Mum confession: I lie down with my children until they fall asleep - every night
This particular habit was never something I sort of set out to do – but rather something that developed over time, as it just seemed to be what worked – for our family.
With bedtime, like most things when it comes to parenting, we just find whatever works for us – and stick with it.
It started when my little girl was little, when, as a result of my husband doing a degree abroad, we were on our own a lot. I would read to her in the double bed every night, even when she was too young to really get the concept of what we were reading, and then snuggle down beside her until she was fast asleep before lifting her into her own cot – and later bed.
It was such a lovely way to end our day, I think, which is why it just became something I kept doing. She would fall asleep pretty much instantly next to me, and I would get a few moments of just quiet time, before getting up again to attend to whatever needed doing around the house, or just to watch some TV and hang out with (or Facetime) my husband.
When our little boy joined the family, we kept this habit up. At this point, my little girl was three and a bit, so the books we read were at first just for her – while he was too little to have an opinion, something which changed as he got bigger and eventually wanted his own books to read. They would both fall asleep snuggled next to each other (and me), and when I got back up, would lift them into their respective beds (even though they often, at some point during the night, ended up back in our bed).
But guess what? We never have bedtime battles. Ever. I have never had a broken night's sleep. Not one – in eight years.
And still now, aged eight and four – we do this. And you have no idea how many people have warned me how I am spoiling them. How they will never learn to settle on their own. How I am making a "rod for my own back." And on and on and on it goes with the warnings.
And on and on and on we go doing our thing – because to us, to me, and to them, it is pretty much the perfect way to end our busy, busy days. Lying down together at night, all of us snuggled into the "big bed" – that is our time. We read (one book each), have a little chat about our day, and generally just soak up this closeness – all of us. Because I need it as much as them.
Why? Because motherhood is about following your heart, and mine tells me that this is good for us. And because I know it won't last forever. And because I want to let them be little. And if that means needing me to go asleep for now, well, then I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.