It’s not that I think there’s any one way to do it right. Have your kids close together, far apart not my business. The way in which I have my own children however, is entirely my business. I’m so sick and tired of hearing all the experts drone on about how much better it will be (for all involved), if potential 2nd time parents leave a longer age-gap between siblings.
Sure, it’s chaotic, but there are quite a few benefits to surviving all of that chaos. Some of which are purely selfish and some of which, contrary to popular belief, are actually good for a child’s sense of independence, their development, and how they are nurtured.
A while back ago, fellow Babbler Beth Anne Ballance wrote a charming piece on why she’s excited that she’ll be having her kids far apart. It resonated with me, clearly not in a way that I actually relate to. More so in that I admitted to myself all of the reasons that I was glad we decided to be done with having babies and why I’m actually happy my kids are close in age. Meltdowns, tantrums, sibling rivalry, and all.
Don’t Believe The Hype… 1 of 11
Having two kids close in age is chaotic yes, but there are quite a few pros that I've managed to glean now that we're sleeping a bit more...
I Don’t LOVE Being Pregnant 2 of 11
I had the kind of "morning" sickness that lasts all day (and often night), well past the 1st trimester with both of my pregnancies. I'm good with not going through that again. While I am fascinated with and admire my own body for what it can do, I'm glad to have my body back for good. I tried to love it, oh I tried, because it seemed like the proper, motherly thing to do. I felt guilty about feeling so wretched because I had been infertile for so long. I did rather enjoy a few weeks in the last stages on my pregnancies, which is when I did both of my prenatal photo shoots, but that is about it folks.
Image by: Nadya Kwandibens of Red Works Photography
Change of Heart 3 of 11
For the longest time, I thought I wanted 3 kids. I'm over that now. Could have a lot to do with the fact that we've been in baby and toddler-land for going on four years now and our eyes and brains are still bugging out.
Image by Melissa McCauley
All That "Baby" Weight (Maybe I’m Lazy) 4 of 11
I'm not such a fan of all the work it takes to get back into shape. I'm not in my 20s, my body doesn't bounce back the way some young moms' do. I'm happy to make a lifelong commitment with health and fitness and can admit (finally) that I'm good with no more prospect pregnancies, putting it on pause. That is not to say that one can't be healthy or fit while pregnant, but since I'm being honest… I'm just not that type of woman. I ate ALL OF THE CARBS (soaking up that nausea, anything to keep the puking at bay) and anything else I damn well wanted to. Thus, I gained 60(ish) pounds with both of my pregnancies. The last thing I wanted to do was hit the gym, join some prenatal fitness class, or even go for a long walk when I felt like ASS. Although I forced myself to at times. It was way harder to loose the weight the 2nd time around in fact I'm so not even there yet.
Image by Melissa McCauley
I’m Selfish (Or Not) 5 of 11
Depending on one's belief about world population vs. the importance of having a big family, one might say I'm either selfish because YAY! I'm done! My boobs are mine forever more now! More time with my partner! No more baby or toddler-stage down the road! More sleep! No more diapers! etc. OR, I'm right on target because having 2 kids is more than enough in this overpopulated, crazy world.
Reassessment of What Really Matters 6 of 11
With 20 months betwixt the two, I often amuse myself with the thought that I had just enough time to have quality one-on-one time with Wyndham before Abby came along. And then I give my head a shake. I mean, what is that? Why do we put so much importance on what kind of attention our 1st born gets? Every child born after a 1st will never get the same amount of undivided care and attention as our 1st born, especially if you aren't a Stay-At-Home-Mom. By default, there will always be another (or more) kids in the mix. So no, I don't think it matters how MUCH time, I think QUALITY of time is what matters most, for BOTH of my little ones. Perhaps if I had been able to have kids when I was younger, I would be into leaving a larger age-gap (like 8 years) between having children, but that's not my reality anymore.
Image by Melissa McCauley
Built-In Playdates (Two Are WAY More Cute Than One!) 7 of 11
While we've experienced no shortage of sibling rivalry in the past, we're starting to come out of that and revelling in watching their bond solidify and grow. Now that Abby's a bit older, she can run, walk, and play in much of the same ways that her big bro can. Wyndham loves helping his sister learn new skills (like building a tower or tackling the big jungle gym at the park) and reading her stories. I've asked Wyndham to lead in reading the bedtime stories and he happily does it! I can actually go and do the dishes or switch over a load of laundry and they do their own stories together. They have the same interests now, love watching the same movies together, and play the same games. This is a game changer. One that I'm savoring and not too keen on mixing up again.
Bye-Bye Baby Gear, No More Baby & Toddler Proofing 8 of 11
I mean, THANKYOUSWEETJESUS. All of the stuff, and then even more stuff, that only saw a few months in storage before coming back out for Abby. Then we gave it all away when she was done with it. The day we got rid of the baby gates, we did a little happy dance. The last two things to go will be her booster seat and crib this fall when she moves on up to sitting in a chair just like her bro at the dinner table and gets the bottom of the toddler bunk (Ikea Hack job!) that we hope to hook up for them before Christmas. Side note: I got/get to hand down all baby layette, onsies, jammies, hoodies, most shoes, some jeans, and shirts from Wyndham to Abby! That may not last, but for now I'll take it.
No More Potty Training 9 of 11
With Wyndham fully trained and Abby obsessed with wearing undies over her outfits, I'd say we're near close to getting her all trained up too. Yet another thing on a long list of many that I'll be very happy not to have to tackle again once she's in the clear.
No More Sleep Training 10 of 11
We're FINALLY seeing the light. As in everyone sleeping through the night in their own beds, give or take a few nights here and there when one or both of them crawls in with us during the wee hours. Again, I'm down with not going through any of that again. I'm good, thanks.
Both Out of The House at The Same Time 11 of 11
Call me insensitive, or selfish yet again (I know!), but can I get a HELLS YES? Marker, crayon, glitter, and teen-free home, extended trips and vacations, walking around the house naked... HERE WE COME. (When I'm still somewhat frisky.) Not that I'm anxious for all of that or anything, and sure I'll be sad when they both move out around the same time, but then I will also do a little dance. Probably. And then cry again. Who knows? This is all dependent on our "mad parenting skills"; that they'll even go to college or university. Or won't go all FUBAR like I did on my 20s. Or live at home well past their time. (Deep, deep shudder.) Great, now I've gone and went all narcissistic on myself. Someone remind me that this is all very far down the road, mmm'kay?