There's a lot of discussion and debate regarding the best way to get a child into their sleep groove. Some parents advocate setting a sleep routine right away. Other parents take a slightly crunchier approach and opt for co-sleeping or bed-sharing. While each situation comes with its own unique set of challenges, there are issues both sleep training and co-sleeping moms have to deal with. This is a good metaphor for parenting in general: most of the time we're working through the same nonsense, just in different ways.
I co-slept with my children for 10 and 16 months (my daughter was a much more considerate co-sleeper than my son, so she got to stay in bed longer) and then sleep trained them both afterwards. And while both experiences were rewarding, difficult, and the right thing to do, what ultimately struck me is how very little difference either choice made when it came to my relationship with my children (or, for that matter, my partner). Ultimately, it didn't matter whether they were in bed with me or on their own in their cribs.
Often we delineate motherhood by who does what. Who breastfeeds? Who formula feeds? Who babywears? Who uses a stroller? Who cloth diapers? Who uses disposables? Who works outside the home? Who stays at home? But these divisions are cosmetic. As my adage-loving grandfather is fond of saying: "There is more that unites us than divides us." (He pretends he coined this quote. He did not, but I don't have the heart to tell him I can easily Google it.) So with that in mind, here are just a few things both sleep training and co-sleeping moms have to deal with on a, sadly, regular basis: