One of my favorite times of day is the end of it, when I look over to find my son calmly slumbering away in my bed. It’s not something that happens every night anymore, but when it does I enjoy it. I stare in awe of this beautiful little kid and think, “I made him!” It’s a nice feeling, but it's also one that can be soured by people who think they should have a say in my family's sleeping arrangements. To that I say: Nah. I’m not about to apologize for bed-sharing. Not now, and not ever, and certainly not to the person who will never look at my sleeping son the way I do.
Thankfully, negative comments about bed-sharing aren't really something I hear all that often anymore. When I do, it tends to be a snarky response to a complaint I've decided to make. You know, like when I talk about how my kid was kicking my face all night long. And instead of throwing me a sign of solidarity or some well-mannered empathy, someone decides to tell me that I “did this to myself.” Annoying, sure, but I also know that those people will never understand why anyone bed-shares with their kid. And hey, that’s cool. We all do what works best for our families, right? It’s just that when you try to tell me I’m wrong about something as loving and harmless as bed-sharing, I get a little annoyed.
I know I'm not the only mother in the world who made the decision to bed-share with her child. Which means I know I'm not the only bed-sharing mom who has had to face consistent criticism for this particular parenting choice. Hell, maybe you’ve got a little 6-month-old child you’ve transferred to your bed because babies smell amazing and breastfeeding is easier this way and all the other personal, legitimate reasons for choosing to share a bed with your kid. And if anyone gives you a hard time about it, don’t be afraid to invoke any of these argument and shut them down:
As long as I'm not doing anything to actually harm my child — like bed-sharing when I'm wasted or beating my child or refusing to feed him —I don’t see why anyone should voice their opinion when it comes to my parenting choices. I definitely don't understand why anyone would want to try and force me to do things "their way," especially since the whole "every parent, every child, and every family is different" thing is common knowledge.
Some people don’t realize how many times I’ve tried to establish a bedtime routine for my kid that involves him sleeping in his own bed. Yes, it’s possible for him to sleep in it. Yes, I'm sure if I signed over every single second of my free time to the "bedtime fight," I could get him to stay in his bed all night long. But, like, why? That takes so much time and effort, and I'm exhausted. I want snuggles, and I want my son near me, and I want to enjoy the end of my day. Why is that a problem?
My kid is currently experiencing a fun thing called night terrors. It’s like nightmares, except it’s like this weird momentary thing where he’s possessed by something while he’s sleeping and starts shrieking in fear. Sometimes I find him crying, but he doesn't have his eyes open. It makes me sad, but I know that when he’s near me, I can calm him down quickly. It’s my problem to handle, no one else’s.
Bedtime snuggles are the best. This is my happy place (especially when my kid’s been bouncing off the walls for hours on end throughout the day).
Yes, there are unsafe ways to bed-share. No, I’ve never done any of them. My partner and I started bed-sharing when my son was older, and I’ve always followed the safety guidelines to make sure my son is always OK. So, you know, there.
It's like I blinked and my newborn became an almost 4-year-old, you guys. It’s wild, really. I know we don’t have that much time left in the bed-sharing phase. He’s not going to want to snuggle with me when he’s 15, and I won’t want to snuggle with him, either. So might as well enjoy it while I still can. YOLO, mom-style.
When I vent to a friend, they don’t always get that all I really want is for them to listen and nod sympathetically. So trust me when I say that you don’t need to give me a bunch of lectures on parenting. It’s my cross to bear.
Mom guilt is very real and spans everything from how you gave birth to how long you were breastfeeding to what you feed your kid. We, as mothers, are made to feel bad about all of our parenting decisions, and for absolutely no reason. I’m over it.
As a woman I'm constantly been made to feel as though I have to apologize all the damn time. And, really, mom guilt is just an extension of the basic societal punishment of all women for simply existing in a male-dominated society. Yep, that’s right: I’m bringing my feminism game into this. If you don’t like it, too damn bad. I’m done apologizing for who I am. And if you’re reading this and this all feels too familiar, maybe you should quit apologizing, too.
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