Before having a baby, I considered Dubai the most relaxing place on Earth. Just a few weeks before we got pregnant with our daughter, my husband and I took an amazing vacation there in which we stayed at swanky hotels, lounged on the beach, and turned off both our cell phones and our brains for a full week. It was such a good time that even now, a year and a half later, I feel a little tension drain out of my body whenever I remember it.
My life has changed so, so much since then.
After having a baby, you know what I now consider the most relaxing place on Earth? My own bedroom.
Let me explain.
Since the day we brought her home from the hospital, our baby girl slept in our bedroom. At first in a bassinet, then in a pack and play, and very often, in the middle of our bed. She’s never been a great sleeper, and I’ve never been great at functioning while sleep deprived. Not having to get up and walk to another room to tend to her during the night helped me catch a few more desperately needed minutes of rest, and probably saved my sanity too.
Over the past few months though, as her frequent wake-ups continued and the bags under my eyes got darker, I started wondering if she was waking up because she really needed us or because she was just used to us being there. She wasn’t eating as much at night, her diapers weren’t dirty, she was perfectly capable of grabbing a lost pacifier and popping it back in her mouth… There didn’t seem to be any legit reasons for her to be awake and crying 5 or 6 times a night.
With all that in mind, I also began to wonder whether the very thing that made our life a little easier- having her in our room- wasn’t also making it harder. I can’t tell you how many times me shifting ever so slightly in bed or a floorboard creaking as I tried to sneak out of the room woke her up.
So we finally decided to make the transition and get her sleeping in her nursery. It hasn’t been seamless, but the freedom I felt on night 1 at not having to tiptoe around the bedroom in fear of waking her up immediately told me this was a plan I needed to stick to. Plus, it seems to be helping her sleep for longer stretches. 3-4 hours at a time feels a million times better than 1-2 hour stretches, and I am actually starting to feel like maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little brighter (I probably just jinxed it though).
The only downside to having her in her room is that I find myself popping my head in every so often to make sure she’s still breathing. And I’ve suddenly gotten a lot more paranoid about fires and burglars and all sorts of crazy things. But I know it was the right decision and I’m so glad we made it. I feel relaxed and happy as soon as she’s down for the night, and that’s good for the whole family. Plus? It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than another trip to Dubai.