Most mornings I wake up with children in my bed. Of course they are mine, because otherwise that would be weird. Still, with an almost nine year old and an almost six year old many of you may, in fact, think it's weird.
To me, this is normal. In fact it's become somewhat of a comfort. After all those years of worrying about sleep training and bed times and routines, I find I no longer mind waking up with a hand on my face or a small fry snuggled into my back. My kids do sleep the majority of the night in their beds. We start out there, I promise, but somewhere around three or four I have a little person climb in. Sometimes I feel it and know, other times I wake up with an extra body in the bed.
I kind of like that. I like waking up to find a smiling face next to me. Or waking up to a really serene face, absent of tears or anger that will most certainly pop up during the day. I have yet to find a better greeting than a smiling face on the pillow next to me.
You all must think I'm nuts. Musical beds is a horrible thing to experience in the middle of the night. Night waking, sleep walking, trips to the potty, I must be a crazy person. When Caitlin was a baby, I would have already stopped reading this blog post and called my best friend to complain about that dumb bitch blogger who things co-sleeping is magical.
But co-sleeping is magical if it's what you want.
I didn't always want co-sleeping. Not even a little when I began my journey as a mother. Co-sleeping was the absolute worst thing you could do to your child and your marriage. Co-sleeping was for those crunchy granola moms who lived on communes. Babies, I was told, sleep in cribs, then toddler beds, then in real beds. If they don't sleep on their own, then the answer was to let them cry, show them whos boss, and if you don't, then they will most definitely end up a serial killer or a college drop out.
True story. In my early days of parenting this was almost biblical law.
I fought that battle. I cried it out while we collectively cried it out. I argued with the Hubbs for weeks and months. I spent months trying to sleep train a child who hated her crib, who couldn't abide by a swing, who to this day never sleeps in the car. Never. I spent months feeling like the worlds worst mother, lying to people who asked about my child's sleep schedule and bed time routines.
Why? For what?
I was embarrassed. I was afraid of judgment. I was afraid I had failed.
Today, waking up to my sleeping child in my bed does not feel like failure.
If I'm honest, it feels like love.
A few Saturdays ago, I woke to Miss Mac playing with my hair. She was in my bed, on my side, after crawling in overnight. When I opened my eyes, she smiled that crazy, missing one tooth, up to no good smile. I loved it. It was an amazing way to wake up, and it was a moment I just wanted to bottle for future reference, because this won't last forever. One day, before I know it, she will be a teenager. A teenager that sleeps over at her friends. Our little moments, the magical ones, they will happen less and less. I get that. I get that while I was fighting so hard for my girls to sleep in their own beds, I was kind of missing the point. The point that all those moments, the good and the bad are fleeting. The point that giving in is sometimes the best thing for everyone. Even if it feels a little like failure in the beginning, it just may have a perfectly rational and equally wonderful silver lining.
Nothing in motherhood lasts forever. NOTHING. Your co-sleeping thing, if you are doing it, will vanish eventually. If you are having trouble with breastfeeding, soon that won't matter either, you'll be on to some other struggle like solids or teething. That baby that wants you to hold her so much and for so long, she'll be walking soon. It sucks. All of it, because time is a bitch, motherhood is her BFF, and one day, all that hard shit will end, and you'll cry. You'll have a big fat ugly cry, because you made it, and because you you know you can never go back.
You can't go back to the hard stuff thank God, but you can't go back to the great stuff either.
Co-sleeping isn't for everyone. You may be reading this now and wondering how my husband and I have alone time. I promise we have plenty. Also we use the lock on our bedroom door, duh. Feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and failure aren't for everyone either. In fact they are not for me. Not if I'm going to be a good mother. I can't be worried about judgment and guilt if I'm going to "mother" today. It's just not possible. At the end of the day, I am a good mother. I'm not perfect. I'm not entirely sane. I'm just good. As good as I can be, and probably better than I was yesterday.
I wake up with my kids in my bed, and hit the snooze button.
And if I could hit the snooze button on this moment in motherhood right now, I most certainly would.