Having children close in age is not for everyone. Some people prefer to wait and have more time to recover in between. (Sleep, what’s that?) Some people want to get pregnant soon after their last child was born and they can’t. There’s a ton of reasons why people may not have children close in age and thats fine! One way is not better than the other. I do hear some negative comments (either to my face or when I walk away) about how crazy it seems to have “so many little kids” and I wanted to point out the positive.
I was still breastfeeding Lila, my oldest child, who was 7 months at the time and I knew something was up. She kept turning away when I’d try to feed her. My once always-hungry baby suddenly seemed disinterested in nursing. Naturally, I turned to Google for advice. Teething, illness, distraction, there were a million reasons why a baby might be uninterested in nursing for a little while. However, one suggestion caught my eye. Maybe you’re pregnant! Breastmilk apparently can taste different if you become pregnant. At first I laughed at the idea. A few days later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test.
The average siblings in the U.S are 2-3 years apart. (That’s if there is a sibling at all, since rates of people having two children is declining.) This spacing makes sense logically to many, since it gives the mother a decent amount of time to recover physically between babies but keeps the siblings somewhat close in age. However, if you’re debating having children closer in age, or you just learned you are pregnant with your next child a little bit faster than you had expected, like me, you’re in the right place.
Although the small age gap between my daughters was not exactly planned, I am so happy that it turned out this way. Then Henry was born about two years after Violet was born, and Teddy about two years after him. We knew we wanted our kids to be close enough in age to really play together. (And I selfishly wanted to get the hard pregnant years out of the way!) Here are 5 great things about having kids close in age:
1.Baby gear/clothes goes to good use
Ok, I’ll admit it. My boys used a lot of pink stuff. If you’re not into that you might not like this first reason. It’s not like I put them in dresses. But they did use a car seat with little pink Minnie Mouses and many girly swaddle blankets. I love getting my money’s worth out of baby gear. It’s too expensive to not re-use it! Car seats, strollers, cribs, swaddles, bottles, pacifiers, and clothes are all put to good use in our house. We basically have no storage space (no basement or attic) so it just stayed out for the next baby. Now when Teddy is done with things I am giving it away or selling it and it’s out of here for good.
Car seats, strollers, cribs, swaddles, bottles, pacifiers, and clothes are all put to good use in our house.
This perk is not just reserved for the baby stage. My daughters (who are 6 and 4 now) share clothes. They’re basically the same size so why bother having a million different pairs of pants, dresses, shirts, etc? And anything Henry grows out of goes straight to Teddy’s dresser.
2. Sharing is a way of life
Growing up as the oldest of five kids, I don’t even remember learning how to share. It was just a way of life. I’ll never forget walking into my friend’s room for the first time in second grade, going “This is ALL YOURS?!” As much as I would’ve loved my own room as a kid, especially during some of those turbulent middle school years, now I’m glad I didn’t get one. My family is very close to this day and I think growing up physically close is a big cause of that.
My kids’ experience will not be much different. The girls share a room and the boys share a room. They share all of their toys. No one gets a ton of alone time but they are used to that. Of course they still bicker over who gets what, or when one wants to play a different game, but overall they are really comfortable with working together and I love that. My greatest joy from motherhood has come from watching the four of children play together.
3. Pregnancy isn’t drawn out!
Some women say they love being pregnant. Some even claim to have had no morning sickness, mood swings, or heartburn. I am not one of those women. Pregnancy is incredibly hard on your body and doing it four times in a row was no easy feat. That being said, I think I’m done. And I’m thirty years old. No more maternity clothes! No more wanting to throw up at the smell of chicken! No more passing out at six at night because I can’t keep my eyes open! (Ok, maybe I still want to do that sometimes.) Sure, there’s some things I will miss about being pregnant like getting ultrasounds and hearing the heartbeat or feeling kicks. But overall I am happy to say that phase is over.
4. They learn from each other
Violet could not wait to go pee-pee on the potty like her big sister. Henry had to ride a bike like his big sisters do. And Teddy does just about everything the other kids do and he’s only 14 months old. (I wish I was exaggerating!) Kids learn so quickly from their peers. As chaotic as it can be to have 4 little ones running around, it’s also nice to get through hard phases quickly. I just realized this past month how much easier shopping has been with Henry now that he is almost 3 years old. He walks alongside the cart and holds my hand or if he does stray a little bit he will come back quickly when I call him. And then it dawned on me that it will not be long before Teddy can do the same. All of these hard “phases” are easier to get through when you’ve literally just learned how to do it with the last child. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, to say the least!
5. They’re best friends
My kids seriously love playing together. It’s like they have their own little club everywhere they go. And I can’t wait to see how their relationships develop over the years. I hope that their close friendships will continue into adulthood and I think growing up close in age will set them up to do just that.
Did you have children close in age? What do you like about it the most?