One day recently my son Jacob, who is almost four now, was telling me where everyone sleeps. According to him Hannah sleeps in Hannah’s room, Jacob sleeps in Jacob’s room and Daddy sleeps in Daddy’s room. Then I asked him where I sleep, and he looked confused. He had no idea how to answer the question – and I can understand his confusion. Years of co-sleeping have blurred the issue considerably.
Jacob doesn’t know where I sleep
The truth is there is no single place that I sleep. When one of my kids wakes up at night and needs me, I crawl in with them. This is why I got them double beds as toddlers. I didn’t relish the idea of trying to squeeze myself into a car bed with a two-year-old, as I’d heard many of my friends had done. When it’s really hot out and my husband Jon wants to have the fan on and the window open, I go to sleep in Jacob’s room, where it is more than a little too warm but blissfully quiet. And sometimes, it really does happen that I get to sleep in my own bed with my husband and no children all night long. (Dare to dream!)
In Jacob’s mind, all the other members of our family have a room of their own, and I just drift about between them. Sometimes it really does feel that way. I am a woman without a country. I have no single place to lay my head. I go where I am needed, I get enough sleep most nights, and I try not to overthink it.
There was a time when I never would have dreamed of sleeping any place other than my own bed, beside my own husband. In the early years of our marriage we would argue most every night about the temperature (I like it hot, he likes it cold) and the sleeping conditions (he likes the fan, I like it quiet). Not once did it occur to me to sleep someplace else. I would have viewed that as a sign of marital discord. And so we compromised, and both of us were unhappy, and I could rest easy knowing that if my husband and I were tossing and turning, we were tossing and turning together.
Time changes things, though. Two children and various sleeping arrangements and some major furniture purchases later, I’m much less fussed about where I sleep. I no longer consider it a necessity that I sleep beside my husband all night, every night. The truth is, really, Jon likes his space when he sleeps anyway. He’s never been one to spoon, preferring not to touch me at all while he slumbers. And yet, our marriage survives. The difference between sleeping on opposite sides of the same king-sized bed or sleeping down the hall from each other is largely academic, and I don’t think it signals imminent marital meltdown.
Is it unfair that with four people in my family, I am the one who doesn’t get a room to call my own? Maybe. Mostly, though, I just think it’s a pragmatic reality. My goal isn’t fairness, it’s sleep. I’ll do whatever I can to get the most sleep for the most people in my family. If that means that my preschooler can’t tell you where his mom sleeps, well, I can totally live with that.
What about you? Do you find your sleeping arrangement changing from day-to-day? Does it bother you, or do you accept it? I’d love to hear!