When I was pregnant with my third baby and two toddlers in tow, I got my fair share of comments and giggles from others. I heard the phrase “you really have your hands full” more times than I can count. We have a 13 month gap and a 19 month gap between our girls. My husband and I knew from the get-go that we wanted to have our kids close together if possible. We wanted close sibling relationships, and we wanted to be fully immersed in each parenting stage, without having to balance between multiple simultaneously. We figured if we were changing one diaper, we might as well change some more!
Being the mom in this scenario means I have now been pregnant or nursing, or both for over 3 years. It is a roller coaster ride, but watching our babies blossom into siblings has been an incredible experience. Motherhood in any season, however you do it is hard. We chose this version of parenting with three under three, and I would choose it all over again without a doubt. If you find yourself having kids close together, whether intentional or not, here are some of the beautiful joys you have to look forward to.
You Will Tackle The Motherhood Seasons All At Once
When you have kids close together, you are completely immersed in each stage. The baby stage is filled with tons of diapers, breastfeeding and messy toddlers. You have to plan around nap schedules and baby routines constantly. Nothing is forgotten about how to care for a baby, because everything is still fresh. As your children age, you will enter the elementary years in one swoop, and then the teenage years. It can be very helpful for careers and future planning to tackle each season in one instead of stretching yourself across multiple seasons in motherhood. With little ones, we often build our entire schedule around naps and meals, which would make having older kiddos more challenging. While diapers is all I know right now, the girls all learn from each other, and we have lots of practice with all things baby/toddler!
Minimize Workforce Disruptions
If you are a working mom like I am, having kids close together can bundle the childcare years together and potentially reduce the career impacts of young children. Childcare is expensive, and often difficult to find. Having multiple kids needing childcare often results in women leaving the workforce or missing out on career advancement. As someone with ambitious career goals, having kids close together was easier for us to plan for and tackle the childcare season all at once. Oftentimes having a nanny is more affordable with lots of little ones, and daycares offer sibling discounts. Being a working mom has its hard days, so for me it works better to tackle the early days all at once.
Handle Pregnancy During Your Younger Years
Pregnancy takes a toll on every woman to some degree and every pregnancy is different. Some pregnancies are more challenging physically, while some women bask in the glow. I landed squarely in the middle. I also endured three high risk pregnancies involving extra appointments and all that jazz. Having kids close together means handling your pregnancies during your younger years. While many moms have wonderful pregnancies well into their forties, there is no doubt that pregnancy can be more physically taxing as you age. Chasing a toddler (or two) while pregnant is a doozy, and for me each pregnancy was more difficult. Tackling pregnancy in one swoop while I was still up to it was a great win for me!
Your Kids Have A Built In Playmate At Their Developmental Level
When you have kids in the same developmental age range, it takes the pressure off of play dates! They always have a built in playmate that is developmentally on a similar level. Of course this involves lots of bickering as siblings do, but they always have a built in playmate. They often have similar interests in toys and games, and can play with each other as they grow. One of my favorite things is listening to our kiddos learn and grow together. They model conversations they hear, and situations they see. Having a sibling close in age means always having someone your size there when you need them.
You Buy Less Stuff
With small age gaps, hand me downs are never in short supply. With three so close together, we have only had to buy clothes in every size once. We have used the same crib for each baby, and moved each toddler into a big bed once we needed the crib again. As long as things stay in fairly decent shape and pass any safety requirements, you can reuse tons of big ticket items instead of having to rebuy later on down the road. We recycle toys between them, and have reused our high chair, nursery glider, and all the baby gear you can think of. While I am sure they are all going to need their own things as older kids, for now we can share everything!
They Will Never Know A Life Without Each Other
People ask me all the time if we have dealt with jealously or behavioral concerns when adding a new baby to the house but the truth is, we have had virtually. Our first was still a baby when our second was born, and when our third arrived they were so accustomed to have a sibling so close in age. With small age gaps, they will never know a time when they were not together. In our experience, there was no jealousy between any siblings, because always having another was so ingrained in their upbringing. They did not have to adjust to a new way of life with being the only one. They spend their days looking through photo albums of each other and wondering always where their other sister is. To them, life is perfect in our family of 5 because that is the only life they have ever known.
The Love Multiplies
I know one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant with my second kiddo was whether I could love another baby as much as I already did. I think this is something a lot of moms face, and something that caused me a lot of worry. Now I look back at my time as a mother to multiple little ones, and I feel like my heart continues to grow each day. It is true what they say about love multiplying. I could have never fathomed sharing this kind of love with my children. I could have never imagined watching this amount of love grow between them as siblings. It is truly a gift to be a part of, and I would not have it any other way.
Do you have small age gaps or bigger age gaps between your kiddos? Which one do you prefer?