Jess Urlichs shared a post on Instagram recently about a child who wakes during the night and comes into her parents room to sleep… from the perspective of the child. I have never thought about this from the perspective of the child, but it really struck a chord as so often in parenting and life – especially when things are hard – it can be hard to see things from anyone’s perspective but our own.
Back when my now 7 year old was 3, she woke most nights for almost a year. At first, we got up and tried to resettle her in her own bedroom. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t. We all lost sleep. So after a few frustrating weeks, we decided to put a small mattress, blanket and pillow on our bedroom floor and when she woke, she’d toddle in and snuggle up next to us and go straight back to sleep. Most of the time, we didn’t even hear her or wake up ourselves.
At the time, a family member scoffed that this was lazy parenting. I don’t take criticism from people I wouldn’t go to for advice, so I wasn’t upset or angry. I was used to it from this family member anyway.
But the comment popped into my head last night when I read Jess’ post and it made me think…
Why do we use a word with negative connotations (lazy) to speak of the way a family creates the best environment for optimal sleep? As though sleep should somehow be sacrificed on the altar of ‘discipline’ to the gods of self-soothing.
She *could* self-settle; she just needed a different space to do it in – a space that was close to those she loved and trusted most in the whole wide world.
A world that continues to scoff at a child’s need for connection.