Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thoughts on Parenting

Every one parents in their own way. I know this. But, I thought that maybe I might share some of MY thoughts on parenting. I'm not saying my thoughts are right, it is just the way that I do things.

Yesterday I was watching a clip from the "View." I don't normally do this because the "View" is lame. But, they had a guest, Mayim Bialik, that I wanted to see, so I decided to watch her segment. Apparently, she has some...extreme views on parenting. She even wrote a book on what she calls "Attachment Parenting."

One of the things that she talked about was the "family bed." The family bed, if you don't know is when families (parents and children) all sleep in the same bed. This is also called co-sleeping. In her family, she sleeps in a bed with her 3 year old son and her husband sleeps in a bed with their 6 year old son and that is their sleeping arrangement. I also know of families that have their children sleep in their king size bed with them until they are well into their childhood (up to 6 years old).

Now is the part where I tell you what I think. Feel free to be offended. This lady is crazy! Sleeping in the bed with your child? Not even having at bed for you and your husband? This is crazy! This is putting your children first and your marriage second. Allowing children in your bed, or spending every night in their bed totally steps on the toes of marriage.

Here is how we do it in my house:
1. God/Gospel
2. Marriage/Spouse
3. Kids

When Nicole was first born, Matt told me that he did not want babies in our bed. He wanted our bed to be our space and kids could have a space to themselves. I felt like that was a reasonable request and we did not let Nicoley sleep in our bed. She slept in her bed. She could sit on the bed with us while we were all awake and I, of course, nursed her in the bed all the time, but when it came to sleeping, the bed was for us. We established a system when she got older and would come into our room in the middle of the night that she could lay on the floor next to our bed if she had a nightmare or was sick and just wanted to be close to us, but she did not sleep in our bed. Which is really for the best because she is a wiggler! She wiggles and shifts and lays sideways and is a total bed hog.

When Dan was born, I had a bit of baby withdrawls because I did not get to spend every day with Dan because I was working and I was super exhausted because I had to feed Dan during the night and still get up at 7am to get to work on time. So, I cheated on our no bed rules a little with Dan. When he woke up for a feeding, I would lay him on the bed next to me and nurse him and then I would fall back asleep and he would fall asleep and he ended up spending a bit of each night in our bed. I would eventually wake up and put him back in his crib though.

But, for Matt, this haunted him. Whenever Dan slept in our bed, Matt had a fear that he would roll over on Dan or that Dan would fall off the bed. He would have nightmares about it and start talking to me in his sleep and telling me to "Get the baby before he falls off!" Or, he would grab me and try to pull me toward the center of the bed to prevent ME from falling. Truth: he still does this and it wakes me up and drives me crazy; I'm not the baby! So, this was an added problem with co-sleeping.

When Dan stopped nursing, he stopped sleeping in our bed because there was no reason. And, as night time feedings decreased, he never was in our bed at night. Also, I found that Dan (and us) slept so much better when he was in his own crib at night.

I was watching Nanny 911 one time and the parent's laid in their children's beds with them until they fell asleep... every night, AND, they let their three year old sleep in the bed with them. Nanny explained to the parents that they were facilitating a co-dependency with their children. That their children were reliant upon the parent's to fall asleep. What happens when they become a teenager and have never fallen asleep in their bed by themselves? What then? Still sleep in the bed with the kid? Also, having one child sleep in the parent's bed created a rivalry with all the other children. The children felt the youngest child was the favorite.

I totally agree. Sleeping with the child every night creates a co-dependency. Aren't we trying to teach our children to be independent? To do things for themselves so they can be productive and normal adults someday? How does sleeping in the same bed with them help them to be independent? I think a parent who sleeps in a child's bed every night is not for the child's sake but for the parent's. The parent is being selfish and trying to fulfill their own bonding needs. Here's a tip, bond with your spouse more and your kids less when you are asleep.

Now, onto what I think co-sleeping does to a marriage. I'm just gonna say it... if you have a kid in the bed, there is no way for you to go making new kids and that is an important part of marriage. The bed is the place for me and my husband. It is our space to be free from the children and have time together where we are not mommy and daddy, but husband and wife.

Often times, Matt and I don't get a lot of time together between me working all day and him going to school at nights. Additionally, when we are together, we are tag team parenting and taking care of the kids. All our focus is on the children; getting them fed, dressed, keeping them entertained, and happy. So, when the kids go to bed, that is finally the time where we can talk, catch up on how we are doing, and be married. I feel like this is vital to my marriage.

I'm not saying that my way is right and family beds are wrong. I'm just saying that I think family beds (as in sleeping all together EVERY NIGHT) is insanity. I realize that there are times where parent's let the kids into the bed when they are scared or sick, but to have it be a recurring theme is just crazy, it can't be good for the child or the marriage.


Rebecca Susan said...

I think people get waayyyy to obsessed with these kinds of things in general (example: writing a whole book about why the way your family does sleeping arrangements is the right way). We are pretty down the middle on how we do most things as parents, and sleeping arrangements are no exception. I nurse exclusively (my babies usually don't get a bottle at all until 8 or 9 months, and this is mostly because I am too lazy/cheap for bottles and formula), so the babies usually sleep with us the first year so that I don't have to get up every time they nurse--we ALL sleep much better and are happier this way. And since we have a king sized bed, an infant doesn't really interfere much--we just shove her to the side:) After that, though, they are sleep-trained to sleep in their own beds, and very rarely do they even try to come get in bed with us. A couple of times a year we will humor a sick or nightmare-rattled kid for a night, but that's about it. Its worked really well for us. Your reasons are good ones, and way too many people put their kids before their marriage, which, ironically, generally only harms kids in the long run.

Sarah said...

Wow, tell us how you really feel ;) I honestly don't care what people do for sleeping arrangements with their kids. Jack goes to bed in his bassinet, then when he needs to eat in the middle of the night I grab him and feed him on the bed. He falls asleep there, I move away and sleep too (this is why king size beds rule). This equals 7-8 hours a night of sleep for me quite often, so that's why I do it. He'll sleep in his crib in his room come the time though. I don't care what other people do though. Everyone is gonna raise their kid different than I do, and I'm obviously going to raise my kid in what I think is the best way. We'll never all agree.

Jasmine said...


Becky said...

Now you guys are making me jealous that I don't have a king bed. Curse you Queen bed and your smallness!

Marie said...

Agree, agree, agree. Co-dependency is BAD. And yes, Becky, your queen bed is really small.

Laura said...

Loved the post. Loved how you expressed your opinion. Glad I don't have to worry about babies in my bed anymore. I just get to love them, spoil them and send them home with their parents at night. :)

Lisa said...

King-sized beds are awesome! I don't see how any couple can sleep in anything smaller than a king every night.