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Thursday, December 12, 2013

"My Back is Killing Me!" and Other Reasons Why Co-Sleeping Sucks

When I wake up in the morning, before I even open my eyes, I can tell whether or not someone has been in the bed besides Cami and myself. How do I know you ask. I'll tell you. Because my back hurts. And it's not a little hurt like it's just tight, it really hurts. There are knots all up and down the muscles in my back.

Once I realize that my back hurts, and therefore someone else is in the bed with us, I moan in pain. Next I roll over to verify that I am correct (I have a 99% accuracy rate). Then I hobble from the room to try to stretch out my back without waking anyone else up.

If for no other reason alone I hate so called co-sleeping because it hurts my back. Wikipedia defines co-sleeping as "a practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, as opposed to in a separate room."

There are arguments both for and against co-sleeping. Those in favor argue that co-sleeping helps children to feel loved and safe and often get a better nights sleep. Additionally the argument goes that children who co-sleep with their parents have a better self image and a stronger relationship with the parent with whom they co-sleep.

Those opposed to co-sleeping contend that co-sleeping can sometimes lead to infant death. In fact, when our youngest son was born this last August the nurses told Cami not to put him in bed with us because they worried that I would roll over on him and crush him in my sleep. I think it's kind of silly in my case but it really does happen. Another argument against the practice is that it can compromise a child's sleeping habits.

I believe that science has a place in our world. However, for me science can be put aside on this issue.

Here are three reasons why co-sleeping sucks and how it can harm a marriage.

  1. My back hurts!! Physical discomfort of any kind (whether it is back pain, a headache, or menstrual cramping) in either spouse draws on the reserve of patience that we each have. With the extra draw that occurs when we hurt the chances of conflict, and serious conflict, grow.
  2. When was the last time we made love? I don't typically discuss sex on this blog but if you're kid is always in bed with you when are you going to be intimate with your spouse? Kick your kid out to get your love life back on track.
  3. I feel like something has come between us. In the case of co-sleeping something has literally come between you! Get rid of it. If you stop and think about it the majority of the time you spend with your spouse is while you're asleep. Even something seemingly small like co-sleeping has a subconscious impact on your marriage.
With that said, I believe that there is a time for co-sleeping. It is limited in nature (like an hour or two). If a child is scared and struggling to fall asleep one night lay in their bed or on the floor next to their bed with them until they fall asleep.

Another possibility would be when a child is sick. Again, however, I recommend going to them instead of inviting them into your bed. Why? Because it is YOUR bed. They have their own. That's why you bought it.

As I close my tirade about the ills of co-sleeping I'm going to share a quick story. Cami and I were friends with a couple a while back that had a few kids. They let their youngest sleep in their bed with them every night beginning when he was really young. 

Three years later the husband was ending up on the coach regularly just so that he could get some sleep. When he wasn't on the couch his wife was in a recliner rocking their son all night long. The amazing thing to Cami and I was that they would both regularly remark that they couldn't figure out why they and their son were always tired.

We would put on our perplexed faces and wonder something too.

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