Have you ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired? Parenting has so many moments like this. It usually begins by the second trimester for women and some men learn of it by word of mouth after awaking from a full night’s sleep.
By the time children are sleeping through the night, and both parents and children are sleeping routinely in their assigned beds, everyday stress can keep parents tossing and turning for the next 15 years. Then when your children have all graduated, and have moved out of your basement, the aging process and hormones smack you in the groggy noggin to ensure minimal sleep is obtained.
So why is it that having children is taxing on your health? Shouldn’t eating an apple a day and taking two aspirin at sunrise keep you healthy and vibrant? Instead, it appears kids are the culprits, and they’re slowly hitting the nails on our coffins. That’s why you mustn’t let children play with tools.
Even though we love them with every fiber of our beings, parents are hazily rummaging through daily life; unfortunately, that includes having parents on the roads. According to a 2010 news story, “One in every six deadly car crashes results from a fatigue-impaired driver, estimates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s compared to about one in three caused by a drunk driver.” Lack of sleep decreases reaction time and impairs awareness and judgment similarly to drugs and alcohol.
The other night when I was tossing and turning in bed, the comedian and self-acclaimed redneck Jeff Foxworthy came to me in a vision. Thankfully, my husband was sound asleep so he didn’t kick him out because Mr. Foxworthy came up with a Breathalyzer scale for sleeplessness.
▪ If you’ve had the driver in front of you flip you the bird because your forehead kept leaning on the horn, you might be too tired to drive.
▪ If you’ve ever imagined a flock of sheep flying single-file over the red light in front of you, you might be too tired to drive.
▪ If you’re merging on the interstate and you find yourself nestling into the headrest while your seat slowly reclines, you might be too tired to drive.
▪ If you’ve had to turn the A/C on high and blast ‘80s music to redirect the polar pull from your chin to your chest, it could be a sign you’re too tired to drive.
▪ If you realize you’re driving the wrong way on a one-way street and decide to just slow down and turn on your hazard lights, you are too tired to drive.
▪ If you’ve ever started turning left at a light and half way into the intersection don’t know how many turn lanes there were, you might be too tired to drive.
▪ If a mile from your home, people drive up beside you pointing out your gas cap is off or your super-sized grande coffee is on your car roof, you too, might be too tired to drive.
▪ If you are pressing buttons on your car radio, trying to find the “snooze” button, it’s a good sign you are too tired to drive.
▪ And if you have a case of 5-Minute Energy bottles in your glove box just for emergencies, parents, you might be too tired to drive.
Even though people may not make the best decisions when they are exhausted, it’s not a laughing matter. The research proves it and you don’t want to be another statistic. There are better ways to get in the papers.
So when the baby sleeps, don’t think it’s finally time clean the house. Go ahead and sleep. A nap might save your life and seriously, the house will be a mess until the kids move out anyway.
Previously published in The Kansas City Star on March 12, 2016.