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  • While researching various sleep methods I learned a valuable lesson about motherhood: Moms have very strong opinions about mothering. 

    Tonilyn Hornung

    Sleep approaches are a controversial subject among moms who value their sleep. Discussing with lifelong friends was safe, but discussing with moms I’d just met at a kids class or in an online group proved nerve-wracking. I was met with forceful monologues on what I was doing wrong and what I should try instead. I felt misunderstood. It was then I decided to keep my sleeping strategies to myself. Co-sleeping became my dirty little mom secret.

    I hid our nighttime activities from the world pretty well until pre-school. Now, after school playdates keep me awake with worry. Grown-up eyes inevitably wander to our crib still sitting in my son’s room. I watch as parents scan for the kid-sized bed, and finally I feel compelled to mention that we co-sleep. It’s then I hear the, “Ooooooh…” The sound trails off into the Land of Awkward where a silence ensues. I recall Internet moms calling out bed-sharers for “emotionally damaging” their babies or being push-overs. Sitting in the silence of that “Oh…”  I feel judged against their toddler bed standards. I am a failure in their eyes.

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  • Co-sleeping has labeled me a certain “type” of parent -- even though I’m not sure what type that is. 

    Tonilyn Hornung

    I hope it’s the type that loves and cares for their kid. Us bed-sharers aren’t that different from those that choose a crib. My kid has a bedtime schedule. He can sleep on his own. He’s a well-adjusted, independent soul. Sharing a bed has never once held him back from reaching his full potential as others pointed out it might. The only thing bed-sharing has damaged are my ribs from tiny feet accidentally kicking them. 

    My son’s baby crib has slowly begun to take on new meaning. Even through the judgment, I can see our Island of Lost Toys crib for what it is: The strangely perfect decision that works for our family. I wish others would take the time to ask questions and know it was not a failed choice but an actual one we continue to make daily. I do get why at the ripe old age of 5, it gives people pause that our son still shares our bed. It’s not the norm. Still, it’s my bed and I’m proud to lie in it.

    Lately, my son has been asking about getting his own bed, and my husband and I are happy to oblige. This is why I’m fairly certain that my kid won’t be sleeping in our bed with us forever -- and if he does, I know where to find him when his college acceptance letter shows up.