Baby spacing can be tricky. As much as you can try to plan the spacing of your children, when they come isn’t really up to you. Getting pregnant is easier for some than it is for others, but there is nothing wrong with putting together a (flexible) plan.
There are pros and cons to every age gap, so here are some things to think about when trying to decide if it’s time to start trying for baby #2.
PROS to Having Your Kids Close Together
Most families try to have their children close together in age. One reason for this is that when kids are close in age, they’re more likely to be close in general. They grow up having the same interests – doing little league or ballet classes together – going through the boy-crazy/girl-crazy stage together. Diapers are here today and gone tomorrow. Every stage seems to happen more seamlessly because you’re dealing with the same issues at the same time. Your kids are going through similar stages simultaneously, so your parenting can be less challenging, this way.
CONS to Having Your Kids Close Together
Although there are a lot of pros, having kids that are close in age is no walk in the park, either. There is usually a lot more conflict between siblings who are close in age. They are more likely to fight about friends or boyfriends.
Also, when you’re parenting a difficult stage, like the baby years or the teenage years, it’s doubled. You don’t have one in diapers, you have two. You don’t have one toddler in the screaming-tantrum stage, you’ve got two. You don’t have one teenager screaming into her pillow about how unfair it is that she can’t go to the party, you’ve got two. You’re looking at double difficulty during the difficult times.
PROS to a Larger Age Gap
Many parents purposely wait before they have their second child. For one thing, if you wait a few years, your older child is much more able to help out with the younger sibling. An older child can fetch diapers and play independently. Depending on how large the gap is, an older child may actually end up making the newborn stage easier on you. This is a major plus.
In addition, when your children have a larger gap between them, they are less likely to be competitive and more likely to cheer each other on. My sister and I are 8 years apart. That’s a pretty huge gap and most siblings I know that are that spread out aren’t close, but my sister and I are an exception. We have always been close and we have always had the strongest bond. We’ve never tried to one up each other or felt jealousy over the others successes. We have always been (and continue to be) in such different life stages that our relationship has been simple.
For mom, having that age gap will also provide some relief when you face the more difficult stages of parenting. It’s nice to have a sweet cuddly 4-year-old to tell you that you’re the “best best best mommy in the whole wide world, and better than all the other mommies” when you’re dealing with another child right who just stepped into the preteen attitude stage.
CONS to a Larger Age Gap
When there’s a larger the age gap between siblings, it can be harder for them to be buddies. Although siblings will always be close to a certain degree, it’s not as easy to form a special bond when you’ve got one dealing with lunch line woes and the other wondering who he’s going to ask to prom.
Furthermore, parenting children with large age gaps can leave you feeling like an old parent. A lot of families choose to have all their kids back to back so they can be snappy, energetic grandparents in the future who still travel and play tennis and do cool things like sky dive.
The longer you wait between kids, the older you will be by the time all your kids are out of the house.
So, what’s the answer to the question – how soon should you try for #2? The answer is…it depends. It depends on what you want. It depends on the hand you’re dealt. Just know that either way you do it, you will love it.
Seeing your children grow to love each other and have that special bond is one of the most rewarding parts of motherhood and whether there are only a handful of months between them or many years, your heart will melt as you get a front row seat in witnessing their love bloom and grow.