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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the pros and cons of having kids close or far apart in age

This question comes up a lot in the Mommy Stories Facebook group. I'm grateful to all of the moms in the group who responded to my questions to this discussion. It's so different for everyone. Here are a few ideas from real moms, hoping they help you in discussing this topic with your partner or planning for your future additions.

12-18 months apart
  • PROS
    • We're still in the baby phase, have everything relatively new and out already. 
    • They are SO close, babies are best buds.
    • Into the same things at the same time.
    • Can potty train at the same time.
    • Everything is fresh in our minds.
    • Get the baby stage done and over with quickly with two kids at once for the most part!
    • Little jealousy from big sibling.
    • Big sibling LOVES helping with "their baby." 
    • 2 year olds are interested in the baby but not so interested that they smother.
    • Little regression.
    • They teach each other things.
  • CONS
    • Two in diapers.
    • Two waking up in the night.
    • Two in daycare.
    • Two in cribs.
    • Need double stroller = expensive.
    • Need all the car seats at the same time.
    • Not back to the way I wanted my body, not physically as strong as I wanted to be. Didn't lose baby weight first time.
    • Exhausting! More so than expected.
    • Terrible 2s and being needy from older one is hard to manage with newborn.
    • Hard to go shopping with both kids, difficult leaving house at first.

2-2 1/2 years apart
  • PROS
    • They are BEST buds. 
    • They play all the time together, are pretty much into the same types of games and toys.
    • Are close in age so we weren't totally done with diaper and baby type stage when second came along, it was like second nature to us to start it again. 
    • When baby came home, toddler was still young enough that it didn't bug him too much, he did not get super jealous, he wanted to help. 
    • All the baby supplies, clothing, strollers, etc. still worked, weren't expired, etc. 
    • Able to get in physical shape to be strong to be pregnant again. 
    • Relationship is back on track, going on date nights, we're into a routine.
    • When our oldest was out of the convertible car seat, our little one was ready for it. When our oldest was out of the convertible and into a high back booster, out little was ready for it... and so on so we saved money there.
    • Younger one potty trains quicker later on, wanting to do all the big sibling does. 
    • They learn from each other, so close in age, the younger one knows things sooner than the first one did, having someone to follow around and look up to.
    • Older one still naps!
  • CONS
    • Being pregnant with a 18+ month old was HARD! He wanted to run, I wanted to sleep! 
    • I feel like I missed some of his toddler-ness and snuggling... now that I have the second one without a baby around, at the same age, I'm able to snuggle her and play more than I was with my first child when pregnant or having a baby when he was a toddler. 
    • Potty training with newborn SUCKED.
    • Need double stroller.
    • Big one still wants to be held sometimes.
    • Two in daycare.

3-4 years apart
  • PROS
    • Oldest wants to help willingly, very helpful!
    • Oldest is old enough and mature so that things can be explained to her instead of her feeling left out. 
    • She loves her sibling, nurturing, wants to be holding him.
    • Big kids in school, gives you time with the little one.
    • The break in between babies is nice to get your family into a routine before adding another person.
    • Mom is more relaxed since you're older yourself and have had time to reflect on what's important.
    • Oldest doesn't need to be held all the time.
    • Oldest can verbalize what she needs.
    • Did not need to buy double stroller.
    • Will be in school the same timeframe.
    • Oldest typically potty trained, independent, etc.
    • Big kid can walk well everywhere.
    • Older one can hop in car, buckle up, you check them, and then strap in baby. More self sufficient.
  • CONS
    • Going from having uninterrupted sleep to a newborn was tough!
    • Each with very specific and different needs can be tough to manage.
    • Slight regression in big kid.
    • Slight jealousy.

5+ years apart
  • PROS 
    • Only one in diapers. 
    • One in daycare = saving money. 
    • Oldest is a big help.
    • Can leave baby with oldest for a few minutes in another room to help parent.
    • Oldest can play games with little one.
    • Great one-on-one time with baby while oldest in school.
    • Only one child waking in the night.
    • Needed to purchase new car seats and baby attire, some clothing, etc. that was not good anymore from saving it so long.
  • CONS
    • If oldest had parents all to self for so many years, it's hard to share and jealousy happens a lot when baby comes.
    • With older one totally independent, hard to start over with baby phases. 
    • Siblings so far apart in age = hard to keep that bond close and it's something to keep focusing on and working on.
    • Some kids at these ages apart compete with one another.
    • We got rid of almost everything baby-phase wise and had to get new things.
The thing is that whenever you end up pregnant or adopting, well, that's the time that it's going to work out well for YOU. There are pros and cons to every single timeframe, things that worked for one family will not work for another. There are things you cannot predict either. So, do what works for you in the moment, know that you can plan some things but not all... and go with it. After all, you're adding a LIFE, a baby, to your family. What could be more perfect than that?! 

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