Co-sleeping is not for the faint at heart, especially if you're co-sleeping with a toddler. There are the challenges that come with co-sleeping itself, plus its implications for your romantic relationship (if you're partnered), plus shrugging off any judgmental extended family or friends or internet commenters. There are many co-sleeping moments that prove you're a badass mom, so consider yourself "official" if you can check off even one of the following.
Of course, there are lots of mamas out there who can check off most or even all of these, too. If that's you, definitely pat yourself on the back (but don't get too outwardly cocky about it, lest you anger the parenting gods. That's a good way to get peed on in the middle of the night). A nice, quiet celebration, perhaps a silent victory dance accompanied by a glass of wine, probably won’t make anybody too mad, though. (Haha, who am I kidding? We’re moms, literally everything we do will make somebody mad.)
Well, at least you’re getting some sleep every night, right? Certainly more than you would if your little one was serenading you with the anguished wail of their people, or else you wouldn’t be co-sleeping at all. You can do this, Badass Co-Sleeping Mama. Apparently, no child has ever co-slept forever. Sure, it seems like some of our children may be trying to challenge that undeniable fact but, as of right now, the odds do seem to be in our favor. In the meantime, we can take pride in the many small victories we rack up along the way, including:
When You Don't Completely Flip Out After Taking A Blow To The Face
If you can get awakened by a stray knee to the face without screaming or reactively punching your kid and/or partner, take a giant bow. You've achieved grab-the-fly-out-of-the-teacher's-hand levels of equanimity, and are basically a freakin' angel.
When You Manage Not To Fall Off The Tiny Sliver Of Bed That Still Belongs To You
Hey, your postpartum core strength might not be what it once was (yet), but it's definitely putting in work if you're hanging onto the bed despite your toddler's nighttime gymnastics.
When You Master Nursing While Staying Mostly (Or Fully) Asleep
You know you've accomplished major nursing mom goals the moment you're like, "I don't remember waking up to nurse you at all, but I know you must have eaten quite a bit because OMG your diaper right now."
When You Figure Out How To Quickly Handle A Soaked Diaper Situation And Get Everyone Back To Sleep ASAP
Bonus points if you just keep spare sheets and/or towels in your room, specifically in case your kid's bladder outsmarts the overnight diapers. Again.
When You're Not At All Embarrassed By How Cheesy You Sound When You Describe Waking Up With A Smiling Baby/Toddler...
I mean, waking up and seeing the most adorable face in the world smiling and giggling at you while early morning sunlight gently shines on them? If you didn't have a bruise from being kneed in the ribs overnight, you'd swear you were still dreaming.
...Or Wallowing In Baby Cuddles
Their cheeks won't be this soft forever. They won't always fit so perfectly in the crook of your arm. Soak it all up now, and while you still can.
When You Figure Out How To Maintain Your Sex Life
Yep, it's possible, and yep, you and your partner have figured it out. Don't even waste time patting yourselves on the back, pat each other somewhere else. Now, like right now, before you lose your chance!
When You Expertly Shut Down Any And All Judgment
How would you like your comeuppance, Infrequently Seen Family Member or Random Internet Commenter? In the form of well-cited scholarly research, or a withering side-eye? We've got both, in spades.
When You Sacrifice Extra Fluffy Bedding For Safety’s Sake
Goodbye, giant fluffy body pillow. We shall meet again someday, hopefully before my toddler reaches kindergarten. (No promises.)
When You Rearrange Your Room To Accommodate Baby Furniture
Extra credit if your little sidecar crib or co-sleeper arrangement either resembles an elaborate fort, or looks good enough to blog about and/or post on Pinterest afterward.
When You Decide To Prioritize Sleep Over Whatever The Haters Say
What's that, Aunt So-And-So? I'm spoiling my kid? Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of my entire family snoring because we've actually figured out a way to get some sleep.
When You Decide To Change Your Sleep Arrangements Once They're No Longer Working For You
Just like you know you can make whatever co-sleeping choice works for your family, you also know that you don't have to sacrifice your health, rest, or sanity in order to be part of some kind of co-sleeping/attachment parenting cult, either. If it's no longer working, it's no longer working, and that's totally cool, too.
Three (quiet, dignified) cheers for mamas unapologetically making changes whenever those changes need to be made.