Congratulations on your new offspring. I’ve been preparing for this ever since you started waking up to pee every hour. Are you getting tons of sleep advice but no actual sleep? I’m here to help. Trust me, no one is more invested in getting you the rest you need than me, your sleep paralysis demon.

I know you’re not the biggest fan of lying immobilized while I sit on your chest and hiss incantations into your ear or hold a scythe over your sleeping spouse, but things are tough right now, and I need your help. Work exploded during the pandemic. Clinical anxiety and alcohol use were off the charts, and I was working my entire repertoire from multiple demonologies. But before long, every lesser demon with a stage cough was trying to get in the game. Now, the labor market is still saturated, but our client base is dwindling as humans go to therapy and take CBD gummies by the handful. I’m down to you and Mr. Aquino across the street, and the only thing that scares him is his mother-in-law.

Can you help a fellow mom out? My daughter, The Bat Princess Elspeth, is already a year old, and I’m still not back to full-time paralysis haunting. I’m taking continuing education classes in “Chittering” and trying to find acceptable offspring care in the void of shadows. It’s a literal nightmare.

Okay, so, first off, “sleep when the offspring sleeps” is total bullshit. You don’t need twenty-five-minute human newborn sleep cycles. You need full-on REM sleep that will restore your ailing brain and body and give me ample time to practice my contortions on your ceiling. You should see the shapes I’m getting into these days. (We have a Core Power Yoga in the void of shadows now!) I make Toni Collette in Hereditary look like a birthday clown.

Second, please take advantage of your in-laws’ offer to stay over so you can sleep through the night. I know pumping breastmilk is hell (we invented it in the void of shadows), but pump as much as you can during the day so that others can take over night feedings. Then you can wheel your royal hellbeast—I mean, offspring—into the guest room, eat a hearty meal, and pass out on your back with the curtains drawn and the white noise machine cranked up. Remember when you were awake for four days straight during your failed induction? Ugh, I missed you so much. Such a wasted opportunity, really. Hospitals are my jam. The only thing scarier than a giant console of hissing, beeping medical equipment displaying numbers you don’t understand is a giant console of hissing, beeping medical equipment with a faceless humanoid squatting on top of it.

Finally, when you’re back on duty, keep that bassinet close to your bed. Not so close that your blankets and pillows could fall in and smother your offspring, but close enough that you don’t have to get up and walk around to attend to the child. If you’re up too long, you won’t surface slowly enough from your usual nightmares about taking the SAT in a speeding car with no brakes while your teeth fall out, and I’ll miss my shot.

Remember when your spouse said, “Hey, no sleep, no sleep paralysis demon, at least?” and you wanted to push him in front of a bus with what little strength you had left? So did I. I get it. When The Bat Princess Elspeth was born, I didn’t get to properly regenerate in my chrysalis of darkness for at least six weeks. (Co-sleeping was rough with her clawed wings too. She gets those from her daddy!) You need rest; I need work. I just want to make this transition as mutually beneficial as possible.

I know you’re tired, but think it over. I want to see you healing and thriving so that you can pass on every single one of your neuroses to your offspring. Who knows? Maybe one day we can do a nighttime play date with Elspeth? It takes a village to raise a little one, and whether or not you want it to, that includes me.