- I am a self proclaimed safe sleep psycho. Everyone has their own feelings on where members of the family should sleep. Mine formed long before parenthood. I unfortunately witnessed some devastating consequences of unsafe sleep practices working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. For this reason, I knew I could never add anything to my son’s crib and I could never co-bed. I could barely sleep after he was born for a probably unhealthy fear of SIDS. Maybe it was post-partum anxiety, but the least I could do to assuage that fear was to make his environment as AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) safe sleep compliant as possible. Or as a family member joked, “prison like”. No fluff, no pillows/bumpers, tight fitting crib sheet, and a sleep sack rather than loose blankets. Maybe I will give him a blanket as a high school graduation present.
- I am a bad mom when I don’t sleep. Of course like all new moms I have functioned on not enough sleep but I am not nearly as engaging. Those days often involve a screen and a lot of “independent” play. I don’t sleep well when my husband tosses and turns. Let alone if I were dealing with my toddlers acrobatic sleep. Seriously the kid is all over the place.
- I believe in self soothing. I know I will get a lot of eye rolls especially from the attachment parenting cohort, but to me raising a child who is learning to manage their feelings is a measure of resiliency. Of course I will be there if he needs me. Sickness, teething and nightmares are part of being a parent. I would never expect him to handle these things on his own but a random night waking, he’s got that! I am also learning this as I go. Sometimes I am too present sometimes probably not present enough, but we are figuring it out. This is something my husband and I both feel very strongly about and it works for us.
- My kid won’t do it. When he was tiny I never allowed it (see number one). Recently we found ourselves with a sleepless toddler in a hotel room (or torture chamber for families as I like to call them). I pulled our boy out of the pack and play and tried to get him to settle on me. He wouldn’t do it. He thought that meant it was time to play. This my friends is how you end up driving around Dallas at 3 am with a singing toddler.
- It’s important to us as a couple. From talking to friends co-bedding can really impact relationships if both adults aren’t on board. My husband and I try to have State of the Union conversations every so on to check in on issues. This is one on which we have never disagreed. Not that there aren’t others because #marriage. We believe children function best when the marriage comes first.
I will never claim to be some sort of parenting expert. I have one kid with another on the way and am figuring this out just like everyone else. I truly thought we would keep B in our room until 6 months in his bassinet, but at 8 weeks to his nursery he went. The best piece of parenting advice I ever received was when I was pregnant with my son, “Parent within your personality.” You do yourself and your children a disservice when you try to become someone you are not. For me that means separate sleep spaces.