Co-Sleeping Is Not Working For My Family

by Erin Washington
Originally Published: 
Co-Sleeping Is Making Me Exhausted
Courtesy of Erin Washington

There were four in the bed and the little one said …

“Get OFF me.”

I spring to action and realize that this command is coming from my two-year-old son. I’ve been asleep for hours but am now face to face with not one, but both of my children. We are a capital “M”– my husband and I forming the sturdy straight lines and our children all diagonal between us.

Excuse me? Get off you? You’re in my bed, dude.

After two blissful years of my son sleeping all night in his crib, he has joined us. I mean, it was twenty-four months of back and forth from his room to comfort him and retrieve binks that had jumped overboard, but eventually, he would stay put through the night.

Courtesy of Erin Washington

Until now. These days he wakes up every night around 1 am clutching all of his “binks” and his blanket, demanding my presence and awaiting pick up. Could I go in there and tell him to go back to sleep? Sure. But I’ll be doing that the rest of the night. Bringing him to our bed presents at least a shot at slumber.

My daughter joins the party around 3.

I see every hour on the clock. I’m scraped with toenail talons, jabbed with elbows of anarchy until I find myself involved in a street fight. I duck. I bob. I weave. I’m hit (and will probably press charges: first-degree assault with a deadly elbow).

Next, my daughter cries out. I don’t know what she says but it is followed with a swift back hand. To my face.

I escape to my daughter’s bed, hunting for hibernation. After an hour, she appears. I am discovered. After a few minutes, I roll to the floor and army crawl to safety, leaving her sleeping back in her own bed.

Courtesy of Erin Washington

Now it’s three of us. Now we’re an “H.”

As soon as I’m able to string together a solid couple of minutes of slumber, “It’s my dinosaur” comes blaring from my son’s mouth.

And… I’m out.

I get how sweet it is to have all of your loved ones with you during the night. If someone were to break in, I already have my babies in my arms. Or if a tree falls on our house, I can dive across their little bodies and shelter them with mine. Valid reasons for co-sleeping, in my humble opinion. But that’s where it ends. As much as I want to snuggle with my babies when they appear in the night (I promise I do), that’s simply not my situation. There’s kicks. And yelling.

How the hell are co-sleeping parents supposed to sleep (and avoid getting kicked all night)? Do they set up some kind of bumper bowling scenario? Are they just really tired every day? Help me understand.

I’m sure I’ll miss this this time in my life-when my kids want to be with me, day and night. I’ll long for the days where we were all nestled under one blanket, so I remind myself of this nightly … until I’m struck. With a foot.

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