As a mom to three, I've searched and searched for the best ways to get my darlings to sleep and to occasionally get more than a cat nap myself. I have had no luck. So I have decided to stop fighting. I am now ignoring all articles that tell me I need at least eight hours of sleep a day to look my best. I'm embracing the haggard look.
Want to join me? Do you think you might look better with dark circles and puffy bags under your eyes teamed with a sallow complexion?
Have no fear. I’m here to give you some tried-and-true tips for capitalizing on your lack of sleep. Follow my advice, and you too can achieve that harried look and attitude of a mom on the edge. Healthy and well-rested is so yesterday.
1.) Have children. One child can do it, but if you’re really going for the too-exhausted-to-stand-upright look, have at least three.
2.) The kids should feel free to sneak in your bed at all hours of the night. If you’re not woken up with at least one of your kids’ feet on your face or a little arm wedged under your ribs, you’re not doing it right.
3.) Keep your office in your bedroom. Your computer should call to you in the middle of the night, with emails that need to be answered and a blog that needs updating while everyone is tucked safely in bed. This will ensure that you will be completely shot by breakfast. You may even get a headache. Doesn’t everyone know that nothing is sexier than a tired, haggard, cranky woman with a headache? You’ll be the envy of every mother at the PTA meeting, school drop-off lane, or toddler gym class.
4.) Teach your children that you’re at their beck-and-call at all hours of the night. If you have gone a week without one of your children asking you to make scrambled eggs and bacon or asking if they could build a rocket ship in the basement at 3:00 am, you’re really at risk of looking well rested.
5.) If you should decide to ever lock your door in order to have a little private time with your mate, or just sleep uninterrupted for more than two hours, make sure you have the type of kids who are willing to camp out by the door for at least two hours. If they are clever enough to sing 10 versions of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” or say things like, “But mom you are my best friend” and “Let me in. I can’t hack sleeping on my own tonight,” you’re golden.
6.) Drink coffee. All. Day. Long. Here’s a special tip: Go to Starbucks and get a grande with three shots of espresso. It’s highly recommended if you need to clean out your closets and fridge at 3:00 am.
7.) Send your kids to school or daycare. This will ensure that they will get sick and you will be woken up by a little one with a fever or projectile vomiting. This is really essential. Seeing your child sick and in pain will add more than a little stress to your exhaustion. You’ll feel so helpless and sad for your child that you are sure to have an extra layer of sluggishness.
Follow one or two of these tips, and you’re sure to look a little bleary eyed.To achieve the maximum effect of weary-and-shattered beauty, you must follow all of these steps. This task isn’t for the faint of heart.
After practicing these tips for 16 years, my look is so haggard and exhausted that any day I expect Vogue to schedule me for a cover shot.
A version of this essay was previously published on Kathy's site, My dishwasher's possessed!