Okay folks, this post is probably going to start some controversy… but here goes.
I have been seeing a lot of conversation on the internet lately about co-sleeping, baby wearing, and the like. For every passionate person for those things, you have 10 against them (and the other way around). I am a baby wearing advocate, but I know it doesn’t work for every child. My docile, lovable, cuddly Cobe loved to be shoved into a baby sling and carried around all day. My free-spirited, free-thinking, just as lovable Caylie hated it. However, when it comes to co-sleeping I am against it. At least for my family.
I am not a co-sleeper. I have never been a co-sleeper… if I could have a separate bed from my husband, I just might. I love to cuddle, don’t get me wrong… but there is a time and a place for it – and it is not when I am trying to sleep. I love my children. I love them deeply and passionately. I would crawl to the ends of the Earth and die for them. I do not love to share a bed with my children. They are mean little squirmy, sheet stealing, rib kicking, upside down turning, weirdo’s when they sleep.
However, this is not the reason I choose not to co-sleep. My bed is special. It is sacred. It is a place for my husband and myself. It is a place of intimacy, a place of relaxation. The moment I allow my children into that space, all that is gone. My children have their own beds, in their own rooms.
If they come to me in the night for something, I hug them, I kiss them, I reassure them, I walk beside them back to their bed (because let’s face it at almost 60 and almost 70 pounds, I’m not carrying them), I sit with them for a moment – as long as they need, and I walk back to my bed… and sleep. If they are scared, we talk about it. If they are sick, we prepare for it. If they need me to be near them for the night because of sickness, we camp out in the living room.
When they were babies, I woke up and nursed them and put them back in their own beds (or a cradle next to my bed). I didn’t sleep with them in my bed past the first six week post-cesarean recovery – and that only happened because it was near impossible to get out of bed, and it was more convenient for them to sleep with me… but, even then they mostly stayed in a cradle next to my bed, and I would nurse and put them right back.
Call me selfish, call me mean, call me whatever you like. But, I am strongly under the belief that children in this world have far too much control over the lives of their parents and the way things run in their homes. And, maybe I am a little selfish. I don’t know. I just know that if they are turning somersaults all night in my bed, I will not get a good nights sleep – this equals a very tired, exhausted, grouchy mommy, which equals no good for my family. I want to be the very best that I can for my children and my husband, and I cannot do that if I do not establish some boundaries in my life.
Kids do not sleep in my bed and my marriage comes first, these are some of my boundaries. My children understand that. I want them to see that mommy and daddy need time to love one another. We need time alone. They will (and do) have their time with mommy and daddy, but there are times when it is mommy and daddy time. Plain and simple. My children will learn to be patient. They will learn to respect boundaries. They will learn to establish boundaries of their own.
If I spend all my time now pouring all of myself into my children, I will not have a marriage when they are grown and on their own. That is not okay with me. I want my husband to feel like he is important to me, because he is. My children know that I love them very much, they are secure in their lives because I allow them to navigate some of life’s moments by themselves. (I could literally write another three hours on children who fail to mature because their parents do every-single-thing for them, but I will save this for another time).
For now, I will just say that if you are in the same non-co-sleeping club as me… you are not alone. Stay strong.