My family of five sleeps in one bed. A queen-size bed, to be exact. It started with just my husband and me, but then we added what is now a 50-pound English bulldog, then added a now 2-and-a-half-year-old little girl and most recently, a now 1-year-old baby girl.
This marital-turned-family-shared bed is a tight arrangement and, I admit, it’s completely my doing. I chose to co-sleep the moment I brought each of our babies home; I just never figured a way to get them out—mostly due to my own separation anxiety.
Now I get bed shamed by other moms. I’ve been told to sleep-train my kids in their own rooms and let them cry-it-out. I’ve been shamed into thinking that my kids will have dependency and psychological issues. I’ve even received comments implying I’m a bad mother for putting my kids in danger. Yet here we are all in one bed. Happy and cozy as five pigs in a blanket.
As a working mom, I wouldn’t have this setup any other way. So to set the record straight on family bed sharing, here’s why I’m sleeping better than those who aren’t.
1. My bedtime routine is easier.
Like a pack of animals, our bedtime routine is done together, which is great because there’s lots of help and support to make it fun and simple. We wash up, change into our pajamas, brush our teeth, pick out clothes and pack the necessities for the next day, then head to our room and assume our positions in bed. The kids don’t pretend to want to use the potty or suddenly need another glass of water. Since we are all together, there is nothing to distract them from getting out from underneath the covers to see what’s beyond the bedroom doors. There is an established time for bed and an environment that provides just that.
2. It creates bonding time.
Sure, we are bonding by sharing a bed, but what happens before everyone gets shut-eye is priceless. The laughs, the singing, the bedtime stories and snuggles are family memories in the making. This is a precious time where we are encouraged to talk to each other and spend time together without any sort of interruptions. Another perk? My kids are the first thing I see when I wake up for work and last before I fall asleep.
3. We get more sleep.
That’s right—and we sleep really well. It’s a little later of a bedtime than the norm, but when we go to sleep, we sleep hard. Maybe having everyone in the same bed gives off that feeling of safety and security, but as other moms are complaining about their kids waking up in the middle of the night, mine rarely do. And if they do get up, it’s simply to hug them back to sleep. There's no sitting by their bedside waiting for them to doze off and no hopping between beds in the middle of the night.
4. It makes breastfeeding a whole lot easier.
Having baby by my side has a positive effect on my breast milk production, and there's no need to check the monitor and go to the nursery to feed uncomfortably in a chair. I just need to roll over, feed or comfort nurse and put baby back down next to me. I also don’t have the stress or anxiety of what is happening in the nursery. Knowing baby is with me puts my mind at ease and eyes to rest. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to breastfeed and have my baby sleep in another room (kudos to those who do!).
5. We have less sex, but who doesn’t?
Seriously. If you’re a working mom and have an after-sex glow and pep in your step all week, I’ll start believing that the perfect mom truly does exist. But if we are really being honest, since kids, when do we have the time? Fortunately, because our bed has been taken over by our babies (and fur baby), getting some sexy spouse time has forced us to be more creative. Shower? Done. New positions? Done. Sexy time might not be as often as it was pre-kids, but getting stuck in our parental-duties rut, it makes for a perfect situation to sauce things up and try new things.
As a working mom, family bed sharing helps me spend every second I can with my tribe. It may not work for everyone, but moments like these are fleeting. So why not cherish them while you can?