Let me go ahead and start this blog with a lil disclaimer cause I know some folks might just get their panties in a twist. I don’t think bed sharing is bad. Or wrong. And I certainly don’t think that if you bed share you are a terrible parent. I think you are a wonderful parent for choosing a method for sleep that works for you and your family. This post is not about you and your choice. It is about my family and how we discovered that bed sharing is pretty miserable for us.
This was our toddler on vacation.
Now that we got that out of the way, let me go ahead and tell you little bit about our regular sleeping arrangements. Both our kiddos slept in bassinets, swings, and/or rock-n-plays for the first few months in our room. Well let me clarify, our son slept in a bassinet in our room for the first 3 months. We randomly said one night, “let’s see if he sleeps in his own bed”. And he did. And has ever since. Sister is a whole nother piece of work. We would just put her wherever the eff she would close her eyes for short periods of time. Sometimes that was the bassinet, sometimes the swing, sometimes the rock-n-play, a lot of the time just laying on my body. We even let her bed share with us if necessary. Long story short, if her eyes were closed, we didn’t dare touch her, no matter where she was laying. 7.5 months too late, we finally decided the insanity needed to end and shelled out some dough to a sleep consultant. You can read more on that experience here. Now both our kiddos sleep in their own beds, all the time. This is about how I felt the day we got our bedroom back:
Needless to say, for the last couple weeks I’ve been thoroughly enjoying our new life with separate sleeping spaces. Then we went on vacation. A one room cabin with a king size bed, twin bed and pak-n-play. I was a little worried about how it would all play out, especially being so fresh into our sleep training journey with sister. Well she didn’t turn out to be the problem. In fact she slept just as well as she has at home if not better. Of course. No, the issue was that tiny little dude of ours. When we first arrived he was so excited to have his own “big boy bed”. He sat in it under the covers for a good 20 minutes with the biggest crazy grin on his face. He was ecstatic.
Don’t let that face fool you. He didn’t stay here for long.
Clearly all that changed come bed time. At home he is still in his crib (dude hasn’t tried to escape it yet so you better believe we are keeping him trapped as long as possible). Whatever the case, that exciting twin bed from earlier was now a terrifying abyss that this kid wouldn’t even touch with his toe, let alone sleep in all night long. So here’s where my bed sharing nightmare began and why I felt a need to speak about the horrors of sharing sleeping space with my stage 5 clinger of a toddler.
My top 3 reasons bed sharing sucks:
- You can’t make noise. For reals. Not a peep. My bed sharing experience involved laying stiff as a board barely breathing. It took an hour of holding hands, rubbing his back, stroking his hair, or generally any activity that involved physical touch in order for that crazy kid to close his eyes and catch some zzz’s. Once he was finally asleep, I tried adjusting so I might feel comfortable, but that backfired. Dude heard the tiniest of squeaks from the box spring and it was back to full on bodily contact. This time that meant he layed so close to me that my arm was wedged under his hot box of a body. I could slowly feel the tingles start to form and my hand go numb. I layed there in agony another 30 minutes until I realized I would have to get up and pee. Great. I spent a good 5 minutes slowly and ever so carefully replacing my arm with a pillow then rolling out of the bed like a ninja in the night. I tip toed to the bathroom, but right as my hand was reaching for the door knob, I stumbled over a damn toy car. It rattled and clinked as it flew across the floor. I froze in my tracks, holding my breath so I wouldn’t wence from the throbbing pain coming from my toe. I listened in the dark. Thank God. He’s still asleep. Have you ever tried to pee quietly? I certainly never realized how loud my pee was until I had a sleeping toddler a few feet away from me. It’s so loud. I kept going and stopping then going a lil more, then stopping again. Why can’t the pee be quiet??? I probably gave myself a bladder infection with all those antics. And you better believe I let that pee be mellow. No flushing toilets in this bed sharing scenario. No way. I tip toed back to bed and slowly snuck back in one body part at a time and resumed my stiff as a board posture. Then the boredom and insomnia set in. It’s only 8:30. I should be able to sleep, but it’s 8:30 and I haven’t checked my instagram feed. I wondered if I could reach my phone off the nightstand. Nah, it’s sure to be too loud. I didn’t risk it. Not that it would have mattered cause 2.5 seconds later and that kid rolled back onto my arm and snuggled up into my armpit. Adorable yes, but not supportive to my sleep, which leads me to the second reason bed sharing sucks:
- No boundaries. Did I mention I’m not a cuddler? In fact I don’t even like pillows touching me in the night. I need a good bubble of space between me and my body in order to sleep comfortably. My husband is the opposite. If he could, he’d totally sleep the way my toddler does when sharing a bed with us, just inches away from me holding my hand or spooning. Nope. Can’t do it. Just ask my hubs. Many a night I’ve been known to actually say out loud to him, “you are too close”. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cuddle and I’m quite affectionate with those I love, but not before sleeping. When it’s sleep time, it’s back the eff off time. So as you can imagine, sharing sleep space with my needy toddler was pure agony. I slept zero. And thanked the heavens repeatedly that he sleeps in his own bed on the regular. I even started a countdown in my head until we’d be home and have our separate sleep spaces again. And while we’re on this subject, why in the hell didn’t dude want to spoon with his dad??? The hubs would have loved every second of it. And they both would have slept a glorious deep slumber all snugged up together. But no, he wanted me. The mother. I even attempted to scoot him closer to his dad, but without fail, he always managed to make his way back to me. Which brings me to the next reason bed sharing blows:
- Your relationship with your partner suffers. I mean just raising tiny humans together does a doozey on your relationship, but bed sharing in my opinion makes it 10 times worse. At home, I look forward to bedtime. When the kids are asleep in their own spaces, it finally leaves time for me and the hubs to actually like speak to each other. Sure, we try to talk to each other while the kids are awake, but most of those conversations are interrupted by poop or spit up or spilled milk or most of all a toddler that notices you are talking to anyone but him. This means you are trying to talk while being serenaded with the sound of “mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama”. If you haven’t caught my drift, the song doesn’t end until you stop talking. And that’s all just on a Tuesday. Vacation is so different. By the end of the day on vacation you are beyond exhausted and even more ready for bedtime to arrive. Well actually, why do I keep calling it vacation? Vacation with kids is not a vacation. It is for them, but not for you. I didn’t get a break from my usual duties, in fact I was doing MORE on LESS sleep. I definitely came home needing a vacation from our vacation. I could probably write a whole nother blog about all that business, but back to bed sharing and the buzz kill it puts on your marriage. On a normal day, we put our kids to bed and get an hour or two of us time, but since our toddler was wedged between us hogging all the cuddles, no us time was had on our trip. I couldn’t have felt more distant from my husband on that trip. There was no time to chat or unwind or ya know, do that other stuff husbands and wives do. With all that said, I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell couples survive sharing sleeping space with tiny humans every single day of life. Yea, yea, yea, I’ve seen this floating around on the internets so go you and your adventurous selves.
I know it’s probably very different for families that bed share on the regular. I’m sure they’ve got their own rhythm and make the things I’m complaining about work, but in the end, I still don’t think bed sharing on a regular basis would ever work for our family. At least not for very long. I would go insane without my own personal space. That’s one of the things I love about parenting. We are all different, we all have different kids, and we all find things that work for us and our children. Not all families look the same or do the same things and that’s wonderful. And what’s wonderful for me is my own damn bed without anyone touching me, husbands and toddlers alike.