We get so many ‘warnings’ and lots of advice—solicited and unsolicited—when we become parents. “Do this...” but “don’t do this.” Oh and “definitely don’t do that, that’ll mess them up for life...”
It’s hard to even keep track of it all.
One thing I’ve heard a few (hundred) times is the don’t make falling asleep with your children a habit or else you’ll never be able to break it for them. Well, I’ll be honest here—neither one of my kids have ever been good at falling asleep on their own. I nursed and rocked them to sleep for a long time, then just rocked maybe with a pacifier or bottle, now we lay with them until they drift off.
We’ve always used sleep crutches. ?
And it’s time I ditch the guilt about that. Because, it is what it is.
I lay with you, because...I want to.
I lay with you, because...you ask me to.
I lay with you, because...after a long day, there’s nowhere else I want to be than near you, in this quiet space.
I lay with you, because...sometimes it’s what’s easiest. I know it’ll get you to fall asleep quickly, and I need bedtime to be quick and easy tonight. I’ve been touched too much, there have been too many demands and I don’t have much left to give.
I lay with you, because...you’re cuddly and cute and your hair smells nice.
I lay with you, because...even on the nights when I really rather not—I want to watch a show and relax or spend time with your dad—I do it because I feel that it’s what you need from me right now. And I’m OK with that. I can give you that.
I lay with you, because...it’s such a precious time we get to spend together. I listen to your stories or we pretend there are stars on your ceiling and it brings me joy at the end of a long day.
I lay with you, because...the sight of you sleeping, all cozied up—makes my heart just about burst. And after a busy day which often involves tears and tantrums and toddler tornadoes, seeing you sleeping peacefully is just the thing I need to remind myself that every bit of this is worth it.
I lay with you, because...sometimes I need a break. I stay there some nights for a little while even after you’ve fallen asleep. Because there are no emails or meals that need to be cooked or talking or anything. It’s just me and you and silence.
I lay with you, because...I’m fairly confident that even if I do this now, that you won’t need me to come to your dorm room to fall asleep with you when you’re in college (although, I will if you want me to! ?) This will one day be a moment of your childhood that you’ve moved past, and it will be some of my most cherished memories.
I lay with you, because...hearing your sweet little voice say, “Mommy, can you stay in my bed for a while?” makes my heart melt.
I lay with you, because...by now I’ve learned that every single parent needs to do what works best for them and their families. This is what works for us—I’m cool with that, you’re cool with that, and your dad is cool with that. And if someone else and their family are not cool with doing this in their home, guess what? That’s cool with me! This isn’t something that everyone wants to sign up for, and that’s 100% OK with me. So, that’s what matters. For everyone.
I lay with you, because...one day you won’t need me or want me to lay with you. And I fear this day will come faster than I want it to.
When that day comes, it’ll be hard for me.
All of these small milestones we cross—no more breastfeeding, being able to feed yourself, potty training—makes you more and more independent. Which is great! I want this for you.
But every day I am needed less and less, or in different ways and it’s hard on my very big, very sensitive heart. So I’m going to do this now—because I’m in it with you right now.
One day when you’re grown and I have no kiddos who need to feel my presence so that they can relax enough to fall asleep—I will remember these days and smile.
I will have no feelings of guilt from using this sleep crutch, only memories from these little beautiful moments of a very special time in our lives. ?