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01
Apr, 2014

People Want To Sleep With Me

OK, well just ONE person. My kid.

I’m feeling V-E-R-Y conflicted about one of those ridiculously “big” parenting issues. Well, it seems to only be big and controversial here in the US, but I’m talking about co-sleeping. In laymen’s terms, that would be “letting your kid sleep in bed with you.”

There are various reasons people choose to co-sleep or not and the biggest controversies surround infant co-sleeping when there is a supposed danger of rolling over on your tiny little person and smothering it. I’m waaaay past those years and I’m not having anymore kids, so I don’t give a crap about that. I’m talking about Aubrey. My 6, almost 7 year old who has been a champion sleeper all of her life. She still is, for the most part and 99% of her life she has slept independently, in her own room and bed and slept VERY well.

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Lately, she has been asking to sleep in bed with me and getting emotional about it. This happens maybe once or twice a week. Generally, I do not cave. I re-state my reasons why and after a hug and kiss and a reminder that I’m right across the hall if she needs me, I close the door on a teary eyed little girl and she is asleep within a minute or too.

Recently, during one of these episodes, I asked her why she wanted to sleep with me so badly, she stated that she didn’t want to be alone. And I said to her, “But you’re not alone! You have Nelly (that’s her security item – an elephant). You have all of your stuffed animal buddies…” And she retorted, wailing, “But I just want to sleep with someone who’s ALIVE!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!” Don’t we all, honey? Don’t we all?

She DOES know how to push my buttons, so it’s a hard call to make. Some nights are more emotional than others and I can tell there is a direct correlation between her non-sleep related anxieties and her level of crying. Tonight, the asking started early and I knew right away it was because she’s thinking ahead about a 10-day trip she is taking with her dad. She loves her dad, but she is already worried about missing me. We had a really great day together today and she was feeling particularly close to me. When she first asked and I told her no, she started to collapse. After some discussion, I finally told myself, “What the fuck? She’s going to be on the trip in 2 nights anyway, so who gives a shit?” (Yes, I do curse that much, even in my own head.) I was also too tired to deal with crazy crying at the end of a long day, so I caved and said yes.

The funny thing is, she’s dead asleep right now and I’m not even with her. I’m in the dining room writing. Honestly, I think she just wants to sleep on my bitchin’ memory foam mattress.

I would never let this become a habit. The only exceptions I have made in the past are when we travel and share a bed in a hotel or my parents’ house, if she is sick (which is rare) or the ONE time she woke up during the night and was scared. I’m not kidding… once. She really is an amazing sleeper and I think a big part of this is because I have worked hard to foster healthy, independent sleeping patterns. I try not to judge anyone who co-sleeps. I don’t know their kid or family situation intimately and it’s your kid. You do what you want. My opinion; what I experienced in my own childhood, heard of from some other close friends’ and witnessed with my own kid, is that allowing long-term co-sleeping fosters and encourages a child to act on and embrace irrational fears. I think it’s super far from the worst thing you can do as a parent and I’m fine with other parents doing it if they feel it’s right for their family. But is sure is hard to say, “no” when they are begging you through teary eyes. And I’m no iron fisted rule-enforcer. Clearly, I said yes, tonight. So what I’m trying to find out now is, how much is too much? What is ok for us?

I’m not asking for you to answer these questions and I’m not even asking for your opinions because clearly, I have my own. But I’m curious – if you’re willing to share and you can DM me if you want – I’d love to hear from you! Can you answer this question for me:

*Did YOU sleep in bed with your parent(s) on a long-term basis as a child and how do you feel about it now as an adult?

*And if you are a parent, did your own sleeping arrangements as a child affect your decisions on sleeping as a parent? Please let me know!

(OK – last blog I stated that the next item on the table was HOMESCHOOLING – but I lied. Homeschooling got preempted by CO-SLEEPING. The HOMESCHOOLING shit hits the fan next. Promise.)

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  1. Co-Sleeping was never an issue for me as a child. I was very independent and loved having my own room. when I started breeding, my children were also naturally very independent with amazing sleeping habits. I did have the occasional moment and, as you mentioned, they were over-the-top incidents. Either they had a nightmare and woke up scared, ran to my room and jumped into bed. Or they were sick and just wanted a cuddle to make them feel better, so they ended up sleeping in my bed. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty if they let their children sleep with them. But people need their personal space, children should understand that so they can accept the premise that, although it’s okay in extreme circumstances, people need their private time, whether they be adult or child. That time is very nourishing and should be encouraged. IMHO. 🙂

  2. Mandy says:

    My daughter is 7. She has been cosleeping with us since the day we brought her home. She is a very independent kid. She’s not really scared of anything except normal things most people are scared of. We started cosleeping because she weighed 4 pounds when I brought her home so she had to eat a lot in the middle of the night and I was a delivery driver at the time so I had to sleep at night as to not kill myself or anyone else on the road. I’d always planned on having her in her own room by now but we all sleep great this way so I’m not going to force the issue. The dog sleeps with us too and I enjoy getting snuggled up to by both of them (and my husband) at night.

  3. MJ says:

    I slept in my parents bed since I was a toddler until I hit middle school, then I finally started sleeping in my room. It wasn’t out of necessity (I had my own room) I just preferred it that way. Though when I was little maybe I didn’t have my own room.. and that was until I was 5–so now I’m not sure, I can’t quite remember that far. I did have an entire room that was a “play room” but maybe it was never made into my bed room (and I don’t remember having a bed in there) but.. don’t know for sure.

    I eventually wanted to sleep when I wanted to, but I do remember being 5 years old, wanting to stay and sleep at my aunt’s house so I could play with my cousin. Then when night time hit I started crying, my aunt and uncle ended up having to have me sleep with them so I would stop crying. Then eventually I grew out of it and I could sleep over and sleep with my cousin on the pull out bed. that’s a lot of growing up for a 6 year old!

  4. Sophelia says:

    My son also gets very emotional about my refusal to co-sleep. I did try it but he spins like a windmill and kicked me in the face non-stop. In the end I decided that having a not-exhausted mother who didn’t spend all day snapping and sculling coffee was probably more important for his emotional well being.

  5. lara says:

    i’m 24,from the Philippines, and i used to sleep together with my mom a lot even though I had my own room. I dont have any siblings, and my parents are divorced since I was 2.
    I’d say sleeping together with my mom helped us develop a closer relationship with each other. It always made me feel safe and secure.
    now I’m in germany, studying, and my mom’s in the Philippines, alone. It does make me miss her so much. I think there is just a phase in a child’s life when she needs the care and cuddle of a mother. I mean, it won’t last forever, and sooner or later she’ll grow up and would want to be more independent. Maybe there’s a psychological effect somehow and the child needs it so I guess there’s no harm done in allowing sleep-togethers.
    and I dont think that made me a bad person. I am a nurse already, and am also studying again at the same time. (second degree)
    for what it’s worth, I’m glad my mom did not have any hesitations about sleeping together. maybe it had something to do with just being the two of us, no siblings, no father, so maybe I felt a hole within me that time, that I simply craved for my mother’s love, physical security and attention.

  6. Lily says:

    My sister is 18 years younger than me. Whenever she would sleepover she would insist in sharing my California King bed. It was a huge bed, so I didn’t really think anything of it – but I always said “are you sure you don’t want to sleep in the guest bedroom? You’d get a whole big bed to yourself. Are you sure?” But she always insisted on sleeping with me. When she was maybe 8, one day she just started sleeping in the guest room when she would come for a visit. And then I was like “Ohh … you don’t want to sleep with me? Are you sure?” Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone! As long as its not disruptive to you or your daughter, I think sharing a bed is just one of those phases that kids go through. Never let it question your ability on whether you are a good parent – just thinking about it shows that you are! 😉

  7. Pat says:

    My younger brother slept in my parents bedroom until he was 18. I thought he would never fully mature but he is now a loving and nurturing father of two healthy and smart girls. I think allowing children to sleep with us when they are feeling vulnerable can at times help them grow stronger emotionally.

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