Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

April 16, 2009

Feng shui in the bedroom, with the sleeping police

I’ve been at it again…redecorating.  This time, it’s the only remaining bedroom that I haven’t touched since moving here in ’04.  To be honest, I’m quite pleased with the results.  I appear to be in some sort of shabby-chic, French country type mood.  The walls in the soon-to-be spare room are a pale, creamy yellow, with light-colored accents, flowers, and yes, doilies.  It’s very feminine.  Perhaps Eliza will claim it one day.  For now, I finally have fulfilled my dream of having a guest room with a title:  The Yellow Room.  It’s very silly, but I’ve always fantasized about saying to…whomever…as guests arrive, “Put them in the Yellow Room, please, Jeeves.”  Anyway, I’ll post pictures when I’m completely finished with it.

Of course, this is the room that David and I have occupied.  (Okay, correction.  It’s the room where our clothes hang.)  I’m now in the process of switching all our things over to the “master” bedroom, i.e., the big bedroom at the back of the house.  This is turning out to be somewhat of a process.  The feng shui is a little off. 

Linus and Eliza are slowly making the transition to their own beds in their own rooms.  And, rant-alert here, slowly is the way it should be!  I never was the type of mother to let a baby or toddler or child “cry it out,” and the truth is that David isn’t that type of father.  I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s better to sleep with the baby and put in a solid eight hours of sleep, than try to push independence on an entirely dependent being, and subsequently wake up every hour or two during the night.  The argument that a parent shouldn’t pick up a small baby every time he cries for fear of him “becoming dependent on you” makes me want to shout, “It’s a BABY!  They’re pretty much, by definition, dependent!”  

Sleep deprivation has never been an issue in the Borer household.  I feel like I’ve stumbled upon some sort of top-secret thing, but make no mistake, a whole lot of parents are in on it.  Some of us just admit it.  And, really, it just feels so much more natural.  I highly doubt that our Neanderthal ancestors awoke five times a night to go check on Junior in his room at the back of the cave.  (Of course, breastfeeding makes a difference, too.  No bottle making during the night.)

 Of course, every family is different, so whatever works best for you is fine with me.

What is startling to me, though, is the interest that others have shown in our private family sleeping decisions.  And it seems that these people are tsking, not over the “dependence” issue, but for more, um, private reasons.  The fact that no night sleeping arrangement is the same and usually begins and ends with each parent with a child causes some hearers no end of consternation and horror. 

Listen, while I’m completely flattered (and not a little bit weirded out) that you have such an abject concern for our sex life, don’t you think that you’re being a little bit skewed?  Let’s put it this way.  I can’t remember where I read this, but another mom fed up with this phenomenon reasoned, “If unlimited sexual access to your wife/husband is your foremost concern, you might consider cat ownership as a sensible alternative to parenting.”  Amen.  

Now onto a seemingly unrelated subject that has been on my mind lately, that struck me as being TOTALLY the same:  The sharing of the good news of pregnancy.

I was pregnant with Linus two months after our wedding.  I recall sharing the news, and nearly half of all people said something like, “So soon?”  “Weren’t you just married?”  or, my favorite, “Aren’t you on birth control?!?”  Someone is expecting a baby (not me, by the way), and I won’t reveal who right now, but several responses to the good news were the same or variations.  Excuse me, but where I come from, babies are good things, and they’re pretty much the natural result of sex.  The default position is, “Babies Good!” 

It seems to be becoming the opposite in our society.  The default position is now, “Babies bad, unless each and every little thing is in place and the appropriate amount of time has passed since the wedding, then they’re acceptable.”**  Kind of a shame, really. 

But my little exegeses are completely related;  In many minds, marriage is for nothing more than sex.  The natural result of sex–they’re called “babies”– is totally divorced from it.  Hence,  married people are “surprised” by pregnancy, and people are horrified if you don’t always sleep in the same bed as your husband.  Welcome to Bizarro World.

**I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with waiting to have a baby.  Everyone’s different.  I’m just pointing out the ridiculousness of taking a condemnatory tone in response to those who decide to have a baby sooner.

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6 Comments »

  1. BLESS YOU! I’m so glad to read about someone who recognizes the value of the family bed, the love and nurturing it gives a baby, and the fact that CIO is damaging and unnecessary! Good for you and congratulations on being AWESOME parents!!!

    Comment by Sandra — April 16, 2009 @ 9:04 am |Reply

  2. As mom to 5 who were nursed and snuggled in our family bed till each was ready to sleep happily alone, I look back with fondness on those 12 or so years. My kids now range from 9 to 19, one away in college, a secure and confident young man. Nights were peaceful- we all got enough sleep. I always thought comments about our lack of privacy were a reflection on the commenter’s lack of creativity. Parents have to “think outside the bed.” Once the children are asleep, you do have the rest of the house. That is if you aren’t asleep, too.

    Comment by Sally Morgan — April 16, 2009 @ 2:44 pm |Reply

  3. Sandra, thanks for your confidence, but we’re probably just average in the parenting dept. 🙂 Perhaps we’re just “lazy.” Letting them sleep with us is so much easier!

    Sally, I agree. There’s definitely a distinction between too much and too little, but in my experience, children who are pushed to independence before they’re ready are more insecure. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and parents know what’s best for their own kids.

    It’s all about balance, I suppose…

    “Think outside the bed.” That’s funny.

    Comment by lindyborer — April 16, 2009 @ 3:53 pm |Reply

  4. Not breastfeeding isn’t a problem for co-sleeping, either. Our kids are all adopted, so (except for a brief, painful foray into adoptive breastfeeding) they were all bottle fed. We put two bottles in the bottle cooler at the head of the bed, and everyone had a great night. 🙂 My mom called us “lazy”. We thought we were just being sensible!

    And when our social worker, on a post-adoption check-up asked my oldest daughter (then aged four months), “Oh, are you gonna weave da wittle bed when you go to college?” I very nearly bit her head off.

    Comment by politicalhousewyf — April 17, 2009 @ 12:01 am |Reply

  5. Its funny how people project their insecurities and sexual hangups on other peoples decisions.

    I have four..their sleeping and breastfeeding needs were all different. Going with your mothering instincts is the best way to mother, and if you are sleep deprived, its tough to make good decisions. Sleeping with my kids was key to me being rested and able to take care of them and enjoy them during the day. Most people in the world sleep with their kids…. As to people’s concern about your sex life. I didnt know you can only have sex in a bed at night!!!

    Comment by elizabeth — April 18, 2009 @ 7:45 am |Reply

  6. Yup. We’re in the process of transitioning our 2 year old into his own bed. When I watch a TV show with a young couple suffering through crying nights with their newborn I just think, “curl up next to that baby and stick a boob in its mouth. You’ll both be happier and more rested.” But that’s not the norm these days, and is even frowned upon.
    We’re expecting our fourth baby, and most people would tell us we don’t have the room in our house or the money. I guess we’ll just have to find a way to be happy!

    Comment by Erin — April 19, 2009 @ 11:46 am |Reply


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