The controversial idea of sleep and children creeps up not only in my world of online moms and stand-still conversation with talkative strangers, but in my marriage. No, literally, sleep creeps in between the man I married because we co-sleep with Humnoy, our 19-month-old son. Much like all other decisive facets of attachment parenting, co-sleeping came simply and intuitively (read: lazily) to me in order to have quality sleep and plenty of it. Co-sleeping allowed me to dream feed, which means nursing the child in the middle of the night while the mother and/or baby is still sleeping. Bam! I knew what the coveted acronym “STTN” meant at 6 months all thanks to Humnoy’s laundry list of milestones uncharacteristic for his age.
Only problem with sleep is the lone deciding factor of who gets privileges of uninterrupted sleep. Of course, every living breathing mammal has every right to rest when weary but I mean, which family member deserves to sleep the most? The best? Earlier? Is it Dad who has to wake up early to ride his bike to work? Is it the young child who is comforted and tosses out cues to his following mother? Is it said mother who is at 24 weeks gestation with a second child?
Naturally, a few disagreements and angry words in the dark make an appearance just as prevalent as interrupted sleep, or total lack thereof, in a marriage and its accompanying parenting dual identity. Disagreements lead to upset egos and awkward dinners. Awkward dinners lead to an upset pregnant wife, who feels betrayed by the parenting side-kick she’s relied on for so long. Betrayal leads to a bitter stall in a marriage.
A few awkward dinners more and a couple of parenting inside jokes to break the ice, all is well in marriage and parenting. We figure out a back-up plan when, and if, the toddler isn’t ready for bed when dad is already in bed. Yes, it involves the pregnant mother to stay up with the toddler but this push means a pull for Mom sleeping in and Dad handles morning time. I think we’ve got it figured out as best as we can with what we’ve got. Bam! No awkward dinners as of late.
How do you balance your partnership and your parenting philosophy? How has one affected the other?
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