...that is just one of the questions. Along with co-sleeping, home birth (yep, I did that!) vs. hospital birth, letting your baby cry, nursing vs. bottles, whether to immunize and when, the appropriate age for make-up, if and when to get your child a cell phone, public vs. private vs. home school, and a host of other parenting questions.
I've found that most mothers feel STRONGLY about their answers. It can get heated and uncomfortable pretty quickly.
I'm addressing this is because some of you asked--not to start mom wars.
Right of the bat, I will say this. As a parent, you need to make decisions based on what is best for your family. I don't think there's a solid right or wrong answer to these kinds of questions. No one answer for every family.
Yes, there are definitely things that are right or wrong. But there are also a host of gray areas in parenting that you'll need to decide for your own family. What's right for my family may not be for yours. And vice versa.
I loved sleepovers as a kid with my BFFs. Whenever I slept over at someone's house, my parents knew the family really well. I knew the family really well. I felt comfortable and safe.
One time I slept over at someone's house I didn't know very well. I don't remember much about what we did, where we slept, what we ate. Except that their pool that I was so excited to swim in was covered in green scum. We didn't eat dinner as a family. I couldn't sleep.
I remember wanting to go home so desperately. Wanting my own bed and my own family with everything in me and not sure how to ask, not sure what to do in the middle of the night when no one else was awake.
I don't ever want my girls to feel that way. So right off the bat, I knew that in order to have a sleepover, I'd have to know the family really, really well. Mom, Dad, all the siblings.
(And let's face it. Sometimes someone I don't know well--someone whose child doesn't really know mine all that well--invites my kids to sleep over. Instead of saying "Are you kidding? I don't know you well enough to trust you with my child!" it's just easier to have it be our family rule that we don't do sleepovers in general.)
The girls have both had sleepovers in the past--both at someone's house and at our house--with their BFFs. Emma usually calls for us to come and get her. And it's usually after 9 p.m. And it's often snowing. Audrey has had friends stay at our house.
And almost every time, she gets in trouble for excluding her sister. Doesn't sleep well. Is awful the next day because she's tired. And gets in more trouble.
In short, for the most part, it's just not worth it. So we came up with no sleepovers in general rule. A rule that we will break from time to time for a special occasion, for a treat.
Instead, we love pajama play dates--friends come over, have dinner, bring their jammies, watch movies, and go home to sleep in their own beds at a reasonable hour.
That's what works best for my family.
(And after blogging the other morning about how great Audrey did with her sleepover, she completely lost it on Sunday afternoon and ended up in her room until bedtime. Toben's response? "No more sleepovers!")
So without starting a huge and heated debate, what works best for your family? I got the sense that some of you are still figuring that out and asking what works best for others and why. So start talking...