At the end of February, I posted an article about Releasing Expectations - as a part of the post I shared that I was working on releasing the expectation of independent sleep. Our family has been on quite a sleep journey over the last 6.5 years and over that time I've worked with hundreds of families, witnessed many different sleep strategies, and have come to this conclusion:
There is no right way for every family to sleep.
The best thing for your family is to sleep the way that works for your family at this time.
Our family's sleep story has included SO MANY different combinations including (in order):
There were so many hard nights and so many moments of "we did it!" There were developmental leaps, diarrhea that exploded out of a pull-up, SO MANY stuffed animals, 3 different night lights, and literally countless texts to friends about how tired we were.
When we stopped listening to "experts," reading sleep books, and googling at 3am we realized that our kids' sleep wasn't the problem, our expectations were. We found out (via those texts about utter exhaustion) that most of our struggles were similar to what our friends with similar aged children were going through.
This may look like a "sleep failure" or worst nightmare to some, but it's what worked for us in each different stage. True to most of parenting, as soon as we had something figured out, it changed. So we reevaluated, rearranged furniture, and made it through.
We currently have a 3.5 and 6.5 year old who are still sharing that bottom bunk. We read them books together at night and lie with them as they fall asleep. At some point between 4-6 am at least one - usually both - of them crawls into our king bed (which has a frame now!) and goes back to sleep.
I'm savoring the sweet moments of whispered conversations before they fall asleep and the early morning cuddles. It's working for us right now.
Wherever you are on your sleep journey, I hope you'll be able to look at your own family and everyone's unique needs, and get creative about what might work for you.
Pictured: our current kid room set-up - where they both sleep on the bottom bunk!
Please feel free to ask questions or share about your sleep journey below!
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.