Hello there friends, and happy Monday!
I know most of you are in full-on Christmas mode right now, but in case you’ve had all the gift-guides, home decor, crafts, and recipes you can handle, I thought I’d spice things up a bit today and share some of my thoughts on having kids almost four years apart and the gap between siblings…
First, here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote about a year ago (on my old blog) on the topic:
To be honest, I always just assumed that my children (however many of them there were) would be roughly two years apart. That’s the age difference between my sister and I, and also between Jeff and his brother. Aside from a tiny little window of time when Sam was an infant – during which I decided I’d be perfectly content with just one baby forever – I never really considered anything different.But, as it tends to do these days, that time period came and went in a flash, and I still found myself – although now fully intending to have another babysome time – secure and confident to wait a bit longer…
I remember, around the time Sam turned two, someone telling me that “the ideal age difference between siblings for physical and physiological development is three years,” and – although I have absolutely NO idea if there is any fact behind that statement – I clung to that for a while. Three years it is then.
And now, Sam is 2 1/2 and – like my previous “deadline” for having kids two years apart – the three year age difference window is swiftly passing by as well….
In our society, you know, it’s weird what we deem “acceptable” or “normal” when it comes to spacing out our children… At least in my experience, if a woman gets pregnant before her baby is a year old, people automatically assume that the pregnancy was an “accident” (as if she doesn’t know how babies are made); but, once the child is a year, it seems everyone and their uncle’s brother wants to know “when can we expect number 2?” Now, what I’m finding more and more is that as your child approaches their third birthday and there is still no baby-bump in the picture, the questions begin to dwindle and people quietly wonder if you are “having trouble” or just “done” having kids altogether.
To be clear: It does not bother me when people ask when we will try for more kids. I LOVE being a momma, I love this sweet time I’ve had with just Sam, and I love the person I have grown into over the last two and half years. At this point, Lord willing, it IS a part of our “plan” to have at least one sibling for Sam; and, I’m still pretty comfortable with the fact that (for a variety of reasons) the time isn’t quite right for another baby just yet… BUT, I do have to admit that I’ve had some insecurities swelling up recently about somehow doing a “disservice” to my kids by spacing them out so much. I worry that they won’t have a relationship, that the “hard years” of parenting will stretch on forever, and that (frankly) I’m not getting any younger.
Fast forward a few months. I took a pregnancy test, and we found out about Baby #2 on the day of Sam’s 3rd birthday party (a couple of days before his actual birthday). We actually even revealed our pregnancy to our parents that night through a note we wrote in a book we gave him for his birthday (this one – in case you are wondering – and I LOVE it). Anyway, by those calculations, our second baby and Sam will be almost exactly 3 years and nine months apart.
Throughout this pregnancy (so far), I have felt confident and excited about the space between Sam and his little sister 99% of the time. Every day I see my baby boy becoming more and more of a big kid and growing in independence daily. I just told Jeff the other night that I thought it would make me sad if we weren’t having another baby so soon; but, in light of that fact, it actually makes me excited and proud. Maybe I’m being totally naive, but I really think Sam will be at a great age when the baby arrives to help with small tasks like retrieving diapers or pacifiers, carrying things, etc. AND I think it will make things SO much easier now that he is potty trained, sleeping well (mostly), and can do things for himself like get a cup of milk from the fridge, put on his shoes, and buckle himself into his carseat. I also, as I’ve mentioned before, am excited about the idea of a much older brother, but not so much older that they won’t know each other, go to school together, etc. We will likely hold Sam back a year before starting Kindergarten because of his summer birthday (another post for another time), so – for whatever reason – my mind always goes to our kids being Freshmen and Seniors in high school together. Isn’t that just perfect? Am I totally crazy?
Of course I realize that the larger age-gap might make our adjustment more difficult in some ways too… Sam is totally used to being the center of attention (he’s not just been an only child, but also the only grand child on both sides for almost four years too). We’ve gotten into quite the routine as a little family; and, dare I say it, things are fairly easy on the parenting front these days. I know this will be a big change for ALL of us, and I can’t help but think that the people that just have all their babies right in a row and never allow themselves a chance to know any different might just be on to something…
Regardless, this is the family God has chosen for us. And, no matter how easy or hard the distance between our two babies might be, I am very confident that His timing is perfect. As I’ve said many times before, my transition into motherhood was a lot harder than I expected. Despite what might have been my best laid plans, I was NOWHERE NEAR ready for another baby when Sam was two years old. The last four years have been – by far – the most formative and significant of my life. I am a different person than I was four years (or even two years) ago.
Maybe it’s just the blog world, but I don’t seem to meet a lot of families with kids more than three years apart anymore… SO, today, I thought it might be fun to try to connect some of those moms. I’d love to hear from any and ALL of you on this topic of space between siblings; but, especially, I’d love to hear a bit from those of you that have a larger gap between your kids. How has that worked for your family? What are the unique challenges? Blessings?
Thanks in advance for your feedback and, as always, for following my journey of motherhood etc.