TRUTH: Bunk Beds are NOT as Fun as They’re Cracked Up To Be

One year ago I did a thing. I discovered FREE bunk beds on a local buy, sell, swap page, and immediately put my hand up to take them. I couldn’t believe my luck! FREE bunk beds. With two bunks AND a desk AND a dresser for storage.

I mean, WHY would anyone want to give this away?? 

One year on, I understand why. It’s because bunk beds are the over-rated assholes of bedroom furniture. Especially for the sucker who has to make them. 

Bunk bed dreams

Like many over-optimistic parents, I assumed bunk beds were going to be the be-all-end-all of my bedtime woes. 

The kids would LOVE their beds. So much so they would happily sleep through the night without me having to retuck them in 25 times.

By sharing a bedroom they would become closer and connected and stop fighting over every pointless thing, from whose turn it is to shower to who last chose the movie. 

And the cherry on top – think of the space we would save! I could turn one of the kids’ bedrooms into a home gym. Okay, no. A spare room to hide all our crap. YAS! 

Assemble with care

Bringing the bunk beds home was a challenge in itself. It took two ute loads just to get it home.

Assembling them was even tougher. Not that I did any of it but it looked hard on my partner who was sweating and swearing and went through at least six beers to get the job done. He reckons putting up the 14ft trampoline was easier. 

But whatever. it was done. The bunks beds were up. Now… to make the beds with the super cute $200 matching bed linen I’d just bought. 

Holy sheet, bunk beds suck

Which is where I first discovered how impossibly awkward making a top bunk is. You have to climb up the ladder made for six-year-olds, praying you don’t break the damned thing. 

And not just one time. EVERY SINGLE TIME you want the bed made. Which is a daily thing in my household. Or it was. Until I stupidly brought home bunk beds.

Changing the sheets? Even worse. It’s practically impossible to get a tightly fitted sheet into every corner when you’re sitting on the bed. 

Even changing the bottom bunk, which sounds super easy, isn’t because you have a top bunk right above you, just waiting to collide with your head. 

But, hey, it’s okay, cause the kids will LOVE them.

Love at first fight

And they do. In theory.

So cool, mum!
I’ve wanted bunk beds for ages. 
I can’t wait for bed now!  

Success. Feeling pretty schmick right about now. Thinking I should drink my celebratory wine out of my Best Mum Ever mug. 

Oh except, of course, there is a massive fistfight over who gets the bottom bunk. I’m talking a full-on bedroom brawl that requires two people to break them up.

Seriously… you bloody kids are meant to be connecting over these stupid beds. 

*Refills Best Mum Ever mug with more wine*

A game of rock, paper, scissors to solve the dilemma. Which, naturally, ends in “but he cheated”, tears and a bribe.

Okay, whoever sleeps on the top bunk gets $20. 

‘It’s really high up here’

And then, out come the safety concerns. 

But, mum, the ladder makes a weird noise when I climb it. 
What if there is an earthquake? 
It’s really high up here. 
What if I fall? 

You won’t fall. Except, once you do climb the rickety ladder and lie down, you realise, shit, it is high. He could fall! I mean, there is a skinny railing in place to prevent rolls, but, how easy could it be for a child to roll OVER the bar? 

children in bunk beds
Source: Bigstock

Not to mention the proximity of the ceiling fan to your child’s head! Go down the ladder when that thing is on full blast and it’s game over, Red Rover. 

Okay. New plan. The ceiling fan disconnected. $20 bribe to the child on the top bunk. $90 floor fan bought.

Free bunk beds my ass. 

But, it’s all good. The kids are tucked in. They are talking to one another, forming a lifelong friendship over their shared space. 

But then the complaints start

A new one every day. 

It’s too hot to sleep. 
The new fan makes weird noises.
My teddy fell on the floor. 
There’s nowhere to put my nightlight. 
The ladder scares me. 
The air is weird up here. 
I can hear him breathing. 
He’s kicking the bed on purpose.
He’s grinding his teeth. 
I need you to sleep with me. On the top bunk. 

So up I go. Up the rickety ladder, where the air is weird and the railing is skinny. Into a single top bunk bed to wait for my child to drift off to sleep. Something I had convinced myself would never happen again if I got bunk beds. 

Months rolled by. Countless top bunk sleepovers, complaints about the temperature, and a few more $20 bribes to keep the kids in the damned bunk beds.

Most nights the top bunk child would end up in our bed. And I didn’t even care, because co-sleeping in a king-sized bed sure beats co-sleeping in a single top bunk that may or may not break in the middle of the night. 

And then… the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

The gastro incident

Of course, it wasn’t the bottom bunk child that got it. Oh no. That would be a relatively smooth cleanup. It was top bunk child who power spewed all over the walls, the top bunk, the railing, the rickety ladder.

Vomit dripping into the bottom bunk, landing on bottom bunk child’s sleeping head. 

Game over. Done. Bunk beds cleaned, disassembled, and returned to buy, sell swap with a very reasonable price of FREE attached to them.

And when the doe-eyed mum came to pick them up, so excited she managed to score FREE bunk beds, I ALMOST told her to run away. Far far away.

But, hey, perhaps not everyone hates them as much as I do. Perhaps she will have a blissful bunk bed experience and her kids will make their own beds, never complain about the air and never get gastro in the middle of the night. 

Or perhaps, in a year from now, I will see the damned FREE bunk beds with the skinny railing, rickety ladder and faint smell of vomit listed on the buy, sell, swap page.

I’m going with the latter. 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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