Dear Children: Please Get Out of My Bed Already

by Kate Parlin
Originally Published: 

I’m not sure how we got here. By “here,” I mean this bed, the one that really belongs to your father and me but now contains our entire family: two parents, two dogs, and three children. We are fortunate enough to have beds for each member of our family, and yet here we are, in a tangled, tired heap. I am writing to you today to tell you that it’s not working.

I know I’m the Mom and my chief joy in life is supposed to be meeting your needs and everything, but I’m a person too. I have needs. And one of those needs is sleep.

Back when you were a few months old, you started sleeping through the night. It was awesome. Are you paying attention? Mommy felt Julie-Andrews-twirling-in-a-field-of-flowers-happy when you slept in your own beds, all night long. Also Mommy’s skin looked better and Daddy didn’t spend quite so much money on coffee. It was a happier time for all of us.

Now, nighttime has become more never-ending nightmare than peaceful dreamland. You’re tired and cranky, and Mommy. Is. Exhausted.

I’m including a summary here of a typical night in our household. I’m using the term “you” to refer to all of you, because you guys are like a kid-conglomerate, lobbying against sleep and sanity. I hope that seeing your actions spelled out in black and white will ignite the fires of change in your little hearts. Please just think about how ridiculous this is:

· Mommy and Daddy get you all tucked into your cozy bed. We say goodnight and close your door.

· You stay in your room for 7½ minutes before charging downstairs because you have something “very important” to tell us. Please don’t think I’m unfeeling; I get that it totally sucks that your sister put boogers on you, or that you can’t think of anything that rhymes with “lettuce,” but those are not reasons to come out of your room. Because what are the reasons to come out of your room? Say it with me: ONLY IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM OR YOU ARE BLEEDING.

· You go back to your room for a long enough stretch of time that I’m snuggled up on the couch, with a glass of wine, absorbed in Olivia Pope’s shenanigans. So then, of course, you need to poop, and I have to extricate myself from my blanket-wine-Scandal cocoon and come upstairs to wipe you.

· You go into your room. But then you’re back, 20 minutes later, to ask me why it “takes so long for morning to come.” We threaten to take away your stuffed animals if you don’t stay in your room.

· Twenty more minutes go by, and here you are again, sad and lonely because your sister has fallen asleep and you’re still awake. You guilt one of us into lying in your creaky, animal-filled bed with you until you finally fall asleep.

· Now it’s 11 p.m., so I give up on having any sort of kid-free time and go to bed.

· The first child shows up in my room, just as I’ve reached REM sleep, usually between midnight and 1 a.m. You’re sleepy and adorable and I haul you into bed. I snuggle you and you instantly go back to sleep. I do not. It’s hard to get comfortable when your head is on my pillow.

· WHACK! What the…? You kicked me! In the face! Why are your feet in the face place? This is a bed! It has a face place and a feet place and you’re doing it wrong!

· The second child shows up sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. This requires shuffling and repositioning and, you know, BEING AWAKE.

· And finally, a half hour before my alarm goes off, the third child joins the party. There is no room for you, third child, and yet here you are, squashing in with your elbows and heels and holy crap did you seriously just head-butt me?!? Someone kicks me in the kidneys a couple of times before I give up and haul myself out of bed.

You see it, don’t you, kids? How crazy this is? Please tell me that you see it. I’m not sure how much longer we can go on like this. We can start small. Just one night of decent sleep would be so great. At least think about it.

Love, Mom

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