I used to (silently) mock parents who complained about lack of sleep. I thought, well how bad can it actually be? Ha, how wrong I was. But I honestly believed that these parents were just moaning about it when really, it wasn't all that bad. I truly believed, how bad can lack of sleep make you feel. Well, I know the answer now and it ain't pretty!
Until you have lived through endless nights, weeks and even months of sleep deprivation, then I guess you can never know what it actually feels like....
In the middle of it, I was a wreck - emotionally, physically and health wise too. I was sick, all the time, colds, coughs, etc, that took their toll. I was tired, so tired, that some days, just getting a shower was the most effort I could muster. I was grumpy at work; irritable, preoccupied and unfocused. I had no inclination to do anything - the washing, ironing, hoovering etc. Jobs piled up, the house looked a mess, I felt a mess. It was horrid.
And then, I don't know what happened, but something clicked. The reason I was getting ill so much became clear (not due to lack of sleep after all, although definitely was helping the recovery period), I decided that my house needed more care and attention and, more importantly, I stooped fretting about how much sleep I was getting.
Charlie still carried on (and still does) getting in bed with us at some point throughout the night, but he started waking only once, rather than 3-6 times! When he wakes now, I just pick him up and put him in with us; perhaps not the best method, I accept, however, when we have to be up at 6am then I value sleep and if he sleeps when he is with us, then I have actually stopped caring. Apparently I am only making problems for myself, children need a structure or routine, he'll never go back to his own bed, blah blah. I am sure that may be true for some children and indeed I may have problems to come, but we have to find a solution for our life and what works for us, right now. If he sleeps then I sleep and hubby sleeps. So where's the harm? I feel better, there's less arguments, there's less stress and so everyone feels better. It's not a permanent solution, but it is for now. It works for us now.
Of course, I do wish that he would go down in his bed and stay there. But he won't, not yet, so no point wishing for that... He goes to sleep in his bed and generally stays there for about 6 hours. That's pretty good I think. If I had more will power then perhaps we would get him to go back down in his cot when he wakes, but like I say, we all need sleep.
So the point of this post is, please do no beat yourself up if you are not doing what the books say, or you mum says, or the dreaded mother in law says etc. Do what is right for you, your child, your family. And be adaptable. This won't last forever, adapt to the changes and let them fit your family.
And don't ever feel guilty.