Other nights, it’s not that difficult. In fact, sometimes it’s really beautiful.
Lying down where my children drift between waking and dreams can be something so magical and intimate.
Sometimes, in the dark, my children nestle against me, and I feel their little warm cheeks against my neck, or their little heart that beats savagely in their small chest, and it makes me want to sob with gratitude.
I had heard all the arguments about why sleeping with your kids until they fall asleep is a bad habit. It is a habit that you are supposed to stop having when your children are babies.
But what if you never do that? What to do if you rock or take care of your baby every night? Then, when they grow up, what happens if it changes by holding hands or patting the back until they fall asleep?
How will they learn to fall asleep without you? Do not you create children who will never learn to function without you?
The answer to the last question is unequivocal: No. Many studies have shown that the more children are attached, the more secure and independent they will become. It makes sense if you think about it: giving children safety gives them confidence and they can work easily in the world.
I do not think it means that all families have to sleep with their children when they sleep every night. There are many ways to raise secure children, and this is absolutely not a prerequisite. But I also know that there is no reason not to know if this is what works for your family and it is not because you let your children have this habit, they will not adapt not when you will not be there or they will never learn to fall asleep alone.
I go to bed with my children because they want it, because it’s something we’ve always done, and because even though I often regret those extra 10 to 20 minutes waiting, it’s really only a handful of minutes of my day, but it’s very important for my kids.
I go to bed with them because, between school, work, meals, homework and other commitments, it is rare for us to have moments of silence and closeness as deep as those.
I sleep with them because there have been many nights in the last few years when my older child did not need me, he literally pushed me out of his room to fall asleep alone. But I sleep with him on nights when he is stressed, agitated or when he just needs me without knowing why.
I lie down with him, because I know that the days he will need me are counted.
I go to bed with them because they ask me for it and I want it.
Yes, sometimes at the end of my long mom days, this is the last place I want to be. Yes, sometimes I’m restless, hungry, tired. Sometimes I see myself clenching my teeth just to not let out my cries of frustration.
But I also know that these minutes when my children fall asleep in the safety of my arms or my presence are exactly the ones that carry the most weight for my children, and for me. And I would not trade that for anything in the world.