The first rule of Bed Sharing is you do not talk about bed sharing.
The second rule of Bed Sharing is you DO NOT talk about bed sharing.
Hopefully, for one brief shining moment, you were able to close your blood-shot eyes and imagine a shirtless Brad Pitt.
Actually, if you are currently practicing the dark art of bed sharing and you closed your eyes for a moment, you are more than likely asleep right now. Hopefully, you’re enjoying a blissful few moments sans tiny foot in your face.
I’m sorry to have to be your reality check, but it’s time to come back to the real world now.
Bye Brad, until next time!
If you’re like a lot of parents today, your reality is that you have at least one child sleeping in your bed at night with you and your significant other. Well, if you’re lucky, it’s just the one child.
A long time ago, when I knew everything about parenting (approximately four months before I gave birth and had yet to exercise a single parenting muscle), I had all these notions of how I would be the perfect mom.
I wasn’t ever going to give my kids juice. After all, juice is a gateway sugar, and once you start down that slippery slope, it’s only a matter of time before your children are freebasing M&M’s in the bathroom.
We weren’t going to watch very much television. Any screen time that we did have would be limited and heavily educational (she types with zero shame as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plays loudly and continuously on the TV).
Most importantly, and above all else, were the sleeping arrangements. My daughter would be in her own crib in her own room that first night home from the hospital. I didn’t even want a bassinet in our bedroom because I felt it would only lead to one more thing that we would have to help her transition out of.
I think we were home for three hours before we set the bassinet up in our bedroom.
Still, I remained adamant that there was no way that I was ever brining any of our children into bed with us. It was dangerous, it would lead to bad habits, and worst of all, it was weird.
Four weeks of sleepless nights later, and my daughter was snuggled up next to me as I slept in my bed (one boob out at all times). We took precautions and were very careful to make sure that we were doing the practice as safely as possible (which is a practice that is not safe for everyone).
It was a necessary evil. After a traumatic delivery during which we both almost didn’t make it, I was having a hard time recovering. The sleep deprivation was not helping things and we were nearing a fork in the road, one which could have taken a very dark turn.
Instead, it took arguably the best turn possible, and by six weeks my daughter was sleeping mostly through the night (I know, hate me all you want, but I can’t change the past). It helped that we were breastfeeding and that I gave her unfettered access to the one thing she wanted more than anything else, the source of all of the boob juice.
Time marched on without meaning, as it does when you’re a parent, and before I knew it we were hitting the four and six-month sleep regressions. With my daughter sleeping soundly by my side, each of those sleep regressions passed relatively quickly and mostly painlessly (again, curse my name all you want, but I can’t change the past).
While a few of my friends were lamenting their sleepless nights and their struggles with their babies, I remained quiet. Mostly, I didn’t want to anger the sleep gods by saying that my daughter had reached the holy grail of parenting so early (AKA sleeping through the night), but also a little because I couldn’t tell anyone how I did it.
Because the first rule of bed sharing is you do not talk about bed sharing.
So, I kept my dirty little secret.
I didn’t want to experience the social stigma that came along with the “family bed.” That, and I didn’t want to admit to what I felt was an embarrassing truth…
I had given up on the “right” way of doing things in favor of the easy way out.
Then a funny thing happened. My husband, who is apparently immune to the rules of social convention, began talking about Fight Club bed sharing.
As it turns out, the third rule of bed sharing is that men don’t give a shit about stigma. They just care about sleeping through the night. Also, they will totally take credit for it and brag about their kid sleeping through the night, FYI.
I now know that a surprising number of our friends bed share (mostly the ones with more than one child). Apparently, the family bed is experiencing a resurgence among millennials.
This isn’t how I planned things would go, and I can’t say for certain that I would do it the same way if I had to start over again (real talk, I have been awoken in the middle of the night more than once by a heel to the nose). However, for right now, in this moment, it works for us and our family.
And if it’s working for you and yours, then that’s all that matters… because the third rule of bed sharing is give no shits and take all the sleep you can get.
image credit: jeff_golden / Flickr
About the Author
Lauren Wellbank is a thirty something wife, mother, and recovering cat enthusiast. When she isn’t too busy doing those things she writes. Read more at laurenwellbank.com and follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat @lakewidotnet.