Parenthood and separate beds? Say it ain’t so!

Parenthood and separate beds? Say it ain’t so!

Hey RC. It has recently come to my attention that at least 3 of my married friends who have young children (anywhere from 6 months to 3yrs old) sleep in seperate beds to their husbands. Being a non-married, non-mother, this fills me with horror! When I have questioned them, they have all said that the stress of a child not sleeping through the night means that they have resorted to kicking hubby out in preference of having the child in the bed so that they can all get some sleep. Having no kids myself, I can’t really comment on how hard the first few years are, but the thought of not spending the night cuddled up to my man and losing that intimacy seems really sad to me. Since I started asking around, it has really surprised me that it seems to be really common, but no one really brings it up voluntarily. When / how do you get the intimacy back in this scenario? I’d love to hear from your readers as well. TB

I do have a kid – a gorgeous seven-month-old – so I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question. My little cherub has slept through the night only a handful of times since she popped into this world. I’ve talked to her about it, but she simply demands warm milk at 3am and won’t budge. I drag my sorry carcass out of bed at least 2-3 times a night to re-settle or feed. And yeah, it’s totally exhausting. I do feel like I’m propping myself up on caffeine and exercise and I go to bed at 8.30pm most nights. But I have realised this: I’m not alone, and it’s going to take more time. At 2-3 years of age, 41 percent of young children are still waking at night.
But would I sacrifice my middle-of-the-night spooning and special, sacred place I share with my partner just for a bit more shut-eye – no. Never. There’s so little room for intimacy when you have kids, that I happen to believe the bed should be a shrine to just the two of you. [For other cultures, I should point out, this isn’t the case. 80 percent of the world’s parents sleep with their baby and that’s working out just fine for them].
I would imagine this is quite a common scenario. Even if it’s just a few nights a week when Dad or Mum sleeps in the spare room, just to get some proper sleep. But I wouldn’t necessarily advocate it. I realise this is a touchy issue for sleep deprived parents among us, and that’s why I’d love to throw this one to the floor. Tell me, do you sleep in separate beds? Why? And does it concern you?
Love, reality chick

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  1. Claire 10 years ago

    So sorry if I offend anyone but I feel very strongly about this issue.
    The worst thing you can do is bring a child into your bed- this is a really hard habit to break so don’t do it.
    They learn behaviour so if you teach them that once they wake up they will be brought into bed for a cuddle, they will wake up. You can settle a child in their room even if you are tired. You don’t let them run on the road so apply that logic at night time. Lets not forget that the adults are in charge and they do need their own time and space of an evening. It keeps us sane!

  2. Reality Chick 10 years ago

    8 months! I can only hope my girl is the same…:-) come on parents…more commenting!

  3. Polly 10 years ago

    I am in the same position as the letter writer and would love to hear honest comments from parents too!! Anyone, anyone??

  4. Tina T 10 years ago

    I think that no matter how demanding a baby is, that you can’t just throw in the towel when it comes to trying to hang onto any shred of intimacy. Of course my oldest is now and teen and my youngest is 12, but I do remember those sleep deprived nights, days, nights–lets face it they all blend together after a while. I still think that if you are determined to keep in separate rooms, that you’re baby will settle down and sleep through the night eventually. If you decide to do the separate room bit, well there is your child’s new bedtime routine, and there is no incentive for you or the baby to get that baby into sleeping through the night on his own.

    Just for the record, 8 months was a magic number for both my boys, where they started sleeping for longer stretches, and by 10 months it was a rare night when they didn’t sleep all the way through. Hopefully this will be your experience too!

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