A Slumber Milestone

So it has finally happened.

I grew up as a Mother. I finally allowed (yes, I use that word on purpose) my children to stay the night some where other than a relative’s home. They had sleepovers. 

This may not seem like a big deal, and you are probably laughing at me right now. But please understand that I am a woman with very serious trust and control issues, and in order for you to take my babies from me for any length of time I had better know you not only very well, but understand your house and its inter-workings.

No, I didn’t run full back-ground checks but I figured with one of the homes having a law enforcement officer around I was ok.

To no one’s surprise my daughter, the youngest, ended up going on her sleepover first. She’s a bit more brave in things of this nature…ok in anything…and when we discussed having to go potty, brush teeth, wake up in a strange place and it being dark, blah blah blah…she literally rolled her eyes at me and said ‘Mom, I get it, geez.’ Then, knowing her Mamma was about to give her trouble for her sassy mouth she threw in “I mean, I will be polite and I will not be afraid and I will find her Mom or Dad to call you if I want to go home. But I won’t want to come home so do not think I will come home. Because I am staying the WHOLE night.”

Not to be outdone- his sister says hello

My son, on the other hand, only whispered to me a few times about what to do if he needed something in the middle of the night and if I packed his extra underwear and maybe just a ‘tiny flashlight’ and his stuffed turtle. But to make sure the turtle was at the bottom of the bag because he probably wouldn’t need it.

They, of course, had the time of their lives and stayed up late and played games and ate junk food and did all the things kids should do at sleep overs. Both were returned to me safe and sound and can’t wait to do it all over again.

We’ve had their friends stay at our house before, so it wasn’t too big of a deal to them, or the first time they got to have a sleep over…but when they left our home, bags packed, it was a big deal to me.

I had to trust that everything I had taught them, from manners to emergency situation scenarios, sunk in. This from kids who can only seem to half remember to flush a toilet or put their shoes away.

By some miracle I slept through the night for each of their slumber parties. Ok maybe not a ‘miracle’ but the Xanax didn’t hurt. And I was so proud picking them up, hearing from the other parent what a great kid I had, and then hearing the non stop chatter from the back seat about what they did and how late they stayed awake and how cool the house was and on and on and on.

In other words everyone survived, everyone had fun, and I even felt confident their father and I prepared them.

I know, a whole post on something so simple…I’m crazy, right? Wrong. I just love my kids and after the hell our family has been through letting them be away from my side is a difficult but necessary step.

It means life just might end up normal after all.


  1. My daughter started the sleepover thing when she was six. It seemed awfully young to me, but she survived. This last summer her friend’s family invited her to their lake lot for the August Long Wknd. 4 and a half days. And their was a boat and tubing involved (and I found out later – a rodeo). I slept poorly. My husband rolled his eyes a bit at me. She returned tired and mosquito bitten and perfectly fine (aside from the fact that only water she immersed herself in the entire time was lake water – “I didn’t want to use the tub in the trailer b/c I wasn’t sure whose been in it” she said and I can place that bit of phobia squarely on her dad.)

    I don’t think my parents gave me a second thought when I was off with friends whether there was parental supervision or not. We are a more nervous bunch of parents.

  2. I get it. Really. I just did a blog post a few days ago that was all about parents who will bring their kids to my house for play dates or whatever and just drop them and run- some of them never having even met me! Can you believe that? Like you, I don’t do a full background check, but I better damn well know what you are all about before I let my kids spend any time around you.

  3. The greatest gifts are in “the simple” so thank you for sharing this precious milestone. Also, I have a huge lump in my throat as I have not reached this one, but I already feel it rapping on my door.

  4. Totally normal…it really is amazing to find out all the things you have taught them, that they cannot seem to remember when they are at home, really shines through when they are at someone elses house…without mom or dad there to constantly remind them. Sounds like you both have given your kids a great foundation!

  5. Oh Erin stop apologizing. This was a perfectly reasonable feeling and as far as I am concerned anyone who ever accuses you of lacking in courage will have to deal with my holy wrath.

    My son is awaiting the birth of his first child and as he described some of his feelings I remembered one of my favorite quotes: “He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” Once we have kids we are forever battling between our need to protect and our understanding of the autonomy they need to achieve. We each balance those in our own way, hope the mistakes are outnumbered by the wiser actions and love them to pieces.

    Of course they had a good time. Their parents are fun, smart and careful stewards. And the fact that you noticed the importance of these overnights in all of your lives just proves it!

  6. It’s not “simple” at all, to me. My girls are 11 and 8 and outside of family, the 11 yr old has spent the night at two friends’ homes (once at 9 and more recently at 10 (she just turned 11). The 8 yr old has only been to one friend’s house and as far as I know that friend has only been to my house. Funny thing is, even as wary as I am about them spending the night out, they have NUMEROUS sleepovers throughout the year. I hate giving the impression that my house is safe for other people’s kids, but not vice versa. (Yet, that is precisely what I think. I KNOW what’s going on in my house and no matter how close we become, even family, there is no way I can know everything you do, how much you drink, how often you get high, or what kinds of friends you/your spouse/your kids have). I questioned my oldest’s parents — the father is a DC cop — about where he puts his gun and whether it stays loaded. Hell, I take batteries to my sister’s house to make sure she’s changed her smoke detectors recently. I sound extreme, but I think it’s coming off that way just being written out (does that make sense?) I’m not doing background checks or refusing for them to go to sleepovers. I’m just cautious. I guess my husband is too. He won’t even go into the girls’ room to bleed the radiators if there are non-familial girls in the room: “It’s all I need for one of them to wake up and say Zoe’s daddy was in her room in the middle of the night.” I know. Whole other conversation.

    @Michellew — that burns me up! I hate the drop off, don’t get out of the car, and pull off. Especially for parents who I have invited inside b/c we have not yet met but our kids are friends at school. How can you in good conscience leave your child w/me when you don’t know me? There is one girl I have not allowed back b/c her dad dropped her off 2 hours after the sleepover started, and didn’t pick her up until 3 hours after the pickup time.

  7. Ugh! I didn’t question my oldest’s parents LOL! I questioned the parents of one of my oldest daughter’s friends.

  8. mother-of-3 says:

    I have to admit that the only place my oldest children (who are a teen and pre-teen) have slept other than home, has been with family – and even then I find it difficult to sleep! lol… And my youngest (a toddler), forget it – not happening anytime this decade lol…
    Yes, I am a very cautious parent. I absolutely love my children and I need to know that they are safe, and it seems the only way that I can be sure that they’re okay is if they’re home. I’ve allowed sleepovers at our home, but I haven’t allowed mine to sleep elsewhere. I have to know someone very well to even allow my children to visit without me – and then, it’s only for a short while and I call thier cell phones to check on them. You just can’t always be sure of the people that are visiting thier freinds homes or of things that may be going on that you are not aware of. Or even wondering if the families have locked htier wondows and doors, etc…
    *I would rather be safe than sorry – and guess what? My kids & thier friends looove the occassional sleepovers at our home because I’m “the FUN mom”! 🙂 So, if they haven’t asked me yet to sleep elsewhere, well then I guess I’m doing something right.*

  9. mother-of-3 says:

    Maybe I should add that I’m not insinuating anyone else is doing anything wrong – I only meant that we’re obviously having plenty of family and friend fun, that they’re fine with hosting the sleepovers – I have to say that I’m greatful they haven’t asked to sleep elsewhere. 🙂 “To each his own”.*

  10. I think Mother-of-3 would really appreciate the post I did last week about parents who don;t seem to care what their kids are doing… drives me batty!

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