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My husband and I don’t let our toddler sleepover with our family members.
This has been a difficult road to navigate without hurting anyone’s feelings. I thought I would be more at ease with letting our relatives keep our son overnight. But my husband and I both work full-time. When you only get to spend 2-3 hours with your child each day, the last thing you want is to let someone else take him overnight on a weekend. Especially when we absolutely love spending our time together as a family. If we have a date night or need help because of work or illness, we ask a family member to come and stay at our house with him.
This is especially challenging with my husband’s family. My mother-in-law babysat 9 of her 10 grandchildren until they started school. The other grand kids spent entire weekends at her home from the time they were infants. Whole weeks were spent at her house as they got older. The fact that my mother-in-law has been so involved in her other grandchildren’s lives is wonderful, but my husband and I are selfish. We don’t want to give up our time with him and we don’t want to miss a thing.
Yes, we have kid FOMO.
We love watching him sleep late on a weekend morning. Waking up to watch cartoons and play with him holds so much appeal. He runs around, climbing, jumping and roaring as I drink my coffee, grinning like an idiot. To watch him as he catches on to a new skill or word is priceless. And of course, there are the snuggles. My two year-old loves a good snuggle with his mom or dad.
Sleepovers also take away my control over his safety.
I have crushing anxiety regarding his safety and well-being. It notches up a few levels when he isn’t physically with us. Worst-case scenarios constantly run through my mind even when he is with us, distracting me by day and keeping me awake at night. As he sleeps, I stare at the baby monitor, then I sneak into his room to make sure he is still breathing. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and have to make sure he is still in his crib before I can go back to sleep. I know our family and friends would take good care of our son and use safety precautions when watching him while still letting him be a curious, rambunctious toddler.
It’s not you, it’s me.
The scenarios that run through my mind of what could happen to him when he isn’t with us are shocking. Not long ago, we re-painted our living room and kitchen. He obviously could not be home with us while we painted. I finally took my sister-in-law up on her offer to keep him. She picked him up at 8am on Saturday morning and dropped him off Sunday around noon. I was on edge the entire time he was gone. The first text message check-in was sent less than two hours after he was picked up. After that, texts and calls were exchanged in between trimming in and rolling. All of this because of scenarios that run through my mind, one of which had him falling into the bayou that runs behind their home. Nothing bad happened … he had a blast and returned home tuckered out from all the fun.
I can only hope our family respects our reasons for denying overnight access to our toddler even though it may cause some tension. I know I will have to “cut the cord” at some point and need to address the anxiety and fear I constantly feel, but I think we’ll keep him to ourselves a bit longer.