It seems like the minute your kid comes into the world, the mission, where sleep is concerned anyway, is to get them in their own bed. The gold standard of parenting is to be able to kiss them goodnight, and close the door on a dark room, to a sweetly whispered, "I love you, mom." If that's the case, 10 years into motherhood, I have failed. Most nights, we've still got company in bed (or on the floor) and, to be perfectly honest, except for the times when the air conditioner goes out, it's not crowded. It's cozy.
This wasn't the plan. I read all those parenting books, as much as the next mom, and we did get there eventually with my firstborn, but it was a painful - and sleepless - road. By the time, my second son came along, my husband and I just decided not to bother. At first, it was practical: Breastfeeding is a lot easier when you just have to roll over.
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Now, it's common to have our five-year-old wedged between us, and our 10-year-old on the floor, having built a makeshift bed so he doesn't feel left out, or because he had a bad dream. When my husband's away, the boys assume they get to sleep in mom's bed. My sons also like to go to sleep together, chatting and reading books, and I like to peek in on their relaxed brother time. After a few hours vegging in front of the television, we're just too lazy to move them.
I did the Internet research, wondering if we were doing some long-term psychological damage. Would they be needy momma's boys? In fact, they are both outgoing and gregarious. They sleep soundly, and most of the time, so do we. And once you quietly fess up that your bedroom has regular visitors, you find a whole batch of parents who will admit to the same.
Maybe it's partly working-parent guilt: this is eight hours of built in family time, and it won't last. Right now, though, our boys think it's a wonderful treat when, after an exhausting day, all four of us snuggle into the family bed for stories to fall asleep together. How else could I hit the snooze button in the morning, and have a cuddle with my kindergartner?
But for the record: If anyone asks, my sons have been sleeping on their own since they were babies. Just like yours.
Sheepish Co-Sleeper is an Ontario mom.
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