Despite the fact that co-sleeping has gone from a big cultural “no no”, to being a huge parenting “Yes” tick box, I am not afraid to say that I hate co-sleeping. I absolutely hate it.
Let’s read that again … I hate co-sleeping. I don’t hate my children, I just don’t want them sleeping in my bed anymore!
If you aren’t familiar with the term co-sleeping, a co sleeper is when you let your kids sleep in your bed with you. Basically you share any bed or sleeping surface with your children.
Why? You might ask …
Well, picture the scene:
It is 07.15am on a Sunday morning and I am lying on the sofa trying to sleep but more pissed off and exhausted, so sleep isn’t likely to happen. My kids tiptoe into the lounge and DARE to ask me if they can watch TV, to which I respond, “No, you can’t watch TV now. Go read a book. Mommy is NOT getting up.”
Of course they whined so much that I did in fact get up and go back to my bed so they could watch TV.
So, Why Do I Hate Co-Sleeping?
Well, it’s not all bad.
Most nights start off really well. Especially school nights. My girls are excellent at going to bed in their own beds, on time, with minimal fuss. And it’s been like that for years. I admit it, and I am extremely grateful for it.
But there is a flip side to that smug coin!
At least one night during the week, and usually every night of the weekend, at least one or the other of the girls will end up in our bed. Sometimes even both.
This is not a problem for my husband. He’s a cuddler. He is literally the best co sleeper. I am not. In actual fact I am convinced that the girls creep into our bed during the night seeking him out. They want his welcoming warmth and a warm cuddle. Everytime we get a bigger bed, he claims its for us, but I know it’s because he would be quite happy with a family bed. To a point.
I’m not sure, but I think this is the whole foundation for the co sleepers, the pro-co-sleeping movement. The fact that it provides a warm, safe and comforting environment for your child. I’m not denying that there are many benefits of co sleeping …
But it doesn’t work for me. I hate co-sleeping and I’m not afraid to say it.
What do they actually do that’s so bad?
The seven year old sleeps with her knees tucked up … in my back. She somehow manages to wedge her knees right under my rib cage. In addition to that, she can be a bit of a talker. I could live with the talking, but the rib cage attack, is not on really.
My 5 year old is a kicker! And she’s been like this for 5 years. I’m not joking. Despite being bigger now, she is still capable of turning so that she is sleeping width ways between my husband and I, and will then literally kick me in the head. Her head always go to him, and her feet always go to me.
Some Shocking Home Truths … duhn duhn duhn!!
Last night whilst we were discussing the sleeping situation, they seemed quite surprised when I explained that despite mommy and daddy sleeping in the same bed for nearly 14 years, not once have either of us ever kicked the other in the head! Intentionally or unintentionally. Never.
I know right!
What Actually Went Down?
We went to bed at 09.00pm last night. By 10.30 I was tired of being kneed in the back so I went to sleep on the sofa.
At about 01.00am the 5 year old woke up and wanted me to go sleep with her in her bed (the bottom of the bunk bed). I asked her to please sleep in her sisters bed, at the top, since her sister was in my bed! But she wanted to be with me. So I got in. She proceeded to kick me and slap me repeatedly, so I decided to go back to the sofa.
I suppose I could have got on the top bunk, but I am 37 years old, and I don’t want to! Not that I haven’t done it, but trying to sleep up there is like sleeping on a boat!
Then at 05.30am the cat started vomiting. I shit you not. That sound gets me up quicker than a crying child. So I had to deal with that, and then I went back to my bed, where the 7 year old and husband were sleeping soundly.
Then at 07.00am I couldn’t take it anymore, the kneeing and talking that is. And so I went to the loo, and then flushed the toilet with all the pent up exhaustion and anger I could muster … and went back to the sofa. Again.
Not even 5 minutes later both kids are awake asking me to go back to bed so that they can watch TV! Seriously!
And my husband, well he sleeps through it all. The kicking, the whinging, the bed hopping, the toilet flushing and the cat vomiting. Seriously!
I just can’t do it anymore.
I wrote a post about this a few years ago, claiming that co-sleeping is a myth. Not because I don’t believe that people do it, but because of the whole ‘sleep’ element. Because I am certainly not getting any sleep.
I have already declared this morning that they are not allowed in the bed anymore. I’m sure that declaration holds as much weight as a cobweb!
Do I Have Other Reasons for hating co-sleeping
Yes. Yes I do.
You know how when you’re pregnant, or contemplating having children, or even just thinking about it hypothetically, there is the rhetoric that you hear from your older relatives [amongst everything else about parenting] that children should sleep in their own beds.
When I was nearly 9 months pregnant with my second child, my eldest [22 months old] would only fall asleep being pushed in her pushchair. And I couldn’t take it anymore.
My husband stepped in, took her out the pram, put her in the bed with him, and after a few nights of a lot of crying and tantrums from her [and me], it started to work. Well, the pushing stopped. But then we had another ‘problem’ on our hands, or so I thought. Although back then I had bigger issues to deal with.
But I do remember sitting in the lounge, listening to her crying and screaming and hating the whole situation, but being too tired and pregnant to do anything about it. I hated it because I didn’t want her to sleep in my bed because I thought it was wrong.
I Know Better. But I Can’t Turn It Off.
On some level the rhetoric had penetrated and I was feeling ashamed. Ashamed that I couldn’t put my child to sleep in her own bed (at 23 months old). Ashamed that my husband had to take it on, surely as her mother I should have done it. Ashamed that I was too tired to do anything about it, but let it happen.
I know now that that is ridiculous. And that’s no longer the reason I hate co-sleeping. Now, it’s purely because of the kicking, slapping and back-ache.
It’s because I’m tired.
And after parenting for 7 and a half years, I just want to sleep properly without waking up, for the kids, or the cat, or the toilet flushing, or the wind blowing. Any of it. None of it. I just want to sleep in peace. Is that too much to ask?
I hate co-sleeping, and I’m not afraid to say it. Bring on the haters!
So tell me, are you a pro-co-sleeper? Or are your kids feral and you just want to sleep in peace!