Last week, Oklahoma City dad David Brinkley posted an emotional Facebook post about his wife "snuggling" with their kids while sleeping. He intended the post simply as an ode to his wife. But the post was shared by popular Facebook page Love What Matters and it went viral, sparking a huge debate about the (apparently controversial) practice of "co-sleeping."
"Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe?" Brinkley wrote about his wife and the mother of their five kids.
My wife is a best friend kind of woman. She has hours upon hours of long conversations with her friends ALL the time and occasionally I get to hear little pieces. Recently she was talking to a friend and they were talking about this thing called "co-sleeping" and I heard the other person ask 'doesn't your husband hate that? My husband would never let me do that.' This blew my mind and has bothered me for days. So I just decided to come out as a man and set a few things straight. I do NOT hate any part of what makes my wife the mother that she is. I would NEVER degrade or disregard anything that she feels like doing for my children. Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe? The thing is that our wives only experience these little seasons in motherhood for a short time. They carry our babies, they birth them, they nurture them and maybe while they are little they let them crawl into our beds and snuggle. But eventually our babies get bigger they grow up they get "too cool" for snuggles so why would we as men want to steal a single second of this time from them? Being mothers is part of their identity and what's a year or 3 out of decades of life spent together? I just want to say that I am proud of the decisions my wife makes as a mom and I support every single one of them. I would never want to rob her of this time she has or these seasons that are in reality too short to not enjoy. Please respect your wives as mothers.
The post has since been shared over 25,000 times, receiving thousands of comments. Many parents are praising this mom and dad, and sharing their own positive experiences with "co-sleeping."
But many others are arguing that co-sleeping can put kids—especially babies—at risk.
The post received so much attention that Brinkley's wife, Alora Brinkley, responded with her own post to explain the circumstances in the viral photo:
She explained that the photo was taken during a "special nap time experience" and her kids were not in danger:
I laid down to nurse my daughter- my 2 year old son came in to snuggle with his baby sister. My husband supervised this entire experience and made it possible for me to comfortably lay with them both like this as he very lovingly and carefully watched over us.
And she added: "We would never put our children in a dangerous situation and our night time sleeping looks completely different than this."
The practice of co-sleeping remains controversial and even parenting experts can't seem to agree on whether or not it's safe for kids. But even if you disagree with how this mom chooses to raise her kids, she made some good points about the culture of cyber-bullying and mom-shaming:
It's impossible not to offend someone with a difference of life or opinion and that's so sad to me.
To say hurtful things just because you don't like a picture or don't like a post that you didn't have to read in the first place is just an unnecessary waste of time. It's ok to just be ourselves.