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Comic relief: Patty Sullivan on the Zombiemoms

It started out innocently enough. I had a newborn who seemed a little sick, so, on the advice of my (genius) husband, I turned to Twitter for some advice from other new Moms. Little did I know this would eventually turn into a zombie family! I’m talking about the community of sleep-deprived parents (mostly moms, but yes, there are dads, too) affectionately known as the Zombie-Moms. Okay, so we might not have our own TV show on AMC, but ZombieMoms have a lot of similarities to TV’s “Walking Dead”.

First, much like the meandering corpses on TV, we ZombieMoms can often be found wandering around directionless. Maybe we’re trying to remember where we left our cup of coffee (the cupboard of course), or perhaps we seem to be aimlessly dragging ourselves in and out of the house at least a dozen times (because we forgot something… again!). Whatever the reason for our lethargic pace, cut us some slack! I guarantee you we’re only operating on about four hours of sleep… every night… for the last week, or month or more.

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture you know.

On the subject of stumbling around, let’s talk about that tell-tale “walk”. Just like the ‘Walkers’, the ZombieMoms gait is reminiscent of a drunken patron exiting the bar after last call! Just like the Walkers, there’s people under all that ZombieMom mess. Or we used to be people… sometimes I don’t know anymore.

The next similarity to our TV counterparts is our appearance. There’s the eyes – glassed over, bloodshot, pupils dilated – it ain’t pretty. The skin … okay, maybe ours isn’t peeling off, but the dark circles under our eyes and the pale shade that could be likened to Casper is a dead giveaway. And how about the clothes? Instead of being covered in blood and bits of body parts, ours have numerous stains from a variety of other body fluids – milk (breast, not 2%), baby vomit (varying in colours from yellow to orange to pea green), and sadly, there’s the occasional diaper fail resulting in … well, you get the idea.

Now let’s look at what we Zombie-Moms like to eat. Our TV relatives prefer a warm bodied meal, and forks are not required. ZombieMoms would kill for a warm meal, too! Ninety-nine percent of the time we eat our dinners cold – while standing up – at the kitchen counter. Forks are optional. And that’s only if we remember to eat at all! I am pretty sure that a lot of my weight loss during the first year post-baby was due to my failure to remember to eat three meals a day. Two meals a day…. um…one for sure. Do granola bars count as a meal? I digress.

Which brings me to my next point. Losing your train of thought. All the time. Memory lapses. Constant. Now maybe I can’t really speak on behalf of our AMC equivalents in this regard, but I’m pretty sure a Walker or two has probably been eating someone, enjoying every morsel, and then, for no logical reason whatsoever, has moved on to another warm body thinking “Oh, that looks tasty” forgetting that he already has a full plate right in front of him! Am I right? This “mommy brain”, as we like to call it, seems harmless enough, until you walk into the house and realize the baby is still strapped into his car seat – in the car.

Granted, being a ZombieMom does give us an excuse to hit the grocery store in our pyjamas, or stop bathing for a week because we just “don’t have time”. But what we would do for just one night of uninterrupted sleep?! Maybe we should ask the Walkers how they survive on little to no sleep. Oh right, they’re dead.


Award-winning broadcaster Patty Sullivan is the host of Kids’ CBC. She and her husband have two daughters whose sleep-depriving antics led her to found Zombie-Moms.com. Visit the website for more info, or follow @zombiemoms and #zombiemoms on Twitter.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May 2014.

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