When it comes to having kids, closer in age isn’t always easy.
If you had to choose how big an age gap you wanted to have between your kids what would it be? A year, two years, maybe even five years, they all have their ups and downs so I don’t really think there is a perfect one. What is the best age gap between kids, is there one? Because if there is, I would like to know.
Every mom has a different answer and a reason why their answer is the right one. Well, from my experience, closer in age is harder. Not only physically and mentally, but financially as well.
After I had my first kid, I knew I wanted to have more, I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to raise them and how financially straining it was. I also didn’t know how far apart I should space them to make it work for my family.
What do moms say?
When I asked moms what they prefer, I did get mixed answers. Some moms opt to have their kid’s closer in age like a one year gap, they said it would be easier to have them in diapers together and potty-train them together and when it’s done, it’s done. But wouldn’t it be hard to care for two kids so close in age? They both need constant attention and that could be pretty hard.
Other moms decided to wait three years for when they’re older kid starts school to save on the cost of daycare fees because we all know how expensive that is. But what happens when the older kid gets jealous because the new baby is getting all of the attention?
And other moms said they would wait up to five years because it’s easier physically and mentally to have a gap that one child can help in the care of the other and do more for themselves. I can see how that would make sense but it could also be hard to give constant attention to the growing school child while taking care of the new baby.
My chosen gap.
If I had thought about it more, I think I would have chosen the three-year gap. I find this to be the most efficient. The kids are old enough to be close and become friends as well as siblings, one will be potty-trained, and once they start school their years in schools will overlap so they will be in the same school at some point and older one can look out for the younger one.
My first two children.
When my first daughter was just eight months old I found out I was pregnant with my second child. My son was born when my daughter was seventeen months old. This was okay, so I thought. But it really wasn’t. It was hard. The beginning wasn’t so bad. I would put them down for naps together, and feed them together, I even gave them baths together. But as they got older, it got harder.
When I was ready to return to work I had to find daycare for both kids. Financially this was a huge strain on my family. It almost felt as if I was working just to pay for the daycare fees. Having two kids aged so close was draining as well. Imagine running and playing with one kid, and now times that by two. I was physically tired.
What I loved.
What I loved about having two toddlers so close in age was as my son got older, they got closer. They became like best friends and always had each other to play with. It was fun to just watch them play together and reminded of me when I was growing up with my brother who is a year older than me.
Having two kids seventeen months apart can be hard in some aspects, but its joyous in others. Birthday parties and family gatherings, going to school together, always having each other to depend on, that was how they grew up and that is how it will stay. But what happens when you have kids with a significant age gap?
What I learned.
Recently I had the joy of bringing another child into my family. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted to have more kids. But this time wasn’t very easy. Our family had many losses which led us to having a baby later than we originally planned.
Now that my youngest one is born, there is a significant age gap between my kids. I have two that are 18 and 17 and now one that is about to be 2 years old. In some aspects, its hard. I have to care for a young toddler while still making time for my older kids.
I never want them to feel like they are being replaced. I spread myself thin to give time to all of my kids. But how hard is this on the kids? With both of my older kids going off to college soon my youngest one will be alone in the house. I’ve been looking into plenty of things I could get him into so he doesn’t feel lonely.
You may think it won’t make a difference because of the age gap but let me assure you, my youngest son has grown so attached to my eldest daughter. He always looks for her and when she’s around he calls out and goes to her room to play with her. He loved being with her. That’s what scares me for when she is gone.
The upside of having kids that are far apart in age is the lovely built in baby sitter. It makes a world of difference when I can run out and do errands and not have to worry about taking my son everywhere with me.
It’s also a huge help when we go out on family outings and I have my older kids take charge in spending time with your younger sibling. They push him around in his stroller, run around with him, and share snacks. It’s a joy having kids at any age gap because when they get older it really doesn’t make a difference and they will love watch other just the same.
When my first two kids reached the late teenage years, I was able to have more freedom because they needed me, but not as often. They were more self-sufficient, and I taught them to do a lot of things themselves like cooking dinner and laundry. I entered a point in my life where I could do more things for myself, like outings, shopping, and hanging with friends.
Once I decided to have another baby I was starting all over. After already raising kids for sixteen years I now added another eighteen years of raising another child on to my plate. This can be hard for moms starting all over.
For so long we put our own needs aside for the needs of our kids but once they are older we get that back. Well, I have another sixteen years before I can fully have my freedom back. I’m not complaining, i’m just saying.
When siblings are young they are so cute and funny and loving. You have to prepare yourself for the unknown. Just because you have two kids that are a few years apart doesn’t always mean they are going to get along. In fact, no matter what age they are there is a chance that there will be some sibling rivalry.
Sibling rivalry comes after the second child is born and the attention shifts from the once only child to the cute little baby. This isn’t only from the parents though. You will notice a shift in attention from friends and loved ones.
Be prepared to tell people to treat both of your kids the same and give them the same attention. When my son was born his story was a little different. Because my daughter was the first grandchild and first baby girl to enter the family in a long time on her father’s side, she received a lot of attention. This included taking her for outings, buying her gifts, and giving her extra attention that wasn’t given to my son.
Her father and I had to put a stop to it. We told her grandparents that both children needed to be treated equally and if not then one wasn’t to get the extra attention because it’s not fair to the other child and could cause a separation between them from a young age.
Don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts. After all, these are your children and you only want what’s best for them.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have more than one child? What’s their age gap and how do you feel about it. I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic and I’m sure other moms would too. Leave your comments below. Thanks for reading my latest post.
Related: Mommy Central