Breaking Bad Habits
I’ve formed a habit that most would consider bad. Undesirable! Ugly! When I started this routine, I assumed it would only be temporary. It would only be something to get me over the proverbial hump, and then life would carry on as regularly scheduled, wrong!
All my adult life, I have tried to only form habits that produce good outcomes. I do not bite my nails. I don’t twist my hair or wring my hands. I do not swear, drink or smoke habitually. Then I had children. I tried desperately to still uphold the mantra, “Don’t start anything, you do not want to keep up.”. Ha! Ha! Like everything else that applies before you became a parent, doesn’t apply after.
When I was pregnant with our firstborn, my husband and I, decided that no matter what, our children would not share our bed. We did a good job with this commitment in the beginning. If my daughter awoke a dozen times a night, I would stumble like a drunk woman to her nursery, pick her up, nurse her back to sleep, and put her back to bed. This process carried on all night long. I was tired, exhausted, and spent. I had bags under my eyes the size of carry on suitcases. My skin was pasty and pale. My hair rarely brushed, wild and untamed. My body kicked into survival mode only. All i could think about was sleep, my bed, my mattress, my 500 thread count cotton egyptian sheets. Sleep. Sleep. I feigned it like an alcoholic craving a cold, stiff, drink, but I did not cave. Lauryn eventually began to sleep thru the night in her bed and me in mine. Then baby number 2 entered the picture.
If I thought keeping the “no babies in our bed” commitment was hard with one, it was almost dang near impossible with two. No one fell asleep at the same time and no one got up at the same time. The sleeping regimen at my house went a little something like this: 9:30 pm toddler asleep, 9:50pm baby asleep, 11:00pm toddler awake, 11:23 pm toddler back to sleep, 12:15 am baby awake, 12:46 am baby asleep and it pretty much continued like that all night into the morning. I could have been the lead zombie in “The Walking Dead.”
As you can imagine, I gave up and I gave in. They fell asleep in my bed, then I moved them into their respective beds, and sometime by the break of dawn they were back in my bed. This worked out well until the toddler outgrew her crib and the baby needed a crib. We decided to put them in a full-sized bed together, and so the bad habit began.
I lay down between them, read a book, and then we all fall asleep. The plan was for me sneak out of their bed and into mine once they were out. I rarely make it to my bed these days. I have my little Skylyr on one side, rubbing my face, and my Lauryn, on the other side, laying across my chest. I am warm. I am cozy and comfortable. I am asleep before the lights ever go out.
My husband asked me if I could go to Fantasy World for him. You can guess what type of products they sell by the name. He wants one of those inflatable girls, so when he wakes up in the middle of the night to an empty bed, he will have something to wrap his arms around. I told him that could be arranged, but I know, deep down, I must break my bad habit.
I imagine all the old hags at The American Academy of Pediatrics, shaking their gray heads in disbelief, faces wrinkled and pinched with disgust. “No good will come from bed-sharing. Your children will have dependency issues that will linger well into adulthood and will cost them thousands of dollars in psychotherapy to rectify. Your marriage will be doomed. Your husband will feel neglected and be easily swayed by a much younger and attractive young woman. He will most likely leave you for a nineteen year old blonde bombshell with perky breasts, tanned legs, and absolutely no cellulite. You will end up divorced and alone, bed sharing with your two children, and no man from here to Indonesia will find you fascinating. Do you understand?”. “Yes, old hags, I do! I really do!”.
For the sake of my marriage, and for the sake of my children’s mental health, I will attempt to break the bed sharing habit. I will pry my eyes open with quarters, drink a gallon of coffee, pop no doze like candy, and whatever else it may take, to stay awake and make my way, back to my bed at night. I ask you to wish me luck and keep your fingers and toes crossed. Any pointers you may have to kicking this habit the right way, would be much appreciated. Thank you!