If you’re a parent, you already know that becoming one comes with an innate ability to form strong opinions about how every little detail “will” or “should” plays out. The topic of sleep is no exception, and I never thought I’d let my kids sleep in bed with me. I swore I wouldn’t become a bed-sharing mom when I was pregnant with my firstborn. Boy, was I wrong. While I never thought I’d let my children sleep in bed with me (at least not regularly), actually having children has changed things. That should come as no surprise, though, right?
“Be prepared never to sleep again,” I’d hear, particularly from naysayers with plenty of unsolicited advice. It won’t be that difficult to get back to my regular sleep routine once my babies are old enough to put themselves to bed, I’d think to myself. Once they can start the night in their room and stay there until morning.
We All Need Sleep
This is a given. While sleep doesn’t come easily once you have kids, you learn to adapt to get whatever you can of it. In the fresh, early days of parenthood, there’s so much societal pressure to have our babies sleeping as much as they can as soon as they can – and independently.
As time passes, though, you realize that every child is different: Some will sleep beautifully on their own, and others will need a bit of support, or they are straight-up snugglers. And it’s all perfectly okay. As I’ve grown along my motherhood journey alongside my children, I’ve learned there’s no shame in doing what works best for my family. For now, that means bending on certain preconceived notions I once held of what my parenting decisions would look like and permitting myself to be open to different ways of doing things. Like letting my kids sleep in bed with me.
I’ve Decided Bedtime Doesn’t Have to Be a Battle Zone
I’d much rather we all lean into the easiness of letting go of what we once thought sleep would look like than allow the wee hours of the night to become a time of stress and exhausting negotiation. Giving in to the simplest solution is not always the answer in parenting, but that doesn’t mean the simplest solution should be taken off the table for everything. Motherhood is a fleeting journey, and I will always choose the path that yields the greatest sense of peace for all family members. For now, that means letting my kids sleep in bed with me and doze off feeling content and secure – with the reassuring knowledge that they are safe beside me.
There’s Comfort in Having My Children Close to Me
It’s normal for moms to want to keep their children close. It’s instinct. As much as I say I let my kids sleep in bed with me for their sake, I’m happy to do so for mine, too. There’s a comfort and calm that comes with having the humans I’ve created snuggled up close. For now, that means opening my bed to them as their own.
I’ve Realized Other People’s Opinions Don’t Have to Impact My Decisions
For a brief moment, I wondered if letting my kids sleep in bed with me was creating “bad habits” – or whatever else opponents of my decision would claim. Once I started tuning out the outside pressure to kick my kiddos out of my bed, I discovered the refreshing freedom that comes with simply letting the situation be what it is for the time it is. For now, that means welcoming my children into my bed with open arms – even in the middle of the night, when they show up at my bedroom door with their blanket and favorite stuffed animal in hand.
Ultimately, My Kids Still Need Me
They’re not brand-new babies fresh out of my womb anymore, but they’re still my babies. And no matter how old they get, they’ll always be my babies. They still need me, and I’ll gladly let them lean on me and let my kids sleep in bed with me for as long as they need. And while my children will always be my children, they won’t always be actual kids. This also means they won’t need me like this forever. But for now, they do. And for now, that means accepting that reality. It means saying “yes” and attending to their needs – day or night. It means sacrificing a few feet of space to sprawl out on my bed – and even some alone time with my husband.
While I never thought I’d let my kids sleep in bed with me, things changed when I became a mom and realized that not everything pans out as planned in parenthood. Despite whatever beliefs we have when we enter the journey of raising humans, I’ve concluded that meeting our children right where they are is far more important than falling strictly in line with whatever society tells us we “should” or “shouldn’t” do. And I’m completely fine with admitting that. Because at the end of the day – at least for now – my kids still need me.