It’s 5:15 AM… The littlest little is sleeping, albeit fitfully, next to me. Her leg is pressed up next to mine. As per the norm, she is making certain that a minimum of one part of her body is touching mine AT.ALL.TIMES. Seriously, I am quite certain that if she could crawl back into my uterus, she would. Most nights she rolls into my chest, tucks her little head under my chin and rests a hand on my face. It’s really very sweet. That said, I never thought I would fall into the co-sleeping camp. Why? I don’t know. It just wasn’t what I pictured in my head. So much of parenting is like that for me. I imagine things one way, and it ends up entirely different.
I make an effort to not make “I will always” and “I will never” statements, but I’m not above admitting that they roll around in my brain from time to time. When Rex was a baby, I attributed his mostly great sleep patterns to my awesome parenting. Then Sydney was born and I realized my successes in the child/sleep department had really very little to do with me and waaaaay more to do with my children. (Sydney’s little leg is now draped across my arm as I am typing this on my iPad. She seriously can’t get close enough.)
What I have realized in my parenting journey thus far is this: I am whatever kind of parent my child needs me to be. My choices are rarely “first choices,” and I oftentimes feel myself compelled to justify or validate them because, let’s face it, that’s the nature of our overly competitive, there’s-a-right-way-to-do-everything society.
Here is a list of my most recent “not first” choices…just to name a few…
2. Too much screen time
3. Less than stellar food choices
4. Breast feeding beyond the first year
Trust me, I’ve heard it all. “You’ve got to get that baby out of your bed!” “You let them eat that? Tsk tsk.” “You still breastfeed? Gross.”
But this is where I’m at…
Sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone so we became a co-sleeping family. We sleep. That’s all that matters.
Coffee is better hot so Rex plays on the iPad for a little bit (ok, A LOT) in the morning. Coffee makes me a decent person. Hot coffee makes me a better person.
Sydeny doesn’t have a tremendous appetite and at one point actually met the criteria for failure to thrive. At times we are desperate to get her to eat
something anything, and at those times she gets fruit snacks alongside her breakfast. She’ll turn out fine.
We were blessed with a fussy baby who refused to take a bottle (ever) and can only be nursed to sleep. 15 months later and, yes, I’m still nursing. Not what I imagined my life would look like more than a year after her birth, but there are worse things.
It wasn’t my intention to be “that parent” who allows a sometimes ridiculous amount of screen time or to become a co-sleeping, nursing mother to an almost 15 month old, but that’s where I’m at… life requires flexibility, and (even more importantly) adaptability. I am who I am because I make choices given the options placed before me…accidentally on purpose…which [gasp] makes my choices intentional. Sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow.
My point is this: be intentional, and don’t apologize for it. There will, inevitably, be people who disagree with you. But be whoever you need to be at THIS moment anyway. Be authentic. It may sound cliche, but it’s the simple truth: If you are doing your best, that’s all that matters.
We co-sleep. So what.