The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Sleeping with Mom

Aiden bounded through the gates of the preschool looking for the largest gathered crowd. He had big news today – big news – and he wanted an audience. His presence was so large, that the kids silenced as he approached. They could tell something was up with Aiden and they wanted to know what.

“My mom slept in my bed last night!!!” Aiden blurted.

The children’s eyes widened. Just the reaction he’d hoped for.

I held my breath and studied my child.

“Wow,” Lucas said. “All night?”

“Yes, ALL night,” Aiden replied proudly.

“Did she fall asleep with you or did she come in the middle of the night?” Connor asked.

“Middle of the night,” Aiden said.

He had them in the palm of his hand. They were rapt and he was gonna drag this story out for as long as he could.

Meanwhile, I silently prayed that my very verbal son, Will, would remain silent. He was looking puzzled.

“Top bunk or lower?” Margo asked.

“No bunk,” Aiden reported.

“Why did she sleep with you?” Lucy asked.

This one threw him a little. He hadn’t considered why, he just knew that it happened and he was damn excited about it. “I don’t know” Aiden said.

Aiden continued to hold court, peppered by the curious children’s questions.

I noticed another woman hanging on every word: Aiden’s mother, Anna. She and I didn’t blink or move. She looked as nervous as I felt. We clearly both had a secret.

I was never very connected with Anna. She kinda bugged me. Right now though, she was my sister and I was feeling her pain.

My son’s silence was an enormous relief and I prayed for it to continue. At last, Anna moved in. “Aiden,” she said, smiling through a clenched jaw, “You may come inside and put your lunchbox away.” She took him by the hand and led him through the parting sea of children.

I imagined what precipitated the evening’s sleeping arrangement – a fight with her husband? Probably. Her face looked undone, uptight, unglued, a sharp contrast to her usual contained, perfect presentation.

I knew what my anxiety was about – co-sleeping. My son and I sleep in the same bed every night. To the uneducated, that’s weird. To people who practice attachment parenting, it’s the best choice for our children.

Studies show that boys who co-slept with their parents between birth and five years old had significantly higher self-esteem and experienced less guilt and anxiety. Other studies showed that co-sleeping children receive higher evaluations from their teachers than solitary sleeping children.

I knew the facts and was sure of my choice, yet, I didn’t want the other mothers to know.


Was I afraid of their scrutiny, judgment, gossip?

Hell, yes.

This felt personal. Co-sleeping is such a loaded topic that people are very strong with their opposition. I wanted to spare myself of all the stories attributing bed-sharing to broken marriages or maladjusted teenagers.

It amazed me that something normal in our household is clearly abnormal in most others. I don’t mind our abnormality. I just don’t want my son to hold court in the preschool playground about it.

By Beth O’Neill


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