An Open Letter To The Person Who Called Me Lazy For Co-Sleeping

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Dear Friend,

Hi. How are you? Come here and sit by me. Look! I’ve made some tea. So, I heard you called me lazy for co-sleeping. Oh, don’t squirm and look uncomfortable just because I called you out to your face while we're enjoying some delicious tea. It’s OK. I'm not going to yell. I’m just sitting here with my tea, sipping away, looking you up and down and feeling just fine about myself. But let me ask you something: who are you?

No, really. This is a sincere question because I’m curious. If you’re saying this to me, either I don’t know who you are or who you think you are. Or, perhaps I’ve got this wrong. Maybe you just don't know who I am. Yeah, that makes a little more sense. So please allow me to straighten this out a bit and tell you a few things about me since you seem to be confused about my parenting choices and personal sleeping arrangements.

There are but a handful of people in this world whose judgment can make me feel bad about myself. You, my dear, are not one of them. A declaration of judgment from anyone other than the aforementioned handful of people only serves to make me laugh, so you can take a while guess as to what I did immediately after I heard you think I'm lazy. But perhaps most importantly, please know that no one can make me feel bad for co-sleeping. Seriously. No one.

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Now, I'm not a co-sleeping evangelist. If you don't want to do it, that's cool. I don't think it's causing anyone any harm not to co-sleep. If putting your child to bed in their own room or crib is what works for you, your child, and the rest of your family, then by all means keep at it. Because my parenting philosophy, more often than not, boils down to "whatever works." And by "work," I mean it has to satisfy you, satisfy your child's needs, and be sustainable for a given period of time.

There are but a handful of people in this world whose judgment can make me feel bad about myself. You, my dear, are not one of them.

And, as I am sure you have surmised by now, co-sleeping covers all those bases for me. Now, are there other options out there that also work? Yes, and I think this is what you're getting at. Some of these options require more effort than others. Perhaps you feel that the extra effort is worth it. Maybe it is for you, either because co-sleeping doesn't work for you or you just feel super-compelled to put in the extra effort. But me? I feel absolutely no obligation to work any harder than I am now. As it is I work really, really hard at this whole mom thing. That's not being lazy, that's pacing myself and realizing that I'm going to be doing a lot of other things that will require the extra effort. I want to have the energy for whatever that is.

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Here's another thing you should know: I used to be just like you. I called co-sleeping, and the people who engaged in it, lazy and co-dependent, and reckless, and any number of other pejorative things. But then do you know what happened? I actually had a kid and I realized that "whatever works" isn't lazy. In some (read: most) cases, it's survival. Raising an imaginary baby is far more cut and dry than raising an actual one. I also did some research on the topic and, as it turns out, co-sleeping cannot only be done safely, but there is evidence that there are, in fact, benefits to the practice.

I used to be just like you. I called co-sleeping, and the people who engaged in it, lazy and co-dependent, and reckless, and any number of other pejorative things. But then do you know what happened? I actually had a kid and I realized that "whatever works" isn't lazy.

But enough about me. I have another question for you... Seriously? Is this is a good use of your time? Judging how other people are getting through parenthood? Because I'm thinking there are so many other actually problems worthy of your thoughts, words, and efforts. I can't tell you what to do because you're a grown-ass person but I would urge you to, perhaps, look into getting your dander up about any of those issues in lieu of this complete non-issue.

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Look, you aren't bothering me with your baseless accusations. Honestly the stick up your backside is sort of amusing to me. As a woman and a mother and a human being who has an opinion on the internet every once in a while, I'm used to this (and, frankly, way, way worse). But other parents might be hurt or discouraged by being called lazy, and the last thing we need to do, as moms and dads, is to bring other parents down, especially when what their doing is a valid, personal decision that in no way affects anyone outside of the bed they're sharing.

So please, before you call someone else lazy without knowing where they're coming from, think twice. And then maybe, just maybe, they will offer you the same courtesy before judging you.

Sincerely,

“Whatever Works” Me