For some reason, people are very passionate about commenting on other parents' sleep decisions. When I've mentioned that my daughter sometimes sleeps with me, the look some parents, strangers, family members, and friends give me is the look that suggests I am breaking one of the 10 commandments, and while I'm not a religious person, I'm pretty sure there was no rule that said, "Thou Shalt Not Sleep in the Same Bed as Thy Children," but maybe I missed something. Hey, I never went to CCD or Hebrew school. Anything is possible.
To the judgy parents, the condescending people, and the smirky looks upon random strangers' faces, I say, what gives? Why all the fuss about my 4-year-old going to bed in her mom's bed? Will the world end if we do this? Will she become a rotten monster from snuggle time with her mother? Is your life impacted by my choice?
My daughter and I cosleep from time to time because she's become a bit afraid of the dark in her brand-new room in her brand-new home with me. My daughter and I cosleep because we miss each other when she is with her dad. Dad and I are getting a divorce and share custody. Sometimes, I just miss my baby and see how fast she is growing up whether I want her to or not. Sometimes, I miss the days when she nursed and only napped on me, her mother.
Sleep isn't just comforting for children, but it's also comforting for us. Think of how great you feel after a long exhausting day of being Mom, and then there you are in cozy flannel sheets, snuggled up with a glass of wine and unwinding with a good book or show. Where you sleep is a place to relax. Where your kids sleep is a place to relax. Pair these two elements together, and it's not shocking that many children want to sleep with their parents and sometimes, vice versa.
In the "olden days," people slept together for warmth, and it wasn't unusual or frowned upon for kids to sleep with their parents. These days, our generation of parents seems divided: some are fiercely against cosleeping, and others are in complete support of the practice. Many parents who cosleep with their children also practice other elements of attachment parenting, but no matter what side of the fence you are on, what I have to ask is: why does anyone care what other parents do in regards to sleep?
If you don't want to cosleep, then don't, but don't add your two cents on my situation with my child.
Don't roll your eyes and tell me I will never get my child out of my bed.
Do you really think my daughter and her first adult boyfriend or her husband will be cozying up to me in my bed?
Do you really think that my child, after she gets her first period, will want to snuggle with me night and day? I will be lucky if she doesn't banish me to some teenage silent code.
While safe cosleeping practices — especially with infants — are imperative, children are children once. And by the way, you'll notice if you're a parent or were ever a kid, which is um, everyone, that children are dependent. Children need their parents. Babies need their parents. Babies and kids are needy beings, as they're supposed to be. Eventually, they grow to be independent if we do our jobs right, and they won't need us anymore. In the meantime, however, they need us, and some of them need us more at night than others. Heck, sometimes I need my daughter's snuggles more than she needs mine. The reality is: our babies and kids need us, and if they need us at bedtime and we decide to safely cosleep with our children, we are meeting their needs, which is exactly what our job description as parents entails!
Some people feel the need to push, push, and push their kids to grow up so fast and force them into independence instead of doing it as the child is ready. To me, honoring my daughter's requests (when I see fit) to join me at night is the way I am making her feel supported and safe, so she feels confident to move into independence and not pushed. So far? My kid is independent, strong, and securely attached to me. I would say I've scored three gold stars — wouldn't you?
And the bottom line is I don't care if your kids sleep with you or without you. I don't care if they sleep in a bed, a crib, or wherever. What you do in your home is your business, and as long as it's not hurting a child, then go for it! However, refrain from your eye rolls, your commentary, and your scornful looks when it comes to how I raise my kid in my home. Whether you know me or not, your opinion is not needed unless I've asked for it.
So pardon me, but if cosleeping is a crime of sorts, I guess I am committing a criminal offense for engaging in the practice, but somehow, my daughter's smiling face when I announce that tonight is a special night to sleep in "Mommy's bed" indicates otherwise to me.
Sorry, but I'm not sorry.