Don’t Judge This Family’s Co-Sleeping Ways

What works for one doesn’t work for another. It’s a point lost on many parents and — with the Internet’s ease of voicing an opinion — it’s one that can often hurt unsuspecting moms and dads. This is what happened to Elizabeth, a wife and mother of six, and author of the traveling blog, “Wandering The World Below.”

Elizabeth, her husband, and five kids — 11, 9, 7, 3, and 1 — share an elaborate bed she finagled to accommodate all of them. It’s an impressive piece of furniture that went viral after she posted a photo to her blog.

“The next morning you wake up to find that (the photo) has been viewed by 30,000 people and you think … Ok, does no one have anything better to do? It isn’t THAT remarkable,” wrote Elizabeth on her blog. “As the day goes on, it gets crazier and crazier. Suddenly 175,000 people are discussing my sex life and how they (or wait, no, me) are going to have to pay for therapy.”

Yes, everyone has an opinion.

Impressively, Elizabeth took a stand against the naysayers and put together a concise rebuttal to the top 10 snarky remarks she received in response to her initial post. You can read the original post to see what she says in response to each comment, but the overlying message is: sleep.

Yes, sleep. Something that will legitimately drive you crazy if you don’t get it. That ever-elusive commodity non-parents don’t realize they have until it’s gone.

“We travel a lot,” wrote Elizabeth. “When we travel, we stay in one little pop-up camper or one hotel room. That means that our kids are accustomed to sleeping together and in the same space as us. So every time we would be on the road and return home we had to ‘retrain’ them to sleep in their own beds.

“Bedtime was full of tears and fights. They got out of bed repeatedly. Our house was lit up like the 4th of July with nightlights because everyone was anxious alone. We got to the point where our bedroom floor was covered in palettes full of sleeping children. It got old.”

There was a day not to long ago that I would have judged the hell out of this situation. Just as many others did in response to her post, asking questions about her sex life, bedtime solutions, and space problems, I would have had something to say about this.

But my recent experience trying to sleep train my nine-month-old baby has changed my perspective. All three of my kids share one room, something that makes sleep training increasingly difficult. In order to allow the baby to cry it out, our five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son slept in our room.

It appeared to the naked eye that the older children slept peacefully throughout the night, but their moods the following day suggested otherwise. They were complete hellions, only made worse by another night of attempted sleep training. It was my most difficult weekend as a parent other than being home with my newborn son and then–19-month-old daughter after having a c-section.

The result? The resolve that I don’t care if our youngest wakes up every night until she’s 18 … I will not experience another weekend of chronically sleep deprived children! It is just not worth it.

That is why, Elizabeth Boyce, I do not judge your opinion to host your entire family in one bed. I get it. Sleep matters and it’s all about going with the flow. If one of your children decides he feels weird about sleeping with the family, you’ll gladly move him out of the bed. I get it.

So keep enjoying your sleep in the awesome bed you built. You deserve it.

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