Katie Pitman is a follower of Jesus, wife to a wonderful man, and mama of two wonderful, loud, usually dirty little boys. She sometimes blogs at Finding Querencia about her city family’s move to five acres in the San Diego wildness, where she cooks traditional food, welcomes friends, and tries to live in a clean, natural, & God-honoring way.
This is a guest post from my fabulous friend (like, in real life) Katie Pitman of Finding Querencia.
Once upon a time I was a mama who was all about a gentle version of the cry-it-out method. My first little guy was the type who needed his space, but also needed me or Daddy to pat his little butt for half an hour before he’d finally stop fighting and drift off to the magical nigh-nigh.
Fast forward to my second child, who is the snuggly, affectionate, and warm child that I prayed for. I didn’t realize that this could also be translated as clingy and needy.
In my defense, I prayed for these personality traits when it was just my un-snuggly husband and first son and me, who longed for something a bit more satisfying than a 10 second hug.
I thought that my extroverted (ENFP) personality would thrive with an attached little kiddie.
I’m not gonna lie, I was wrong.
I’m now an “attachment parent” because that’s what my guy needs me to be, not because I was planning on it. My heart is changing, and I think that’s a good thing.
I don’t think that I ever realized how much alone time I needed until it wasn’t available to me anymore. Motherhood is full of growth and change, and it really is a forge for personality.
I was plugging along, praying and strengthening, and I thought I had a pretty good handle on things. Then the baby stopped sleeping. I mean, I know that kids don’t always (or often) sleep well. My older son wasn’t a good sleeper until about 18 months, but he figured it out, and even when he didn’t sleep longer than 2-3 hours at a time it was possible to get him back to sleep in his own bed.
But my baby, now 13 months old, will not sleep alone. He’ll go to sleep in his bed when we first put him down, but I think that’s because he’s a runner and he’s exhausted. When he wakes up for the first time around , it takes the combined effort of all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, and a lot of mama milkies to get him to settle down again into his pack n’ play in our room.
When he wakes up at , only getting into bed with us will keep him from playing and/or sobbing for hours.
When Baby first started sleeping in bed with me, my husband was out of town on business and Baby was sick. It was easy and oh, so sweet to snuggle with his little warm body and keep an ear on his snotty breathing.
It still is sweet, very often.
I really, truly do love this little man and his overwhelming love for me. His love shows itself in a way that’s easy for me to understand, with pats on my cheek and his little head burrowing into my armpit (“gross” also equals “sweet” so often in motherhood, amirite?).
I struggle with wanting my alone time to sleep versus how much easier it is to keep him asleep when he’s all up ons.
Trying to keep in mind that this is only a little while helps sometimes, but it’s hard to remember that the years are short when the days—and nights—can be so very long.
Our family recently moved to a bigger house, and now my older son (4 years old) keeps coming in to bed with us, too. We bought a bigger bed when we moved, but my husband is still getting kicked in the back and ends up on the couch several nights a week.
Just when I think I’m good with co-sleeping, another curveball shakes up the game.
It’s hard to balance putting my husband first, making my kiddies feel happy and secure, and managing to sleep sometime in the midst of it all. I’m up a lot in the middle of the night, as I think a lot of you are, if you’re reading this.
I don’t have much advice, because people in the trenches rarely do. All I can do is encourage you that you’re not alone, awake in the middle of the night.
You’re in the company of thousands, millions of other mamas, all trying to be selfless while our protesting bodies beg us to roll over and put the pillow over our heads (though sometimes we do that, too). The Lord sustains us, and our mama hearts urge us on when we think we can’t get up one more single time.
What about you? Do you co-sleep? Do you like it/hate it/somewhere in between? How do you find balance if your husband isn’t a fan but your babies demand it?
This post is part of the “31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood” series.