These days, it's pretty standard for young kids to spend the night bunking with mom and dad — sometimes to their parents' chagrin.
But Texas couple Thomas and Elizabeth Boyce totally embrace this evening routine; so much so that they've created an epic megabed to share with their five children.
Elizabeth says the bed, constructed of IKEA furniture and some 4x4s, was first crafted as a way to accommodate the family's travels. The Boyce's spend weeks at a time on the road, so they're all used to piling into caravans and hotel rooms. Their children had grown accustomed to sharing space and didn't take to solo sleeping too fondly.
"Every time we would be on the road and return home we had to 'retrain' them to sleep in their own beds. Bedtime was full of tears and fights... Tom is disabled and is often sick or needs care at night. I was up helping him, nursing a baby, putting kids back into their own beds, soothing a toddler woken by other kids," she explains on the family's blog.
She thought up the megabed as a temporary fix to help everyone catch up on zzz's. Since her kids range in age from 5 to 11, each one has their own little out cove where they can settle in without disturbing anyone else's sleep routine.
“As I look back on the past 15 years of adulthood and reflect on what I have accomplished, an ikea hack bed is pretty low on the list... After all, as the kids say, 'I don't understand what is so special about a bed?!'" she writes on the blog.
In any case, the Boyce's are proof that there's no one-size-fits-all family routine, and for that we commend them.
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Boyce
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.