Since I’m a single mom, I have glimpsed the future, without cosleeping, something that many/most AP moms don’t get a chance to do.
It’s a sad, ironic future where you can finally sleep alone without the twisted torture of a child mangling your body while you sleep. But you miss it. You miss the child. You wish for the mangled body because with mangled body and sleepless nights means a child who needs you and holds you tight, whispering, “Mama,” in the middle of the night.
For the first two years I lived by the same mantra that many AP moms do when feeling cramped and frustrated during insomniac nights, “Don’t complain, because when they’re older, you will miss it.”
Then for me, it came. The nights alone with the child gone out of the house.
I can say this without hesitation.
Trust me. You will.
The first night I spent without my daughter right around her second birthday, I barely slept a wink. I couldn’t sleep, knowing that she wasn’t in the house. Her warm body was not in my bed. Her breathing, long past the age of needing to be regulated by my own, was nowhere near my face, as I was so used to.
I missed her. But I told myself that soon I would get used to it and would begin to sleep again.
Since that night, I have had some blissfully serene sleeping nights.
I’ve had about two in the past year. For the most part, I hate it. I hate having her gone even though I know she’s safe and happy at her dad’s house.
It’s ironic that I can’t sleep without her here because I have one of those kids who suffocates me while she sleeps. She likes to sleep lying, at the very least, on my arm, and ideally, along the curve of my body with her head resting on my shoulder. That’s been her preferred method of sleep for the past three years.
I have such a sore back and stiff neck from sleeping like this that you’d think I would relish the chance two times a week to sleep without her cratering my body into a pretzel.
It’s one of the worst kinds of irony.
Comfortable sleep deprivation, or child deprivation.
It’s hardly a choice.
It’s the sad twist of single motherhood. The thing that most moms dream of, a blissful night when their children will sleep quietly, and leave them in peace. Single moms get it. And we get a glimpse into the future of a time when our children will be gone, a time when we can finally sleep in peace and all we wish for is the moments when our children were at their most vulnerable, and needed us the most. The happiest and most trying time of our lives.