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The Five Reasons I Don't Co-Sleep

03/11/2013 05:18 EDT | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 EDT
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PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 01: A child sleeps as her mother, a recently-arrived refugee from Iraq, learns how to receive food stamps during a class held by the Arizona Department of Economic Security at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), office on March 1, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. IRC programs like many programs that receive federal funding, may be greatly cut back due to federal sequestration cuts. The IRC is a non-profit humanitarian aid organization that aids refugees and survivors of international conflict. They assist new arrivals, many of whom come from refugee camps and war zones, to adjust to American society after being granted refugee status and invited by the U.S. government to live in the United States. The IRC also assists refugees through the immigration and naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

When Attached Parents at Work recently added a "Reasons to co-sleep" post to its Facebook page, very much in favour of the practice rooted in attachment parenting, there arose such a clatter that you could actually hear claws emerging from mama bears. Mothers on one side of the fence shouted about the perceived dangers of co-sleeping while the mothers on the other side were left to defend their choices.

Look, I know we're not all ever going to agree. On breastfeeding vs. formula, cloth vs. disposables, when and how to start solids, sleep training, spanking, TV limits, babywearing, juice, french fries (even if they're salt-free) -- and certainly not on co-sleeping.

But unless it's a truly life-threatening or neglectful choice, why can't we just agree to disagree, understanding -- from one parent to the next -- that this shit is hard and we're all doing the best we can?

I've adopted a lot of the attachment parenting principles, but co-sleeping isn't one of them. Unless they're sick or scared -- which of course happens from time to time and they're welcome in our bed -- I just can't do it. And I'm OK with that. So, attack me all you want but here are the top five reasons I don't co-sleep:

1. Comfort. When a two year old knees you in the back after you just fell asleep following a random smack to your face, sleep is choppy and unpleasant. My kids are all over the map when they sleep, and often end up sideways. I need long stretches of sleep to feel well-rested; my family needs me well-rested if they don't want psycho-mommy on their hands.

2. The tube. I like to watch TV before bed some nights. I've created a master bedroom that I really enjoy and I'll be damned if I'm going to be relegated to the basement to watch the Real Housewives.

3. Sex. It's fun to do, my mattress is comfortable and I want to have it in my bed whenever I want.

4. Pee. I haven't peed the bed in a long time, so a king-sized waterproof mattress protector is pretty low on the priority list.

5. Booze. Every once in a while I like to have a good bottle of wine -- all to myself. I would never live down the guilt of rolling on to one of my kids and hurting them. Besides, even a mild hangover is much more tolerable if you're not woken up with a swift kick to the jugular (see point No. 1).

If you're co-sleeping and it's working for you, hooray! If you're co-sleeping and it's not working for you, what's stopping you from making a change? And if you're not co-sleeping and you don't feel guilty or selfish, now you know you're not alone.

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