I’ve definitely felt judged for being affectionate with my boys. I love to kiss them, cuddle them, tickle and hold them – a lot. I’ve been on the receiving end of some not-so-subtle judgmental side-eyes but I’m here to say I just don’t care what anyone thinks. I love love and I love that my boys are happy to receive as many cuddles as possible. It’s crossed my mind that the judgment maybe gender related but they’re kids at the end of the day and they’re actively seeking signals that they are loved and cared for.
I sleep in the same room as my boys and some reactions to this revelation can be described as nothing less than aghast. Everyone has an opinion and it’s usually that it isn’t normal and shouldn’t be done. But why? 50% of the world’s cultures engage in Mother and child shared-sleeping arrangements. Research shows that Mothers from these cultures are as equally mortified by the idea of being separated from their children as some of the naysayers that I’ve encountered.
I’m also happy to openly admit that my boys maybe almost ready to sleep in their own rooms but I’m not quite there yet. I recently introduced separate toddler beds for the boys and we placed a mattress in between the beds “in case the boys happened to roll over” but really, it’s so that I have a place to lay.
Sad but true? Maybe, but while most Western cultures promote separate sleep in aid of child independence and quality sleep for the parents, children also need security and there’s nothing like rolling over in the black of night and feeling that Mum is there. This arrangement also gives me peace and I genuinely sleep better when I’m with them. I’m more relaxed when I hear and smell their sweet little breath at midnight and see their beautiful faces sleeping so peacefully.
I know that there will come a day when they’re too big for cuddles from mum and there’s no way they’ll let me cover them in kisses. I already feel sometimes that Christian doesn’t want to be (s)mothered when other people are around – he’s “a big boy now”. But while I still have that sliver of such precious time when they love love, I’m going to be there for them when they roll over in the middle of the night and wait with open arms for any opportunity to show them that they’re loved.