Or, what do you do when you have kids who don’t like to sleep by themselves?
At least, that is the situation that my husband and I have found ourselves in for the third time. Now, here’s the deal. When our first was born, I’d read up on everything that had anything to do with how to raise a child, though I have to say that most books fell short when it came to my kids. Our oldest screamed his head off until roughly the age of ten months, but by then, we had instilled some not-so-great habits.
And, he’s the most independent one of the bunch. This means that he can’t use the potty without an audience, but at least he sleeps through the night now.
Now, you must be thinking “wow, what are the other’s like?” If you are not aware yet, I am a momma to three boys, the oldest being four-years-old, the youngest being ten-months-old at the end of the month. My middle baby decided roughly around ten months that his crib was absolutely overrated. As tired as I was at the time, working momma and all, I decided that it was best for all of us to get some sleep, in any way we can. So, I brought him to bed with us.
He’s still in bed with us.
Unfortunately, our ten-month-old is developing the same habit. For this, I take almost full responsibility. I wanted to say all, but I do have to give myself a little credit. Unlike my older two, I did great when it came to making some wonderful habits right from the start, until the first time he got sick. Unable to breathe through his nose, let alone eat, my baby stopped sleeping those nice couple hour stretches he was giving me. I was so bummed out as I had almost had him sleeping through the night, something I thought would never happen, ever!
Almost ten-months-old now, he had the unfortunate chance to be sick a couple of times. Amongst regular colds, he even managed to catch the stomach flu. Let me tell you, watching my husband catch puke (as I was sick myself as well) was not something I’d ever thought I would find hilarious, but here we are!
By now, I’d had brought my little one to bed with us a couple of nights, hoping that we can all get some much needed uninterrupted sleep. As a breastfeeding mama, I realized the distinct advantage of just being able to roll over and let him eat whenever he wanted to. Despite knowing just that, guilt starts to take over because how is it that for the third time, I haven’t been able to teach my children how to sleep neither through the night nor in their own beds?
While my head is spinning with all these thoughts, I had the pleasure of a lovely conversation with a fellow mom of three, though one of hers is a girl. During hip hop class that my oldest is enrolled in, I figured I’d make small chit chat, which couldn’t have come at a better time.
It was absolutely refreshing to hear that I am not the only one in this boat! The more I talked to this mom, whose kids are older and she has had a little more time doing this parenting thing, the more my fears, guilt, and self-judgment were assuaged. This mom had decided that for various reasons, such as lack of sleep and breastfeeding, it was best to co-sleep with all her babies until they were ready.
Until THEY WERE READY.
The feeling of being understood in this situation was unlike anything I can explain. We always say that moms should stand behind one another and support each other, but I feel that the norm is quite the opposite. People are quicker to judge rather than to help or at the very least, lend an ear, and mothers can be downright vicious. Fights are started over social media regarding things that don’t have an impact on anyone, but the individual making the choice, which is something we should do our best to change.
I loved having that type of conversation with another mom, and not just because she was able to commiserate with me, understand me on a level that someone else may not. I was thankful for her frank conversation; of telling me that she did it that way and that’s ok! That any way that works for the family is the right choice!
So, I will take that to heart. Maybe my babies will not be the best sleepers. Maybe my last and youngest will sleep with my husband and me for the next three years. That is ok! For reasons that are beyond my control, or ability to fix, that is something that my children seem to crave: that human contact. While I can, I will snooze away next to as many of them as climb into our bed, be it just one, or all three. One day they will grow up and no longer want that mommy time. I’ll take it while I still can!
Oh! And maybe we’ll all be just a little more rested!