Since we at ctworkingmoms.com kicked off the week with the sparkly Kate Street’s confessions, I’d like to keep the momentum going and share with you this: Up until last weekend, my two-year-old loved to co-sleep. I became a co-sleeping parent by accident. My babe slept in a crib in our room until she was a year old. Then one day her chubby little thigh got stuck between the slats of the crib and I freaked out because I knew it would happen again. And it did. Putting a bumper around the crib did not work because it would have assisted her in “Operation Climb Outta My Crib.” So I decided to put her in bed with us until I could come up with a better plan.
Then I discovered co-sleeping to be a dream come true as a working mother. It was the only way I could get a decent night sleep. When my daughter woke to nurse, I would roll over, nurse, and then we’d fall back to sleep again. I also loved the closeness. For me, it felt like I was making up for the time without her while I worked. even tbough she had her own toddler bed, I still brought her in with me when she’d wake in the middle of the night. I learned the benefits to co-sleeping and even celebrities do it!
I know co-sleeping is not right for everyone and every parent must do what is best for them. But while I’m on the subject, I do want to point out some of the misconceptions about co-sleeping such as: 1.) A marriage would suffer for lack of intimacy and 2.) Children should sleep in their own cribs or else they will be attached to you for life. I can honestly say that nothing suffered in my marital life (there’s always the guest room, the living room . . . . you get the point) and my child is fiercely independent.
So as much as this worked for us for many months, my toddler is now getting bigger. And she’s hogging my side of the bed. This past weekend we felt it was the right time to transition her to her own room. Legend among co-sleeping parents has it that one day your child will up and say “So long mamá and papá. I have decided to pursue greener pastures in my own room. Thanks for the memories!” Well, my daughter never said this but here’s how I knew it was time for my daughter to make the Big Move:
- My back hurt.
- I was tired of getting kicked in the head.
- I didn’t want to sleep at the edge of a KING-sized bed anymore waiting in fear for the day I will fall off.
- I want to feel the warmth of my husband when I wake in the morning, not wet drool stains on my sheets left there by a deeply sleeping toddler.
The First Night
In an effort to get our little bird to fly the nest, I tried to lure her with cozy sleeping quarters. She was used to king-sized living, so we moved a full-size platform bed from the guest room. In our stead, Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba, Minnie Mouse, and a doll known as “Baby,” would be her sleeping companions. She woke up twice, but all I heard through the monitor was a whiny, sleepy “mooommy,” not the panic-stricken “Where the hell am I?!!?” scream that I was dreading. My motherly instinct made me hop into her bed until she fell back asleep 15 minutes later. But the second time I fell asleep in her bed. I woke up hours later to Mia saying, “I didn’t poop yet mommy” even though by the smell of it, she clearly did. I didn’t sleep well at all the first night and felt like I’d washed up on a beach somewhere, disappointed I gave in and went to her room so easily.
I know what you may be thinking…just put her in her room and let her cry.it.out. But I’ve always likened the shrieks of a child fighting bedtime to nails on a chalkboard. It’s a form of PTSD from my old days of baby-sitting sleep resistant kids. I did, however, find comfort in the fact that she slept on her own for 7.5 hours. Progress!
Since the transition, I have learned a lot as a mom. My daughter is stronger and much more adaptable to change than I think. It’s mom who at times resists change. My little girl is growing up and will one day leave for a life far beyond the safe, family nest we have built for her. Until then, I will cherish every moment as best I can and continue to let intuition be my guide.
Sleep, baby, sleep
Our cottage vale is deep:
The little lamb is on the green,
With woolly fleece so soft and clean,
Sleep, baby, sleep.
Sleep, baby, sleep
Down where the woodbines creep;
Be always like the lamb so mild,
A kind, and sweet, and gentle child.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
– Mother Goose Lullabye, Author Unknown