Co-Sleeping & Single Motherhood: Comfort Or Curse?
July 6, 2010
I transitioned JD to a toddler bed back in January. I initially purchased one of those cribs that converts to a bed to save money (woo-hoo!) and time (double woo-hoo!) when the time came. My older brother, GF (Godfather) Carlo came over and helped disassemble the crib and JD yelled the whole time, “Uncle Carlo broke my beddy!” His first night was iffy and I expected that. He went down fine, but showed up in my room at around 2 A.M. I marched him back. Well, months later he’s still showing up in my room and sometimes…
I am too tired to care. I know how that reads. But, as a single, working mom, if I don’t get my sleep, then I can’t function the next day, all day. Now, of course I have to function regardless, but it's how I function, right? JD wakes up every, single day at around 6 A.M. There is no downtime at all. He wants "milky," a pancake, cereal, to find his Lightning McQueen car NOW, to do an art project with glitter glue (yes, I said glitter glue.) Today he was out on the balcony at 8 A.M. playing with his water table and stealing bites of cereal, grapes and watermelon in between.
So, yeah, I confess, sometimes we co-sleep. We did last night. He ran into my room at around 1 A.M. I opened my eyes instantly. His eyes were still closed and he seemed disorientated, but he knew where he was because he said, “I want mommybed.” After a long day of swimming, a trip to the farmer’s market and a BBQ with friends that involved me chasing JD non-stop around the backyard, I was wiped and pulled him up to my bed. He melted next to me and was out. Then I was out. Good thing, too. He doesn’t have summer camp/school today, which means I’m on mom duty and will work around HIS schedule (i.e. get 2 hours of work done and work until 1 A.M. tonight! FUN!)
My anecdote isn't exactly bad news either. Co-sleeping has benefits, of course. Studies have show that animals, infants and even toddlers who stayed close to their mothers had higher levels of growth hormones and enzymes necessary for brain and heart growth. In long-term follow-up studies of infants and toddlers who slept with their parents and those who slept alone, the children who co-slept were happier, less anxious, had higher self-esteem, were less likely to be afraid of sleep, had fewer behavioral problems, tended to be more comfortable with intimacy, and were generally more independent as adults.
Now, I’m probably OK with co-sleeping because I have a BIG bed that I sleep in alone every night. Maybe if I was married I’d see it as a sacred, special place. I have a friend, M, who used to climb into her baby’s crib instead of bringing her into bed where her husband was sleeping. M said: “It’s where we have sex! I need one place in the home that is a kid-free zone.” Chuckle, chuckle, JD thinks my bed is a trampoline! As a single mom, I think co-sleeping is both a comfort and curse. I love cuddling with my little guy, but sometimes I want to be alone. And one day, there will be a grown-up sharing the bed with me, certain of that.
Single moms, do you think it’s easier to let your kid in bed, since no one else is sharing it with you? (I sure do!) Do you agree, us single moms need our sleep to function since we have no one to relieve us or help with the child-rearing? Do your kids ever sleep in bed with you and your husband? Does it put a kink in sexy-time? Is co-sleeping a comfort or curse? Please share!