Monday, March 31, 2008

Letting sleeping girls lie

Am I a bad mother?

I found myself thinking that last night, as I lay in bed. Beside me was my husband Kyle, and at my feet and curled along the other side of my body, was my five-year-old Harmonie.

Harmonie often sleeps with us. It started when Kyle began working away from home.

I found bedtime went much easier if I let the kids sneak into bed with me.

Which was fine every now and then, but not so good when Kyle began working home more often. See, my plan was to get out bed once the kids were asleep – but often I’d end up falling asleep before they did!

Whenever Kyle came home, Chase would grudgingly return to his room, but the Little Princess refused.

“I want to sleep with Mumma,” she’d pout.

These days, Harmonie happily sleeps in her own bed quite often, but there are times – when she’s sick, had a bad dream, or particularly fretful – that we let her join us.

To be honest, we’re not too concerned about it. Okay, it does kind of rule out the occasional middle-of-the-night fumble, but after all, there other times (and places) for that!

And I like the feel of that warm little body snuggled up around my feet. Yes, my feet!

Harmonie likes to pop her pillow at the bottom of the bed, and hang on to my leg at night. Often she’ll cuddle my foot as she goes to sleep, or reach for it in the middle of the night. Sometimes, she lays with her legs on mine. Other times, she sleeps with one hand on my foot, and another curled around Kyle’s big toe.

I think it’s sweet. There’s something so innocent and wonderful as the love of a child. And I know that this feeling won’t last forever – that one day, Harmonie will turn into a rebellious teen who won’t want to be anywhere near me, let alone at my feet!

And though he complains, Kyle quite likes it too – otherwise he’d turf her out himself.

Anyway, I wrote about our ‘bedtime problems’ for Brisbane newspaper The Courier Mail recently, and was astounded at the response I got.

While a few readers were nice, there were those who called us ‘pathetic’ and accused us of raising cosseted children who would grow up to be bullied and picked on. We were told to ‘grow a backbone’ and stand up to the whining of a small child.

But I don’t know, last night as I crept back into bed after tending to my son - growing pains, but that’s another story – Harmonie contentedly grabbed my foot in her sleep and cuddled it against her. And I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this really so wrong?

Am I really spoiling my child and putting my marriage second by loving being so close to her? Could I be responsible for her getting a foot fetish in later life?

What’s worse is that it’s not just Harmonie who likes sleeping with us, it’s our cats too.

Sometimes there are five of us in this marital bed – so it’s a bit crowded.

Is it time to get a bigger bed? Or should we accept that we’ve made our bed, and now have to lie in it?


The Single Parent Bible said...

Hi Bronnie

This blog really speaks to me as I still let my little one (6 year old) sleep in my bed if he wants. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. He's happy and not 'scared' and I'm not up and down all through the night. If you're a bad mother, than I and thousands of others are too. When you are all ready to be in your own beds, then it will happen - until then, I see no harm.

Congrats on your new blog. I'm looking forward to reading many more of your insightful and amusing anecdotes.

Tina Shaw

The Single Parent Bible

How to Start a Business With Less Than $100

Reality Parenting

Bronnie said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Tina. It's so good to know I'm not alone!