Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Works For Me: Don't Wake Mommy

This morning I was sipping my coffee and browsing blogs (AKA "procrastinating") when I realized it was Wednesday. (Wow, this week is really flying by!) Of course then I realized that in blogland it's "Works-for-me-Wednesday," the day when many of us share what makes our lives easier. I sat for a moment, looked at the chaos in my schoolroom (due to the aforementioned procrastination), thought through my kitchen routine, chore charts, etc. and came to the realization that I must have already posted every single thing that works for me. Of course, the disorder in my immediate vicinity reminds me that I've yet to find some things that work for me, so that wouldn't be post-worthy for today! "Hm. Oh well," I thought. "Nothing new to post."

Until just now, as I walked in my bedroom and saw something that has worked for me for years and I've yet to post about.

Sleeping bags.

My kids are 15-almost-16, 13, and 10- our 10 yo having just joined our family just under a year ago, adopted from Ethiopia. What I saw in my bedroom this morning were two sleeping bags in the floor where my two boys (13 and 10) had valiantly slept last night because their Dad is traveling on business this week and they wanted to sleep downstairs with Mom. As I folded up those sleeping bags and returned them to their positions under the foot and side of my bed, I thought about how many times those sleeping bags have been used since the older two were very young.

Years ago, I had two little ones who didn't like to stay in their rooms at night. Sometimes it was bad dreams, sometimes a noise outside woke them in the night, sometimes a thunderstorm was frightening... so they ended up where many little ones end up- in Mommy and Daddy's bed. At first I really didn't mind because I love the snuggles, but after about oh, say 90 seconds of that I was ready to go back to sleep. Finally, we got out the big fluffy camping sleeping bags and let them sleep on the floor of our room and we were all back to sleep faster- the kids felt secure and cozy being in our room and we had our bed back to ourselves. One morning all those years ago, instead of rolling the sleeping bags back up and storing them in the top of the closet again, I simply folded each one in half, one length-wise and stored under the side of the bed, and one width-wise and slid under the end of the bed.

Over the years, if anyone has needed to come crash in our room for whatever reason- a tummy ache, sleeplessness, fear, or just for security, they can simply come in with their pillow, slide out the sleeping bag, crash and not wake Mom. (Dad has the gift of being able to drift immediately back to sleep... not me.) Sometimes I have woken up in the pre-dawn hours when I love to get up, only to almost step on someone's head who I had no idea came in during the night. I love it! They found the security they needed and it didn't involve me waking up. Yesss! :)

I don't know what the books say. I'm sure there are plenty that suggest they should go right back to their own rooms. I'm sure there are loads of techniques to teach them how to do that and research to back up why that is optimal. I don't know, and since it's not "What the Experts Say Wednesday" I don't really care, LOL. This is what has worked for me. I do know I have a 16 year old who stays in her own room, never crashes on a sleeping bag in my room, and hasn't in years. She grew up sleeping many, many nights (sometimes weeks on end) on the floor in my room but when she was 12 she stayed for 6 weeks in China without her parents. I have three very independent kids who, now that they are older, readily fall asleep in their own rooms and stay there. I also know that in many parts of the world, entire families (even multiple generations) sleep in the same room due to tradition as well as space limitations. I also know that these years are fleeting. Soon they will be out of my house, and having those little feet pad into my room, slip a sleeping bag out from under the bed and sigh themselves back to sleep will be a distant memory. It's already a fading memory as it is! I also know that I function WAY better the next day when I've slept a-l-l night, and this system has helped me do just that. Additionally, I think this has let them know that they are always welcome in our room, that our door is always open to them no matter what, and I think that fosters security in other areas, bonding with our new son, and may even explain why my older two are so independent.

So sleeping bags and "don't wake Mommy" works for me!

For more ideas or to share your own, visit We Are That Family. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Leeann Ward said...

That's a really sweet idea. Parents can get the sleep they need while children feel safe and secure without feeling as though they cant go to their parents at any hour. I love it.

Anonymous said...

That's great! We have a cot that is always ready for Mary Claire. She can come in our room and go to sleep without waking us up. Sometimes I worry that I'm doing something wrong, but I won't anymore! Thanks for posting this. It was just for me! ;)


Tricia said...

I love this! We do this too, with sleeping bags and a fold out cot that we have added thanks to our Beavers Bend trips! The kids can come down when they need to and not disturb Mom! Sometimes, I wake up with three treasures sleeping in my room! Our 12 year old never comes down anymore :( I don't care what the books say either, this has totally worked for us for years and years and has made great memories for our family!

Vickie said...

Love the new look and glad to see you blogging!

Loni said...

We do the same thing - sleeping bags under Mom & Dad's bed. I remember NEVER being allowed to sleep in my parents' room as a child and never understanding why. My kids all know that if they need Mom or Dad - at any time of the day or night - we're here.

Good for you!

Daisy said...

I LOVE this post!! Cyndi, seriously, your posts are always so encouraging! You walk in freedom in so many areas in your life and it has been freeing for me to read and learn from you. I've done what you do/did here, but often with guilty feelings in the past (from reading what some "experts" feel the need to say.) As you know from some of what I've shared in the past, the last couple of years have been a journey into freedom for me in so many areas, and your blog posts/status updates continue to help me on that road, even in many unexpected and surprising ways. I sure hope to meet you someday!!:)

Much Ado said...

What a great idea! Love your new blog look, well new to me, I usually read you in my reader, so you might have had this up for a while.

Jenn said...

Awesome idea!

Emily said...

I think you told me about this when one of my 3 kiddos was waking us up a bunch with bad dreams. We've used it ever since!! It works for us, too! although, 2 weeks ago, I awoke at 3am to 2 of my kids arguing about who got to sleep in the sleeping bag...time to put another one under our bed! ;-)