After having my first child, I believed the shock to my system needed time to wear off. I also thought the amount of time it would take for that to happen would be about five years. When people asked me when I was going to have another — since that’s the question you hear the most as soon as you give birth — my answer was always, “Maybe when he starts school we’ll try again.”
I believed that with my whole being, until something came over me one day before his first birthday. I had changed my mind overnight and I wanted to have another child as soon as I possibly could. There wasn’t a thing in the world that could have changed my mind. My then-husband agreed, saying he’d never said anything about wanting to have children close together because I was so set on waiting.
He was thinking we would get the hard years over with all at once. Since I was drunk with baby lust, I went along with it, knowing full well there probably would never be a time in my life when I thought raising kids was easy — no matter their age, no matter how many we had, no matter what day of the week it was.
I got pregnant for the second time that night, and while our second child was about 6 months old, we got pregnant again. After having three kids in three years, I had many days when I didn’t know if I was going I make it. But I did. And there have been (and still are), quite a few pros to having your kids close together, like:
They all nap at the same time.
My oldest was still going down for afternoon naps when I had my youngest. I’d turn on Sex and the City, plop down on the sofa, catch up on housework, or bust out a hobby. This was the biggest reason I survived those years in the trenches.
They all go to bed at the same time.
Maybe it’s easier to put them to bed in stages, but my evening hours sans kids were too precious for that. I would power through the 45 minutes of fresh hell it would take to get them to all simmer down, read, get them water, check under their bed, yell at them to get back in bed, check the closets, lie down with them, get one more drink of water. After that, I was done and it was glorious.
You can potty train them together.
This was never my intention, but when my oldest started potty training around 3, his 1-year-old sister watched him and wanted in on the potty action. Seeing her use the potty, and the fact she was younger than him, gave him some motivation to master toilet time. Before I knew it, they were both potty trained and out of diapers. I went from having three kids in diapers to only having one child in diapers and it felt like a vacation. My youngest was right behind them, wanting to sit on the pot when he was 1. Even though it took him a few years after that to get out of diapers during the day, it was encouraging.
Which makes me also remember the three months I had three kids in diapers and hated my life. There is nothing positive about that and I apologized to the garbage man on the regular.
They got to share a lot of firsts together.
When our oldest was 5, we signed the three of them up for swimming lessons together and they all mastered it by the time lessons were over. Going to the beach got a bit easier after that. The same thing happened the first time we took them ice skating, rollerskating, and to the movies. And while things like teaching your kids to tie shoes and zip their jackets can be stressful when doing it assembly-line style, you are thankful after your hard work is done and you get to bend over less.
They all believed in Santa and the Tooth Fairy at the same time.
This was truly magical, and there was never the pressure for my oldest to keep up the charade for his younger siblings since he believed just as much as they did. And when they all started to see signs that there probably wasn’t a Jolly Old St. Nick who would sneak in our house and leave them gifts, or when my youngest came down the stairs one morning and announced he stayed up and knew I was the Tooth Fairy, no one was devastated. They had all kind of put two and two together at the same time.
Now that they are older and all going through puberty one right after the other (please help me, this is worse than the diaper stage), I’m still grateful. Once my oldest started going getting more hairy, moody, and started eating like it was his job, my daughter followed, and now my youngest is in on the fun. I’m still fresh since they are following in each other’s footsteps so closely. There’s no chance of me forgetting what this stage is like, and with each child, I feel like I know a little more and can deal with things a bit better because I’ve just gone through it with one of them.
Not only that, they have each other to talk to as they are going through very similar things in their life like friend drama, heartbreak, and peer pressure.
I know things would have worked out wonderfully if I’d decided to have more of a gap between having kids, but I like how things turned out. It was great to enjoy a Saturday without having to come home and put anyone down for a nap, since they all stopped napping so close together. There was a little bit of an overlap, sure, but by the time my oldest stopped napping, my youngest was able to skip his one some days without it having a huge backfiring effect.
And the other thing? Having kids close together makes other things that may seem hard look a bit easier. You are able to look back and say things like, “I used to have three kids in diapers at the same time, and get them through the grocery store and make it out alive. I can do this.”