Hello, friends, and welcome to my meticulously detailed and extensively researched Hot Mess Mom's Guide to Co-Sleeping: the guide for hot mess moms, by a hot mess mom. This handy template will help you as you flail your way through the ins and outs of co-sleeping, from accidentally not know how the hell you ever started to not not knowing how the hell you're ever going to stop.
As a hot mess mom myself, I know the unique challenges that face, which enables me to know your pain and speak to you in a way you can understand. Please do not mistake my guidance for condescension. Like you, I'm far from perfect. Every morning I put my unwashed yoga pants one leg at a time... and I usually trip in the process.
Life can be challenging for hot messes like you and me. Some call us flaky and impractical, but I say we are whimsical and free-spirited and society just doesn't, like, get us. Besides, we have a lot on our plates and we're doing what we can, when we can, to get by.
So if you're a self-described hot mess and want to know, "Yes, but how will co-sleeping work for me?" this is the guide for you. May it usher you through this exciting and sometimes harrowing time with grace... or at least as much grace as we are physically capable of, which honestly isn't all that much (but we still manage to make it look charming):
Have Zero Plans In Place Before Baby Is Born
You're not one of those moms who researched co-sleeping ahead of time and made all necessary preparations. You very likely didn't even buy a sleep surface for your baby until they started crowning and you ordered something really quick online. Maybe you tried nesting at one point, but it was basically just you getting a bug up your ass really quick, making a mess of everything in the name of "organizing," then saying, "You know what? I'll deal with this later" and never getting around to it.
You're a last minute (if ever) kinda gal. Nothing about this has been thought out ahead of time.
Freak Out When You Realize You Accidentally Co-Slept
You didn't plan to co-sleep the first time, either. You were just so tired and the idea of sitting upright in a chair seemed impossible to you. So you thought, "I'll just feed them in bed and lie here for a minute. Just one minute to gather the gumption to get up, because I can't right now." The next thing you know you wake up and the sunlight is starting to stream through your windows: there you are, and there's your baby, just starting to stir next to you. You immediately fly into a panic.
Beat Yourself Up
Because OMG what if something happened? What if you rolled on top of them? What if your partner rolled on top of them? What if they were smothered by something in the bed that you didn't even know could smother them? What if they fell off the bed completely? How could you have done such a thing? Someone call that creepy lady from Game of Thrones who just says "Shame!" over and over and rings a bell. You deserve it for your hot mess sins. Shame! Shame! Shame!
Swear Off Co-Sleeping & Then Wonder How The Baby Keeps Getting In Bed With You
"I will never let that happen again!" you promise... until the next night when you're super tired and the baby cries and you're like, "OK, well now I've learned my lesson. So this time I'm just going to cuddle them here a minute and then I'll get up and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."
You will only vaguely remember doing this the next morning. The truth is you've probably entered a permanent Parent Coma for the next few months (or years) where, asleep or awake, life sort of passes you by in a haze and you do what you must in order to survive. Your body and brain are basically on autopilot. So in your few moments of lucidity, when you first wake up and think, "Oh sh*t, I've done it again" you will try to piece together the events that led up to you co-sleeping. Again.
If you went to college, you will recall this sensation from many a Sunday morning with your roommates.
Realize This Works For You & Calm Down
After a few days (or weeks) of this little ritual, you think to yourself, "Actually, this is the new normal and it's the only way any of us is going to be able to get enough sleep to function." So you sort of breathe a sigh, relax your shoulders, bobble your top knot (because you're a hot mess, so of course your hair is always in a top knot) and decide, "You know what? I know there's a way we can do this safely. This is going to be OK."
You become slightly less of a mess.
Frantically & Haphazardly Research Co-Sleeping
You pick up a few books, do a whole lot of Google searches, and poll all the moms in all your online mom groups. You drown in a sea of opinions and studies and How To guides until they all blur together and you can't remember what's fact and what's opinion.
Eventually it will become clear and everything will fall into place. But at first things can be a little overwhelming because #WelcomeToParenthood.
Always Have At Least One Boob Out
Whether or not you're breastfeeding, this is going to happen to you, especially if you go to bed in a tank top. There's a practicality involved here for nursing moms, though, because chances are your co-sleeping baby will want to roll over and have a nip of nip and, well, if you just leave it out everyone can get what they want without really waking up. This is what I like to call "winning at life."
Ignore Any & All Messes On Your Sheets
Just wait until the next morning to effectively deal with it. I mean, do you really want to wake everyone up to change the sheets right now? Throw a towel over it so no one gets it on them and you're going to be fine. The mess can wait, but your rest can't.
This also goes for leaked breast milk and, on occasion, a small amount of baby pee. Like, it's basically sterile, you guys. It's nothing a strategically placed towel can't handle until morning.
Have A Terrible Grasp On Who Should Be Where
Co-sleeping is basically like playing human Tetris and, as a hot mess, you are really bad with matters involving spatial intelligence. So either your baby or your partner is going to wind up with a solid half of the bed. You will get basically nothing because you are constitutionally incapable of asserting your space without waking anyone and you're too nervous to wake anyone, so you will likely wind up on the edge or at the bottom of the bed like the family dog, and perhaps even with the family dog, which is as depressing at it is symbolic.
Despite the inconveniences listed above, you will come to a place where you love the snuggles and the warmth, and the opportunity to be close to your baby. It's comforting to have everyone's heartbeat in one bed... also it's a great way for your discombobulated ass to keep a handle on everything that might otherwise confuse and overwhelm you.
Eventually Get Completely Fed Up With It
Because no matter how much you love snuggles, there's only so long you can love sleeping with a foot in your face and one buttcheek hanging off the edge of your mattress.
Have No Plan Or Idea About How To Get Baby Out Of Your Bed
You started all this by accident and now you have no effective exit strategy. You're like Daenerys Targaryen in Season 5 of Game of Thrones: you want to leave Meereen, but you're in too deep and now you're stuck until assassins in masks come to take you out.
This metaphor may not be as sound as I thought. But the point remains: you want out but attempting separation is even tougher.
I've no advice to give you, as this is something you need to flounder out of on your own.
Kiss Your Child When They Move Out Of Your House & Celebrate The Fact That Your Bed Is Once Again Yours
OK, OK: your child will not be sleeping with you until they go to college. Eventually they'll be in their own bed... but some days this will seem like the only way out.
Godspeed, Hot Mess Mom.