Sleeping with one blanket-hogging toddler can be stressful enough. Now imagine sleeping with four children and your partner -- you'll need a big bed! Lucky one mom from Northern Ireland actually has one that huge.
Kim Constable has been all over the news for her family’s 18-foot bed -- it can fit her family of six so they can co-sleep! At night, she, her husband Ryan, and their children Corey, 11, Kai, 9, Maya, 6, and Jack, 5, all sleep snuggle up together. Kim tells Belfast Telegraph that the sleeping arrangement wasn’t entirely intentional.
“It all started when Corey was a baby, and he started sleeping beside Ryan and me to help keep him settled at night,” she explains. “Then, as more children came along, they wanted to sleep with us, too. When the older ones moved out and a younger one moved in, they would come back and say that's not fair -- we want to be in the big bed with you all, too.”
So the family ended up sleeping in two king-sized beds (one of the beds is described as "super king size") and a single joined together to make a bed fit for a family of six.
Just because they sleep in one bed, though, doesn’t mean they go to bed at the same time. Kim believes all children deserve the same respect, freedom, and rights as adults. Hence, when it comes to bedtime, her children are free to decide when they to hit the sack. This is usually somewhere between 10 or 11 at night, which is when the she and her husband also prepare for slumber. “We will all go and get our PJs on and clean our teeth and all that happens together as a family. Then we all snuggle down together and talk or read a story.”
If the kids had a particularly active or tiring day -- they’re homeschooled -- they often decide to go to bed ahead of mom and dad. But mom still tucks them to bed.
The sleeping arrangements are not strict either. Despite the huge bed, the couple has taken to sleeping in their home's spare room. The second born, Kai, has also decided to become independent, bit by bit. “When they are ready they ask for their own room and bed as has happened with Kai recently, so we have moved one of the beds out into the spare room for him,” she says, “At the minute he prefers sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom. So he hasn't properly moved out just yet. It's a process.”
Kim runs a yoga business from her home office. So essentially, she spends all the hours of the day -- both awake and asleep -- with her kids. “I love spending time with my children. They are my best friends and you don't ever get tired of spending time with your best friend, do you? They are great company and every day we have a new adventure. They are learning all the time and I, in turn, am learning from them.”
What’s one of the most valuable things she’s learned from being a mom of four kids? In a TED talk, Kim says it’s learning how to be patient and control anger. She realized this from one particular incident where she lost her temper and shouted in a rage at one of her kids, who immediately burst into tears.
“In the moment that I behaved violently to my child, I lost the ability to see my own participation… And in that moment, I damaged him irrevocably. We as parents need to know how harmful parental anger is [towards] young children because recognizing it is the first step to transforming it.”
Take it from the experience of a homeschooling, co-sleeping mom of four. [h/t: Belfast Telegraph]