Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and two boys. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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My Life Without Caffeine


I’m currently living a life without caffeine. Gang, I’m here to tell you, it’s a challenge that no mortal woman should have to face. Full disclosure: caffeine does a number on me. If I drink caffeine after 7pm, I can’t get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Even a small dose is enough to keep me revved for hours and hours. I can’t even finish a 12 ounce can of Coke because I start getting those lovely caffeine jitters (let’s not talk about the time I drank that Red Bull.) But absolutely zero caffeine at any time of day or in any social situation? Kids, it’s rough.

As sensitive as I am to the jolt, my babies are even more sensitive, and that’s why I stopped. Some women can nurse and drink caffeine–even at the same time, so fancy! However, if I have caffeine and then nurse, I have a crying, screaming, over-tired baby on my hands. This even extended to the small amount of caffeine in chocolate with my first two babes. Yes, no chocolate for 3 months after those two were born; they’re such jerks.

A newborn means I’m back on the No Caffeine Wagon with the rest of the listless health nuts. I did it for a year with my first babe. 12 months without caffeine; it was a desert of sad exhaustion. I lasted 6 months with my next babe: caving in one desperate morning in the face of marathon meetings and endless projects.

I miss it! I miss ordering a Diet Coke at lunch with friends. I miss the crack of a can at my desk to help me work after a long night. We have so many morning cuppas and after dinner espressos, runs for a fountain drink at the Sev, frappachinos on a summer day, all rituals tied to caffeine in its many delicious forms. Can I hear it for a burger and Coke, for the love of America?!

But here I am, drinking a gallon of water a day, being all healthy, a good mommy for my kids, and yawning every step of the way.

What’s the countdown to when I’ll cave?

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Comments (8)

  1. Katy E 10/31/2012 at 4:01 pm

    Janet,
    I bet you probably wonder why you have no friends. If you get bent put of shape over a stranger’s so-called “mental addiction” to caffeine (serioulsy, caffeine? no one has ever robbed their grandma or sold their body for caffiene. bigger fish to fry, my friend, bigger fish to fry) then chances are you have trouble getting a grip. Clearly, you and your genius-level-i.q. jobless life partner spend an inordinate amount of time judging people and congratulating each other on being so awesome. I hear a new version of Halo is coming out. Have fun with that.

  2. Janet Hartfield 10/31/2012 at 11:00 am

    I’m glad you were able to give up caffeine for the sake of your children, but it is extremely obvious you have no long-term goal of staying off caffeine. You own description (example: “12 months without caffeine; it was a desert of sad exhaustion”) shows that you are mentally addicted and it is not physical. If you were really 12 months without caffeine you would not be feeling exhaustion because of a lack of it, give me a break. You’re addicted in your mind, which means you will never, ever be able to give up caffeine (or any other addictive activity is my guess) without a huge change of attitude and mindset.

    Sorry, like I said in the beginning it is great you are doing this for your kids, but your attitude and “yawning all the way” comments just plain tick me off. You describe some of the bad side effects (and apparently ignore many others) but just absolutely cannot wait to go back to it. So start drinking coffee again already.

    • Carina 10/31/2012 at 3:42 pm

      Dear Janet,

      I am sorry my attitude upsets you. I am also sorry your sense of humor left along with any caffeine in your life. I don’t know why I even bother with levity, as it’s clear my long-term goals are as vapid as my mental capacity, and all that is left to us is wallowing in our collective despair.

      Never you mind that during my (self-imposed) caffeine desert, I was working in a full-time executive position at a start-up supporting my family and with a newborn that wouldn’t sleep; it was a pretty exhausting place without the energy that caffeine lends a tired mother. You are probably right in your assessment that it was a mental failure, not a physical or circumstantial one.

      I apologize profusely that my little post has caused such accusatory finger-wagging, as I’m sure your energies are usually better spent curing all the cancers caused by caffeine. I regret that I cannot take your suggestion to start drinking coffee, as I never have and never will. However, I am glad that you were here to describe my mental failings; I can never get enough of strangers presuming they understand my motivations, extenuating circumstances, or neural pathways.

      It’s refreshing, actually, to be addressed with such candor and finality. Please, come back again with your stringent pronouncements, as they are a badly-needed ray of gloom on this bright, caffeinated day. Yours, as always, in Feline AIDS.

  3. Tracey MacDonald 08/15/2011 at 1:12 pm

    I quit all caffeine on April 11,2010 and have been able to stay without since. I can’t even drink lemonade,or other sugary drinks at this point. It’s all water all the time. One day I thought I really wanted to taste a good pepsi and I poured myself a small sip, I took the sip and dumped the rest because it didn’t even taste good. Keep going you can do it, it is one of the healthiest changes you can make for many reasons. I had tried this once before and thought I could only drink caffeine or soda in particular in certain situations like at the movies for example, but I failed because you just seem to go right back to having it a couple times a week, once a day, etc. The longer you go without it the easier it becomes, even in situations where you are trying to stay awake late or something, I have survived and you will too! By the way my “babies” are 13 and 11 and this is the first time I have stayed without caffeine for such a long period of time, and plan to continue.

  4. rani 08/15/2011 at 12:58 pm

    Good for you for going non-caffeine! I have been caffeine free for about 3 months now and I can tell you, you will survive and your body will thank you for it! It was hard the first month, especially because I love my am coffee. But I realized that the caffeine was adversely effecting my actions and reactions to my family. In short, I was a total maniac! But now with three month behind me, I feel healthier and have found a love for caffeine free tea-so much to choose from! Plus my bones are thanking me as well as my eight year old and five year old girls! Even if you decide to have caffeine later, don’t beat yourself up about it…just listen to your body like you are now! Cheers to you!

  5. Jennette 08/15/2011 at 12:40 pm

    I gave up coffee and caffiene when pregnant my firstbor. My husband asked me to do it. I stayed caffiene free until she was maybe 2. I felt much better in the morning and probably slept better too (although general mom exhaustion probably didn’t hurt wither). I truly love coffee and have since picked it up again, including through my second pregnancy and through nursing. I would have given it up again if needed but it didn’t seem to bother the little guy. I, however, was miserable without it! So tired wiu two little ones. Good for you for listening to your body and sleeping better at nihht- better than sleeping pills!

  6. Cairn S 08/15/2011 at 12:21 pm

    I gave up caffeine right before I got pregnant with my first child. That was over seven years ago. I never went back to caffeinated soda (never was a tea or coffee person). I was tired of the headaches if I didn’t get it in time. This summer I decided to quit drinking soda altogether. It was wasted calories for me. (I never liked the taste of diet and don’t do sweeteners). I am hoping for a healthier me! Good luck with your time off the caffeine. I hope it isn’t too hard for you.

  7. Erin Oltmanns 08/08/2011 at 3:20 pm

    I was in the same boat with both babies. I am straight up addicted to my morning cup of coffee, but I kicked caffeine to the curb with both babies.

    A few weeks ago my 2nd babe started to fight nursing, big time. After 10 days of ending each feeding by being bitten, I threw in the towel and started bottle feeding him. I was really sad. Then I remembered that I could break out the coffee pot. ;)