6 teen weeks and counting

{August 20, 2011}   Dirty Little Secret

Several weeks ago, a few of my relatives and I were having a conversation in my parents backyard.  The attention had shifted to me after my Aunt had brought up the fact that my eldest son shouldn’t be sleeping in my bed.  You see, her granddaughter has been having a rough time with the fact that she is being transitioned to her own bed after nine years of happily snoozing in her parents bed.  So naturally I am being informed of how I should really be considering getting Mason to sleep in HIS own bed.

I don’t have a problem with Mason sleeping in my bed.  I don’t have a significant other to object to it and there’s something about seeing him so peaceful and warm that just melts my heart.  Our story of bed sharing isn’t the traditional exhausted mom letting baby sleep in bed.  Mason preferred his crib from day one.  When I had Mason I was still in the Army and Mason (and not-so-later his brother AJ) faced moving around a lot.  We moved from Germany to Ft. Bliss, Texas when he was 18 months old and my then-husband and I immediately discovered that we were both going to be deployed within months of each other.  Mason and AJ both went to live with my parents for a whole year while I was gone.  After getting back and having my boys back into my home, Mason cried in his bed at night which was unusual for him.  I welcomed him into my bed at night because I had missed him (and AJ) so much that I wanted every opportunity I could get to be with him, to breath him in, to see his sweet face.  We faced another move when I had to leave my husband (their father) and come back to Napa.  Mason continued to sleep in my bed, probably because it was one of the places he felt the safest.

My game plan about Mason’s bed sharing was that he wasn’t going to be forced not to go to college because he had to sleep in Mommy’s bed at night.  But I felt so judge, so embarrassed about my bed sharing to the rest of the world.  Once again, I was feeling like a failure when my Aunt and my Dad were worried about how Mason would be affected by bed sharing.  Just look at her granddaughter, my Aunt would point out.  Now, I’m not saying that my Aunt and my Dad were being big bullies about the subject or anything.  I just really value their opinions because they are highly educated and intelligent people.  Their word is golden to me.

That night I went Super Nanny on Mason.  He cried for at least an hour then finally fell asleep.  I posted my accomplishments of breaking the bed sharing cycle on Facebook for all my friends and family to see.  I had a friend inquire about how I got Mason to sleep in his bed since she has a daughter that sleeps with her.  When I told her she responded with basically my same “game plan”  I had for Mason originally;  her daughter isn’t going to be sleeping in her bed forever.  So I decided to arm myself with some online research to convince her how bad it is to let her daughter to continue sleeping in her bed with her.  And guess what?  I couldn’t find it.  I found more articles and research finding that  kids aren’t negatively affected by bed sharing.  As in, it really doesn’t matter if your kid sleeps with your or in their own bed, as long as it’s working for your family then it is fine.  Some pointed out that in Europe and Asia they have been doing it for years.  I was dumbfounded at first.  Then I admitted to my friend that she was right.  Go figure.

I learned a good rule of thumb in parenting that day.  You’re going to get a lot of advise on how to raise your kids.  Go with your gut and do your research.  I may even go with my old battalion’s motto:  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  As for Mason, he was glad to know that he wasn’t condemned to another night of sleeping in a place that just wasn’t comfortable to him.  And I get to keep waking up to the cutest little face on earth.


As a mother, I love this post.
As a teacher, I love this post.
You show your exploration of this debatable topic so that we can all see your thought process. I’m curious if others might want to weigh in on their views (or family views) on this.
I am also aware of the research you found, and it is very compelling. I remember reading somewhere that young children sleeping separately is a 20th century “invention.” This is definitely a topic that can have us looking at what is “natural” or “cultural.”

I don’t have a younger sibling, but I can see where you are getting at. I think that it really shouldn’t matter if your son is bed sharing; there will come a time that he will probably prefer his own bed over yours, and I guess that will just be the natural order of things. No need to force into something he doesn’t feel comfortable doing. Glad that you went the extra step to find that evidence as well; I would have never known that little tidbit about how bed sharing doesn’t hurt a child’s psyche.

rsandoval023 says:

i am not married nor have children, but i do see a lot of this at my girlfriends household. her younger brother, which is 7 years old still sleeps with whom ever has a spot open for him, although he has his own bed. He mainly sleeps with his parents but makes some exceptions sometimes. He is terrified of the dark (as most kids are) and gets real scared when he finds himself sleeping alone. He’s always had to sleep with someone and he is used to it now. unlike you their parents are together and it can get very crowded in one bed for 3 people. he is growing day by day and eventually will have to make that transition as well.

I highly believe in doing and/or following what your gut feeling tells you to do. theres no book out there that can teach you how to be a perfect parent (because theres no such thing). There will always be advise on how to raise your kids, but ultimately its up to you to decide what seems reasonable. we are only human who make mistakes, but its our duty to take note of it, perfect it, and move on.

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