Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The mummy ladder of desperation

with 6 comments

I had a play date today with a mum who has a child the same age as DS (note, the mums had the play date, not the children). We saw a lot of each other last summer, when we were both suffering our boys waking ridiculously early thanks to the sun rising at 5am. I have memories of meeting my friend in coffee shops throughout August, both of us hollow-eyed and desperate, as we exchanged details on whose son had woken the earliest, aka how knackered we each were.

Some mums have been so high up the mummy ladder of desperation for so long  they can barely remember the flowers down below. Hugs, ladies.

Some mums have been so high up the mummy ladder of desperation for so long they can barely remember the flowers down below. Hugs, ladies.



Anyway, today I asked how she was and she said something I think every mum of small children will relate to: “A little less desperate, thanks.”

And then, over a cup of tea and some chocolate shortbread, we devised the following scale of mummy desperation:

Top rung of desperation ladder: Child is either not sleeping or is waking way too early – and by that I mean 4.45am onwards. Mummy is gaunt, hollow-eyed, slightly manic, talking too fast, laughing too much and quickly conks out after one glass of wine. She has to pinch herself to stay awake on Al Khail Rd.

Middle rung of desperation ladder: Child is either waking only one or two times in the night or is waking for good after 5.30am. Mummy is knackered and trowels on the under-eye concealer and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm but, with two coffees, a good handbag and a fair wind, can convince others that she’s perfectly sane and not about to collapse, sobbing with exhaustion, onto her chocolate croissant.

Bottom rung of desperation ladder: Child sleeps through the night at least 5 nights out of 7, or wakes consistently after 6am. Mummy, although still chronically knackered and bearing battle scars from being on the higher rungs of the desperation ladder, feels like she’s taken amphetamines – she is invincible, she is unstoppable, she is Beyonce on stilts. She sees a hint of the possibility of having a life once more: Hobbies, a social life, maybe even some work. (It’s a beautiful thing but I’m sorry to say it doesn’t last long. I don’t think you’re home and dry till the child’s turned five.)

Happy days.


6 Responses

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  1. lol…it only gets worse when they get to be tweens and criticize your hairstyle, dress sense and taste in music!! on the upside when they become teens you can’t get them out of bed before mid-day

    cocktails at naptime

    January 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    • Oh god, I already get that from DD and she is only 7. Looking forward to the midday waking thing, though…. 🙂


      January 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm

  2. Right about the time you think you are going to get to start sleeping in, your teenager starts to stay out at night. You then stay awake waiting for them to come home. It’s never ending!!

  3. This is so accurate! I’ve been stuck in limbo on the middle rung, so have forgotten what a good night’s sleep is.


    January 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    • Me too – Groundhog Day on the middle rung. Cheers!! xox


      January 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

  4. Really enjoyed this post! As my wise mum said, once you have kids, you never sleep well! Seems if it’s not pre-dawn wake up calls with bouncing babies, it’s waiting to hear them turn the key in the door after a night out……

    Dubai Mum

    January 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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