by Kimberly Froeschner
A few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on this topic...Kimberly brings her own perspective to TMOM this morning. Leave a comment and let us know your opinions! ~KB
There's a strange thing going on in our house. My daughter has picked up on the fact that my husband frequently sleeps in my step-son's room (who is in college) and I sleep in our master bedroom. She often refers to the rooms as "Mama's room" or "Daddy's room". Our house is not the only house where this is happening. Let me explain.
Many, many tricks were attempted and each new thing we tried failed. I resorted to sleeping on our couch, with my daughter in my arms, a sheet wrapped carefully and tightly around my cradling arm to make sure we had no accidents. (Please do not try this at home. I do not advocate this approach for others and am well aware of the dangers of this situation, but at the time felt that the complete lack of sleep we were getting as a family was becoming far more dangerous.)
This trick worked about 3 months, then we found the Graco Sweetpeace. This is not a paid advertisement for Graco, but this thing was a miracle for us. I slowly managed to transition my child to the papasan-like seat where she would sleep the usual amount of time that babies should be sleeping. This was great, but we still had the issue of nighttime feedings, a husband that slept very lightly and a small house. He slept in our bedroom and I stayed on the couch, but this time had the baby in the seat on the floor beside me within reach. I would go to sleep with one hand on her because without that, she was awake right away.
This sleeping apart thing got old and so we moved the seat into the bedroom and all slept in the same room for a while. My light-sleeper husband had a hard time sleeping through her regular waking in the night and shifted himself to the couch. And so it went with musical beds through the house. As she got older, we were able to move her to her own crib where she still, to this day at three years old, often wakes at least once in the night and one of us will have to go in and find the paci or lay her back down and pat for a minute before she goes back to sleep.
Now we're both working parents and still not getting enough sleep at night, so we have developed a sort of system for trading off. But...because of the small house and light sleeper, we are still often in separate bedrooms - at least during the week. My mother discovered this fact and immediately became concerned that something might be going wrong in our marriage. I tried to explain this was purely a sleeping arrangement and could even be considered to be saving our marriage, because without sleep, you don't want to be around either of us. I talked to some friends and discovered this sort of arrangement is more common than you think. One friend said a lot would be solved at her house if she had one kid in bed with her and her husband slept in another bed with the other kid. They could all get a lot more sleep.
I'm okay with the current state of things because we must sleep and I see this as temporary. My husband feels the same way. I even think that when my child is finally allowing all of us to sleep through the night, it may even be like another honeymoon phase. After all, what we're giving up is shared time in the same bed *asleep*. But when my daughter started calling it "Mama's room" and "Daddy's room", I didn't like it. I'm less concerned with how the outside world views what goes on in our house, but I don't want my daughter to see this as "normal". So now I have the internal conflict of "this works for us right now" versus "this must stop".
I feel sure there are those who would tell me to let her "cry it out", but the time for that has long passed (and we tried it). At three, she can yell and scream actual words which makes it much more difficult to ignore. She can also jump up and down, throw the blankets out of the crib, etc. So I guess we do the best we can until this "phase" passes. Although I recall not being asleep at midnight many times when I was in elementary school, so we could have a ways to go.
One day, surely before she goes to college, perhaps it will be "my parents' room" again instead of "Mama's room" or "Daddy's room". We can only hope.