Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Family Bed

Some times I censor myself because I'm afraid to make waves.  I know, some of you may be thinking I should censor myself more, but you know what, this is my blog, and it is called My Alternative Life.  So you really shouldn't be shocked by anything I post here. (This was just me chastising myself for being silly.)

My blog post today was inspired by my sweet 1 year old boy, Sage.  He woke me up this morning by repeatedly kissing me on the lips.  (Thankfully he closes his mouth now, so there is no ick factor involved anymore.)  Obviously, this totally brightened my day, and made me grateful for incorporating a family bed into our lives.  I mean, who wouldn't want to wake up to this face in the morning?

I've been hesitant to share our family bed story because I was worried people will think we're weird.  Well, today, I'm embracing my weirdness and sharing my story anyway.  After all, life isn't about what other people think of you, its about finding what makes you happy.

I'll start this story with bed time.  Now, in our house, as I'm sure in some of yours, bed time was a bad word.  The kids would hear it and immediately start protesting.  On average it took at least an hour, usually more to get our kids to actually fall asleep.  This was, by far, the worst part of my day.  I dreaded it almost as much as my kids did.  And even after they fell asleep my kids would wake with nightmares or a wet bed and come and sleep with us anyway.  

We tried LOTS of things to help.  At first, my daughter and son were in separate rooms, so I put them in the same room thinking if they were together it would be easier.  We got them bunkbeds, night lights(the awesome ones from Ikea), cool bed sets, anything that we thought would make them think their bedroom was cooler than ours.  None of it worked.  When you think about it, its flattering that nothing in the world can compete with how much they love you, right?  I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

After searching for a better way for years, I finally came across an article in Rethinking Everything Magazine  on The Family Bed by Dayna Martin.  

If you know me, you know I am a big Dayna Martin fan.  She is an Unschoolling, Peaceful Parenting advocate, and has been a big influence in my life.

As I was reading this article I knew that this was our answer.  It just felt right!  That night we brought the kids in bed with us and bedtime went so peacefully.  They were asleep with in 30 minutes!  No fighting, just loving and cuddling.  No more nightmares, no more bed wetting.  I only wish I could go back and have done this from the start with my kids. 

After about a week of sharing a king size bed with 5 people we knew we needed more room.  We went and bought a queen to add to our space and now we almost have wall to wall bedding.  

As far as alone time with my husband goes, we have 3 bedrooms and only use one for sleeping, so we brought a queen size into the room that nobody uses, just for us.  Not to mention, we have the rest of the house. ;)

 It isn't always a walk in the park, but it is always better than it was.  Raising our kids will only be about a quarter of our lives, and they will probably only want to sleep with us for about half of that.  I love being able to honor their requests to sleep with us.  I remember how vulnerable I felt at night as a child and how alone and scary it can be.  I will honor this request for them as long as they need it.

So, that's our family bed story.  Weird?  Maybe, but it is definitely what is right for us, and we are happy to incorporate it into our lives.  I couldn't get wake up kisses from my baby if he was in a crib, and I can't imagine a better way to start my day. :)