A (rather long) while back, I wrote about parenting experts not truly being experts – the so-called experts possibly just have more tools in their parenting toolbox than other parents. In that particular piece, I highlighted how, pre-children, I was a “cry it out” expert; then, I had children.
During my son’s phase of sleeping in our bed, I realized quickly that crying-it-out would be a major detriment to him. Although he was home with me during the day, and I needed the physical space some nights, my son’s need for either my husband’s or my physical presence superseded my desires for continuing the cry-it-out method.
Other like-minded friends assured me – when he was ready, he would sleep on his own. Some friends shared how their children built a pallet of blankets on the floor and their “older” children would start bedtime on that, and sometime in the middle of the night, gradually move into their parents’ bed. Others shared how they put their children’s small bed in the parents’ room, and just had a co-sharing room. Still others, like me, had given up and just embraced the crowdedness of a bed with three (and then four) heartbeats.
Like her older brother, our daughter was in her own bed at around six months of age. The “sleeping on their own” was disrupted by one of our ever frequent moves, and our king-sized bed has managed to prove enough space for four sleeping souls.
Since we are hyper-vigilant about our children possibly falling out of our bed, we place them in the middle, leaving my husband and I to act as bookends on the bed. It also allows the kids to reach out and
smack kick touch us in the middle of the night, to prove to themselves we are still there, without them needing to fully awaken.
I am happy to say my parenting friends were correct – our son began sleeping in “his” own bed almost a month ago. Since then, after his sister has fallen asleep, I’ve been able to put her in her own bed for several hours’ at a time. While she still wakes up in the middle of the night to find her way into our bed, the first four to six hours is blissful for me.
Since our son is now going to his own bed, we have been able to establish a better bed-time routine. We are not having to wait for all parties involved to climb into bed. Therefore, he has a set bedtime, which has allowed us to create a routine when we were co-sleeping – to read a book, to say prayers, and to tuck him in tightly.
This post was supposed to make the “gratitude project” list three weeks ago, after the first week or so of his move into a different bed. However, I didn’t want to jinx the newly forming habit. So, I’ve sat on this, and the more I’ve sat on it, the more I’ve realized what I am most grateful for out of this entire situation:
I am grateful my children are in their beds (for the most part);
I am grateful I have been able to spread out in my king-sized bed;
I am grateful I get to curl into my husband’s side to fall asleep;
I am grateful I married a man whose utmost priority is meeting the needs of his family – physical and emotional needs. He so patiently accepted the co-sleeping arrangement, only occasionally wondering aloud when we’d get our bed back to ourselves;
I am most grateful for my willingness to set my textbook answers aside, and embrace a situation I swore to never allow. I have come to realize, for my family, that co-sleeping was meeting the needs of my children. They literally have had to reach out to assure themselves we are there, and I was willing to put my own pride aside and recognize my children’s need for closeness.
Perhaps the last point is what I am most grateful for this week – the realization that I have grown as a mother. I have been willing to set my own desires aside, and instead of dwelling on my not being able to have my own bed, recognize the beauty in the situation. I have been able to see how meeting my children’s needs above my own has been allowing two precious gifts to blossom into the budding flowers they are today.
I have grown in my own personal maturity, recognizing life isn’t all about my desires, whether it be for my own bed space, or doing everything I want to do at the expense of the needs of those who count on me. There is an element of sacrifice that comes with parenting, and through this simple lesson, I have watched how I have responded to the small sacrifice, and embraced it, for the betterment of my children. And, while it is the smallest example, I can extend this one to the ultimate example of love and self-sacrifice I see in the Father for His own children.
I am grateful for that realization.
I will not be writing a Gratitude Post at the end of this week – purely because this project overarches Thanksgiving. It has nothing to do with the upcoming holiday. Instead, this particular project aims to highlight moments of gratitude every week, every month, outside of when society says we should be giving thanks. So, don’t miss out on next week’s Gratitude Project post.
I will say, though, I am also always grateful for feedback and interaction from those who read my blog. Your support has always been invaluable, and provides me motivation to continue putting words on the screen. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being you.
What were you most grateful for last week?
Until next week, dear reader…