Short-circuiting the ‘Parental Gap’
The importance of husband-wife communication in parental life
I woke up this morning to find a big gap in the bed between myself and my wife. It made me wonder why I did not notice this gap earlier. The answer was not that tough to find.
For 3 years our kid had been sleeping along-side us. In order to be precise — in the ‘Gap’. For the last six months, though he dozes off in the night on our bed, he wakes up on his bed, in his room.
On our Queen bed, the kid used to occupy a good portion and we were used to his slaps and kicks — finally only pushing our bodies to the edges on either side in order to find some sleep. (Which we always did and so there is no complaining about that aspect).
Coming back to this morning — the ‘Gap’ made me put a few things in perspective. My twitter handle mentions clearly that I am un-opinionated, so I will fall short at debating whether it is a good idea to have the kid sleeping in the parents room on the parents bed — but here-in I define a strong ‘test’ for it.
I also know, as a kid, on many occasions (and maybe even more as a toddler) I used to sleep with my parents and I enjoyed every bit of it. So, when I was in America and I found that newly born babies directly make it to the kid’s room for the nightly sub-concious journeys I was surprised. That trend however is no less than global now.
Again, I come back to this morning — the morning which has helped me define the following:
‘Parental Gap’ is the gap left on the bed between the parents once their small kid no longer sleeps with them. The ‘Gap’ is created even if the kid sleeps with you for a single day. The creation of the gap is irrevesible. It’s final magnitude depends on the no. of days the kid was sleeping with you. So, my kid generated 3 years of ‘Parental Gap’.
This ‘Gap’ kept staring at me this morning, but I realize that this physical gap has not made any difference to my relationship with my wife. So, surely there is a stronger bonding that is holding the things together — and if not in the ‘physical’ world — it has to be in the ‘emotional’ world.
This bond is very basic and it acts two-ways, and while it is important at every stage of marriage (and even before that), it’s importance exponentially increases post the arrival of a kid and multiplies further if the kid’s early-childhood sleeping creates the ‘Parental Gap’
This bond is communication. Yes, communication is the bond that has made us unaware of what dynamics this ‘Parental Gap’ creates on our marriage. Basically, the bond of communication helps us to short-circuit the ‘Parental Gap’.
That’s my analysis of our experience. My strongest suggestion is here — and it matters for cultures like mine where-in small kids sleeping with parents on a daily basis is not that uncommon. But, for marriages where-in the husband and wife have poor communication to begin with — please don’t have the kid sleeping with you, please don’t create the ‘Parental Gap’ — coz all it can do is lead the married life down a spiral.
“Communication in a marriage is that force which can overcome the ‘Parental Gap’ i.e. the gap left on the bed between the parents once their small kid no longer sleeps with them”
As I mentioned, as a kid, I slept with my parents many a time. So, I am sure I led to the creation of some ‘Parental Gap’. If you think, you have been a culprit also, you can always look at how your Parents are placed now and deduce whether they were able to overcome the ‘Parental Gap’ you created.