Before having children, I could have slept through a tornado. After our two beautiful daughters arrived, the sound of his slippers hitting the floor as he crawled into bed jolted me awake like a fire alarm. None of this is his fault. And I am madly, deeply in love with him. But I don’t sleep with my husband anymore.
I didn’t really see it coming. When our first little girl arrived in the world almost five years ago, her bassinet was, of course, in our bedroom. She wasn’t a fussy baby necessarily, though I spent many, many nights holding her, soothing her, trying not to doze off in the nursing chair with her, all while my husband snored away without a care in the world.
Loudly. Very, very loudly.
The resentment I harbored seemed pretty standard for new parents, and not anything to worry about. Though I did move the chair into the baby’s room so we could have more peaceful midnight moments. By the time she started sleeping in her crib, I was so sleep deprived that it wasn’t too hard for me to fall back asleep next to my hibernating, noisy bear of a husband.
Enter baby number two. Not long before she came on the scene, while I was pregnant and exhausted, I somehow ended up sleeping with baby number one every night on her twin mattress on the floor.
Glamorous? No. Comfortable enough? Yes. At that point, I didn’t really care where I slept, as long as I slept.
In the weeks and months after little sister was born, I spent my nights playing musical beds. It’s kind of a blur, but I think it went something like this… Start out in big sister’s bed to help her fall asleep, move back to my own bed next to the bassinet, spend intermittent stints of time in the nursing chair with the baby, get her back down only to be coerced back into big sister’s bed. In my tired stupor of life in those days, I unintentionally created a habit of co-sleeping because again, it’s what got everyone the most sleep. My husband didn’t like it when I brought one of the girls into bed with us and let’s be honest, a tired and cranky husband can be worse than a tired and cranky kid.
We transitioned little sis to a mattress on the floor pretty early on because she turned out to be a snuggle bug too (and that’s okay with me). For a while, I bed-hopped between my own bed and each girl’s bed depending on who wanted my attention at the moment. I thought I should continue to at least try to sleep in my own bed with my husband.
Time went on like this, we moved past the nursing phase and past them actually needing me for anything other than comfort. But three years later, I still wasn’t getting a restful night’s sleep! Every time I made it back to my own bed, even though I was basically sleepwalking through life, I could not for the life of me get back to sleep with a thunderous snore in my ear.
Guess what I did next? I crawled into the queen bed in the guest room. And I slept. All. Night Long. And I didn’t feel guilty about not sleeping with my husband.
Both girls climbed in with me on different occasions, but it’s spacious and cozy and we all slept better than ever. Unconventional? Maybe. Works for us? Definitely. We are all happier and healthier and more kind, loving, and patient with each other because we’re all getting the rest we need. I don’t sleep with my husband, and it’s ok.
Some might worry about this negatively affecting our spousal relationship, but sleeping, as opposed to not sleeping, has actually strengthened our marriage. We’re able to make time for connection and closeness when it really counts. Someday down the line, when the kids want their own space and my body and mind feel rested enough to try again, I might join my husband in bed at night again. Until then, we’re happy to meet there during the day.
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