Co-Sleeping – Why I hate it

I am a co sleeper. I never thought I would be. But here I am. I spent the first couple of years of my son’s life making sure that he slept in his room alone. I was diligent about it. I also tried – unsuccessfully – to sleep train my daughter. I wanted to make sure that we would NOT have a family bed. Why didn’t I want a family bed? Purely selfish reasons. Mainly because I love to sleep.

I really LOVE to sleep. In my life I have spent many a weekend, drifting in and out of sleep. Waking up to eat and to watch an occasional movie. Some might call it lazy – I call it recharging. I miss that.

Anyway, my son started to sleep through the night (12 hours) when he was about 14 months old. I had beautiful sleep then. BUT I became pregnant and well, I woke up about three times a night to pee. My daughter was born and I was breastfeeding her every hour and a half for what seemed like an eternity. That first night home, I remember looking over at my husband during my third time nursing that night and saying, “CRAP! I forgot about this part. What were we thinking?!!”

Then my son had a terrible case of croup, and his bedroom was on the floor below us, so what did I do? Yes! You guessed it – I was so tired and worried about him that I brought him into our bed. You could almost see the light bulb go off over his head, “I didn’t know that I could sleep here! I’m now going to do it every night until I’m 16!”

Jolly cakes for me. Did I mention that I love to sleep? I did. But I left out the part about how I don’t like to cuddle up to people at night. A little snuggle before sleep is good, to warm up my feet, but after that it’s all business. I need to sleep without touching anyone. I don’t want anyone touching me. Leave me alone on my side of my King sized bed for at least eight to ten hours. HA! As if.

I’ve tried to tell that to my three year old but she just sobs. Why? What’s the matter? Why doesn’t she get it? Anyway, bad parenting award goes to me for even admitting that I told her that, but you’ll get over it and so will she. Maybe.

You see, it’s a bit out of control in this house. People don’t wake up how and where they went to sleep. My kids don’t enjoy sleeping alone and it’s taking its toll on me.

I absolutely love the IDEA of co sleeping. I love to offer my children love and security. I want them to know that if they are scared they can count on me. That’s why I let them come into my bed at night. I don’t have the heart or the energy to force them back to their beds at three in the morning, but I just can’t help being unhappy about it. Kids, husband, sister, mother: I don’t care who you are, don’t touch me while I sleep. I don’t like it.

There you have it. That’s why I hate co sleeping. Not because I’m afraid that my kids will not be autonomous, or that a certain parenting expert said that I shouldn’t do it. Everyone should do what they need to do to get by. My kids are perfectly happy co sleeping and my relationship with my husband doesn’t suffer because of it. I just don’t enjoy it for more than five minutes. Between the one kid who speaks in tongues and completes a triathlon while he sleeps and the other who sleeps stuck to my side and won’t take her hand off of my face, it’s a party in my bed and I’m really not sleeping much.

So what’s a wannabe lone sleeper to do? Wait it out I guess.

I love my kids and I’m thinking that if this is what they need right now, they can have it. It makes me a little crazy, but I know it will be over soon enough. One day I’ll wonder why my daughter doesn’t want to snuggle anymore or why my son won’t come out of his room.

One thing is for sure: I will be reunited with sound sleep one day. Until then pass the Smashbox Photo Finish Eyelid Primer and a shit ton of caffeine.

  • Alana

    Ok that is funny! I’m so there with you except we have 3 kids under 6 and a queen size bed!

  • Anonymous

    Cute! I must admit I miss the days when I had uninterrupted sleep, alone, for more than a few hours. One day, when my kids are teenagers, I’ll have that luxury again :)

  • Anonymous

    I miss sleep. Sleep and I use to be really good friends. I could sleep anywhere and at anytime. Then I got pregnant the first time and sleep began to allude me. Then I brought that first child home and he refused to sleep in a pack and play beside our bed…only place he did seem to sleep? With us, snuggled up against me. There went my relationship with sleep. Add #2 to the mix, and I see the pattern repeating itself. I guess I will sleep when they are 18 and off on their own!

  • Maria @BOREDmommy

    There was a time many years ago when my son was really young, where he slept in our bed after waking up a million times a night, each and every night. Although, I wouldn’t call it co-sleeping, because he was the only one that was actually sleeping. Thankfully that ended – and it has been blissful sleeping since the 4 year old was born. (Not to rub it in or anything).

  • AniW

    I needed to read this today! My son starts out in a crib but ALWAYs ends up in bed with us at @ 11pm. It really isnt terrible for me, I like the snuggles, but nursing all night while laying on one side is a little uncomfortable. But if my choice is uncomfortable sleep or no sleep its an easy choice. I would say the biggest benefit of it is that there have been nights when something was bothering my son ( who knows what.. tummy, teeth etc), he would toss and turn and wake himself when all he wanted to do was sleep. If he hadnt been in bed with me I wouldnt have believed how much he could toss n turn. Had I tried to put him back to his crib I would not have realised how uncomfortale he was! And would have thought he just wanted to be carried. Co-sleeping gave me yet another reason not to let him cio.. although thats what everyone says will fix all my my ‘problems’. Its a good thing I now know better!

  • kpre

    I am laughing my head off at this because, like you, I am a sleeper. I get it. I love to sleep and I am selfish in my need for it. I told my 3 yr old that if she didn’t wake me up in the middle of the night then I would have more energy and would be able to play outside with her more. Oh yeah, quality parenting lol. As an side note, she usually does sleep through the night but seemed to be waking for no reason but to call us into her room. As mothers we sacrifice a lot but I think sleep shouldn’t be one of them, too bad kids don’t feel the same :D

  • stella pelekanos

    hi sandy, I agree!!!

  • Tam1178

    I love the honesty! And right now, in my very sleep deprived and slightly depressed state, this article is just what I need to feel better about all the guilt associated with “disliking co-sleeping”. How I would love to sleep alone again or even just with my husband. It’s been 18 months since I’ve had a good night sleep. My daughter is truly wonderful! But, she nurses all night long and wakes frequently. She’s tired, I’m tired, and it makes for a demanding daytime. Congrats to those families for whom co-sleeping works. I’m jealous! Although cry it out is a last resort solution and I really struggle with considering it, I struggle even more with the guilt that comes from not having the energy to be a good mom and the constant feeling of exhaustion and often resentment! Good to know I’m not the only one struggling with this attachment parenting thing!

  • Jen

    I like to wait until everyone is asleep, then go on the sofa :)  

  • Rosie

    I love this…”I don’t care who you are, don’t touch me while I sleep. I don’t like it.” That phrase fits me perfectly!!! I have to be perfectly comfortable, in my own little spot in the bed in order to get a decent sleep!

  • Anonymous

    It was as of I had wrote this myself!

  • Anna

    I am exactly the same! I only sleep with my 2-year old in the bed with me but recenly I found it helps to put one of those foam bed guard things under the sheet between us in the bed – that way she is close enough to feel secure – it hasn’t bothered her at all – but she doesn’t roll into me and wake me up every 5 minutes…

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