman is one slow blink away from unconsciousness. She cannot respond to your questions. She can’t even muster the energy to cry. She can only stare into space. All her energy is being poured into remaining upright and keeping her eyes somewhere near the children in the hopes she may be able to react before they set fire to something.
Don’t take it personally if she shows no enthusiasm for anything you are saying. If she’s making eye contact you should take this as a sign of intense interest, I swear. She just has no energy to arrange the rest of her face in a socially acceptable fashion. The slack jaw and soulless eyes are no reflection on you or your pithy repartee. It’s simply an inability to move her face in any pleasing way. You understand.
She may have once been a witty and dazzling woman who hung on your every word. That woman is dead. She has been replaced by a barely animated corpse whose only function in life is to stop her children killing themselves.
WHAT TO DO: Do not let her operate heavy machinery and do not ask her to make important decisions. Actually, don’t ask her to make any decisions. The only thing to do is put this woman to bed. Then remove the laundry from the dishwasher and dirty dishes from the fridge. Bless her heart, at least she tried.
How tired are you right now?
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