The hubs and I have been married for almost 15 years. Together for nearly 18! Looking back, we’ve had quite the evolution of sleeping arrangements. And yes, I do mean SLEEP! Ok ok, so I can’t avoid discussing sex when it comes to sleeping arrangements, but my main focus will be about sleeping, geesh. Get your heads out of the gutter!
Anyone else relate to the following evolution?
Phase 1: New Love.
You can’t get enough of each other. You’ll sleep anywhere together & it just doesn’t matter because you’re together… Twin bed, the floor of a friend’s house, couch. One pillow, no pillow, doesn’t matter. Back pain? Eh. You’re too intoxicated with new love to notice. Or maybe too young for back pain.
Phase 2: The Marriage Bed.
You buy a new mattress with your wedding money & snuggle close every night with the idea that, hey, maybe we will be one of those couples that does have sex every night.
This newlywed sex-fest lasts approximately 28ish nights… until you realize a week has passed and, though you feel rested, you panic, pushing you to your first fight.
What’s wrong with us?
Don’t you wish you could go back and tell yourself “Nothing. Welcome the land of normal. It’s *only* been a week?!? *SMACK* Snap out of it!”
Phase 3: Pregnancy.
Elated (even if it takes a few days of crying in your beer to find this joy, it does happen) and beaming about making a baby together, you & your spouse uncover a new excitement in bed together. You’re back to snuggling until you pass out… until…4-5 months in, you have to switch sides of the bed so you’re closer to the bathroom.7 months in, you & your extra pillows have taken over the now tiny queen-sized bed.
How the hell did we ever make a twin bed work??
At this point, you have two choices: continue to share the bed, making the un-pregnant spouse lose almost as much sleep as the pregnant. Stress! Option 2: Give the pregnant lady the queen bed with the closest proximity to the bathroom.
We were lucky & had a spare bed for the hubs. We would hang out together, possibly have sex, say goodnight & actually get the best night sleep possible! We adopted this idea even earlier the 2nd time around. Separate beds doesn’t have to = separation or divorce! In our case, it strengthened our marriage!
Phase 4: And Baby Makes Three.
Holy crap. Parenthood!!
You arrive home with your new tiny human: the most beautiful thing you’ve ever created!
You actually do take the advice every Momma on the planet annoyed you with & sleep when the baby sleeps at first. Because you pass out with them post-nursing. Breast-feeding is exhausting at first!
Then… the dishes & laundry pile up and you forget that advice apx 11.3 days in.Once night-time hits, you’re ready to sleep in your bed with your husband.
But… the baby has other ideas.
You try putting her down in every baby-shower gift you received: bassinet, cradle, pack & play, the crib, bouncy-seats, car-seat, swing, your bed… swaddled, uncovered completely…
And somehow… as sleepy as they seem, these tiny humans know when you’re not only sitting, but putting them down. These actions turn them into a screaming-red-faced mess that turns you into an over-tired, teary mess of emotions you didn’t even realize existed…
Until you finally give in and crash in the recliner with the baby on your chest.
This stage can last anywhere from 6 weeks to… well, from my experience, 14 months.
Because that’s how long it took to give ourselves a break, when the hubs & I left the state without her for 5 nights. Our 14-month old finally slept through the night the first night in that new environment with Nana instead of Momma or Daddy… and has been sleeping through the night ever since.
But those first 14 months? Huge test for our marriage. We read every frustratingly contradicting book & website, trying every method known to man!Then we promptly threw said books at the wall & proceeded to dance around them as they burned.
Yes friends, if you don’t have children yet, and you think the first year of a child-free marriage is hard? Hold on to your jimmy-hats. Ya know, unless you get lucky with one of those legendary easy-babies…
Phase 5: Children, as in, more than one.
Holy crap. You’re doing this again?!
Ahhh, but now you are armed with the weapon of experience, grasshopper.
This time around, you’re motivated; you’ve thought long & hard about the sleeping situation, especially if you struggled the first time around.
The big difference this time around? Unless your older child is in school full-time, that whole sleeping while the baby sleeps window is CLOSED & painted shut. Oh yeah, that’s why every new mom is endlessly told to sleep when the baby sleeps. Because we didn’t take that advice seriously & we’re all jealous we can’t sleep when our “babies” sleep anymore!
And here’s a fun little bonus: if you’re up all night with a baby, your oldest will need you apx 24 minutes after the baby finally crashes. If not earlier. You will never ever hear “Been up all night with my sister, daddy? I’m sorry, I’ll go back to sleep for another 2 hours so we can all feel rested today.”
Because of the struggles with our first-born, we lucked out the 2nd time around… or maybe we cashed in some good karma… our experience paid off… or… something. Our 2nd born slept through the night at 6 weeks.
Hey now, don’t throw your beer at me!
We had 14 months of little sleep the first time around!!
We deserved the easy-baby, dammit.
They DO exist!
Phase 6: Traveling with Children.
Remember how much you looked forward to vacationing… before you had children? Unless you’ve booked a sitter for your time away, now that you’re a parent, that vacation may not be the restful “vacation” you’re imagining. But if you did book a sitter — good luck trying to avoid sleeping the vacation away — not that there’s anything wrong with that.
You may have mastered getting the kids to sleep through the night in their own rooms, now you get to attempt the challenge of getting them to sleep in the same room, possibly in the same bed… with each other… and/or YOU?! Away from the comforts of home… NOOOOOOO!!!
And this, my friends, is why the beer is necessary.
And white-noise machines.
And extra blankets, pillows, air mattresses, yoga mats, toys, night-lights, pack & plays, etc, etc, ETC!
And as you pack All. Of. The. Things. You start to panic about the night-time routine — will the kids share a bed without keeping each other [and you] up all night? Will you be able to escape the room at all for an hour or two to have your coveted adult-time with a beer while watching tv with ample warnings of nudity, sex & suggestive dialogue? Hey, watching it is all you have! Hotel sex with kids in an earshot? BWHAHAHAHA!
The hubs always wonders why I get so stressed out when I’m packing our family of four.
It’s not him offering to help, he’s simply taking the opportunity to compare me to my mother… which always helps… to provide me with another reason to drink more beer. So many reasons.
This is the point where you start to demand consider seperate rooms. Another $20-30 to upgrade to a suite is usually a well-spent investment in my family.
The next issue? Should you keep your kids on their bedtime routine during travel? Or just keep them up until everyone in the family is ready to sleep?
My kids wake up at 7am no matter what time they go to sleep the night before. Up until midnight? Oh well! Wide awake, and STARVING at 7am!
And attempting to adjust back to their “normal” routine after a weekend “off” is also a huge pain in the ass because it seems to take another week to get them back on schedule!
Let’s face it, in Phase 6, all you want is that one positive family vacation memory. It will happen (but probably not at night) making the travel-woes worth it… even if you need a vacation from your family after the family vacation.
Once all is said & done, coming home to sleep in your own bed, in your own room, with a DOOR and a LOCK at the end of a family vacation… feels heavenly.
What sleeping arrangements have you mastered before & after children?