Colleen Mulder-Seward and her husband, Rob Seward, were dying for a good night's sleep. Once their daughters got to ages 3 and 5, the Dexter, MI, couple fully (and perhaps foolishly, they now admit) expected they'd be enjoying eight hours of shut-eye again. Ah, the eternal optimism of parenthood!
In reality, Colleen and Rob would put their younger daughter, Jenna, to bed, only to see her again three hours later, throwing a queen-size fit and begging to sleep in their queen-size bed. They were way too tired to do anything but throw back the covers and invite her in.
Problem is, a threesome just wasn't their speed. "Eventually, one of us would get fed up with being kicked in the back by Jenna and go sleep in the guest room. We were tired all the time," says Colleen.
Tons of parents who didn't plan on having a family bed are finding that's exactly what they now have -- and want to get rid of, says Jill Spivack, L.C.S.W., a family therapist and formerly sleep-deprived mom herself who is the cocreator of The Sleepeasy Solution. "When you're exhausted, you follow the path of least resistance," she says. "You may have tried other things, but in desperation, you pull your kid into your own bed. You may not get perfect sleep, but at least you get some sleep."
The good news: You can untrain the little monster who's taking over your bed. The bad news: It may not be pretty. Your life is not an episode of Supernanny and your family's sleep issues won't get resolved in an hour or even a day. If you really want to make the change, though, and you're prepared for tears, wails, and cries of "But Mommy, don't you love me?" you'll make it through. Here's how to pull the my-bed-to-your-bed switcheroo: