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(Originally published in June 2016)

Sleep deprivation is a central pillar of parenting. Newborns sleep in short spurts and need to be fed whenever they wake up. Older babies sleep better generally, but teething, gas and seemingly unprovoked fussiness turn them into tyrants. When children morph into toddlers, parents often find that the terribleness of the terrible twos extend to the nighttime hours as well. From three years on up, kids can sleep through the night but choose not to just because they’re jerks (or at least it seems like that).

All that lack of sleep strips parents of their higher functioning. To get an idea of the odd behavior baby-fueled exhaustion has brought forth, we asked several parents for groggy tales of woe. From mistakenly swapping hemorrhoid cream for toothpaste to accidentally nuking diapers in the microwave, here are some of the best.*


1. “I used formula in my coffee because I had no milk. And coffee was going to be a critical must for that day.” –Michelle, CT

2. “Our older daughter was probably about six months old when both mister and I came down with food poisoning. Between taking turns in our single bathroom, I had him Google whether food poisoning transferred through breast milk (we had no formula on hand). Turns out it doesn't, the three of us sat on the floor outside the bathroom in the middle of the night alternately nursing/holding our daughter and being sick in the bathroom. #parentingisglamorous

3. “After daughter number two joined the team I must have left three pack ‘n plays and at least one umbrella stroller in the trunks of taxis. At least I remembered the kids, right?” –Liz, NY

4. “I was one month postpartum, and sleeping horribly. The baby never slept, and when he did, he'd wake up with these blood-curdling screams. One morning I woke up and grabbed a diaper, a bottle and a nipple. I found myself cooking the (thankfully clean) diaper in the microwave, and pouring the water I'd somehow gotten in the bottle into the nipple — and all over the floor.” –Brittany, KY

5. “I brushed my teeth with Preparation H the first night home from the hospital. I was so tired I literally didn't know my ass from my head.”  –Lori, CT

6. “I realized I had unlocked a new level of sleep deprivation when son one woke us up because son two took all the covers. I had been sleeping sitting straight up in bed with my shirt pulled up and my boob in my hand to nurse. The baby was asleep in his bassinet, with his pajamas half zipped.”  –Sarah W., CT

7. “I answered the door for a Fedex delivery with my shirt completely unbuttoned. Realized as I was signing and didn't even care enough to apologize.” –Cathy, CT

8. “There was that one time I was just trying to poop and my two year old was banging on the door after she had had me up late. I was about to lose it and instead of screaming, I asked her if she had been trained at Gitmo.” –Dawn, VT

9. “I mostly just put things where they don't belong. Put the milk in the cabinet. Leave my phone or hair clip in the fridge, etc.” –Jessica, CT

10. “I have forgotten to buckle my kids into their car seats, um...a few times. Which isn't, you know, hilarious or anything. Just super A+ parenting!” –Kristin, GA

11. “I walked around half a morning with a lollypop stuck to my coat. On my butt.” –Libby, CT

12. “I've tried to use my desktop like a touch screen. It's not a touchscreen.” –B.J., D.C.

13. “Drove 10 miles in the wrong direction trying to go to work. Work is only 10 miles away.” –Sarah B., CT

*Some quotes have been slightly edited and condensed