If you’re a co-sleeper and you read that title, I’m willing to bet a little bit of cringe grazed your face. Or maybe that’s just me bitter and exhausted from having the same conversation for a decade.
Why are people so opinionated about co-sleeping?
If you have found yourself on the receiving end of co-sleeping shame, this might be the blog for you! My experience with co-sleeping ended a little over a month ago. For me, this ending was not bittersweet. No emotions really because it was just something that was happening exactly when it was happening. We were definitely straddling the “it’s time” boundary and life presented an opportunity to capitalize on. Co-sleeping wasn’t something I looked forward to while pregnant … I don’t think it was something I thought about at all honestly because I love personal space. I’m under-affectionate by nature. It’s just who I am! But somewhere in those motherhood creases, this precious little human found his way to my pillows and I let him stay.
I think it’s important to understand our family dynamic. I also think if we didn’t have our unique circumstance, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I am a single mom with one kid. It’s just me and my dude, and it has always been just me and my dude. Nathan was the best sleeper as a baby. Always up with the chickens, but always slept through the night. I loved walking in his room every morning and seeing his cute, smiley face hanging over his crib rail. Or entertaining himself with toys. He was the best baby. He really was!
I think it was Thanksgiving 2015 (Black Friday) when I decided I was going to get a TV for my bedroom again. Nathan was four. I intentionally did not have one in my room for years (like pre-Nathan), and it was a horrible mistake to get one again. But we had good reason … we had reached the crossroads in life where the game contradicted with bedtime. And what kind of sports-loving mama would I be to deprive us of the luxury of watching the game til the end.
Pathetic. That is some pathetic rationalization right there!
But I own it. And it wasn’t every night. Just Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Occasional Tuesday, sprinkle of Wednesday. Nathan spent Wednesday nights at my mom’s house for several years. I think he stopped around 8ish because of sports and school activities. He also developed a fondness for sleeping at home. This is something I can relate to on a deep personal level because I too LOVE sleeping at home. I love sleeping in my own bed. Some will say Nathan liked sleeping at home because he slept with me. Ok, and??? I know what it feels like to not feel safe sleeping in your own home. My son has never and will never experience that feeling.
I will never feel bad for co-sleeping.
Do I prefer to sleep in my own bed by myself? … Duh. Did I look forward to the nights he slept out? … Of course. Were there several consistent spans of time where he slept in his own bed over the past seven years? … You better believe it. When he would wake up in the middle of the night, did I bring him back to his own bed? … I sure did. Would he stay there and go back to sleep? … Yes he would (most of the time). Did we talk about how it was a little unusual he still slept with me? … We sure did. But I gotta be honest with you though, we really didn’t care.
Because co-sleeping worked for us.
We love watching sports together. We love watching movies and shows together. Despite my best efforts holding off for seven years, Nathan got a TV in his room. And we tried the “lay with me in my bed” routine too. We did all the methods, we tried all the ways. In the end, we just did what worked best for us. The fight wasn’t worth the energy to me. I love sleep too damn much so whatever needs to be done, I will be cool with. Period.
So co-sleeping worked for us.
Four months ago, I sold the condo I called home for 14.5 years. The condo where I brought Nathan home, and we grew up together for 11 years. We stayed with my grandmother for three months while our new house was being built. Those were our final days of co-sleeping. And we both knew it!
People will tell you 100 reasons why co-sleeping is wrong or bad. They may be right. They’re likely coming from a good place. But ya know what? If it works for you and your child and your family, their reasons have no merit on your choices. They may have an active role in your child’s life, but they do not have an active role in your parenting. An explanation is owed to no one. For us, co-sleeping was like so many other things. You just outgrow it. It’s a little poetic to have experienced this transition very aware of what was coming next. Nathan is my baby bird. But it was time for him go …
Just down the hall.