Making the decision to have kids is monumental but, after you have one, you start thinking about siblings.
I know I was a little obsessed about when to have the next one. The first two years after having my first I would probably have bitten your head off if you mentioned doing it all over again! Is there a perfect age gap? I feel like when it comes to deciding how far apart to have kids, you are doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t!
Doomed If You Do, Doomed If You Don’t
If they are close together, under two years, you have to deal with two babies at the same time. That means two needy little humans at once, with bums to clean, mouths to wipe, cuddles needed and complex bedtime rituals! I have a lot of friends who had their kids about 18 months apart and I looked on in abject horror as their lives got decimated for a few years.
On the flip side you don’t want to big a gap between children so that the oldest becomes basically a third parent. I think most of us want our kids to be close to each other, your siblings are the only people that go through your whole childhood with you, and in later life, the link to your past.
I have known siblings eighteen months apart that fight like animals and lose touch as they get older. However, I also have known siblings six years apart that are as close as twins. The same is true in the reverse, in the end we probably put way too much weight on the age gap.
We have always wanted only two children for a number of reasons, not insignificantly our feelings about overpopulation and the drain on the world’s resources. I imagine the number of kids you want greatly impacts this decision making tree as you wouldn’t want too big a gap if you are shooting for a large family.
There Is No Right Answer
In the end it seems no matter how much thought you put into it, there are pros and cons to whatever age gap you end up with. I realized that the perfect timing for your family depends on so many factors, many related to lifestyle.
In our household my hubby was doing a P.H.D when we had our first, and he missed out on a lot of the day to day joys of her early childhood. I was determined to wait until he graduated before we had another. He graduated in the December and our second arrived in March so we just made it!
For us despite the five and a half year gap, something I wasn’t thrilled with, it was the right decision to wait. He has been able to be fully present for her early childhood, and hasn’t had to share all those special moments with Dissertation deadlines and P.H.D stressors. Our 6 year old is a fantastic big sister and I know as they grow together they will get closer and closer.
Sibling Age Gap Freedom
For as much stress and worry as parents apply to making these decisions, the drawbacks and benefits are there for whichever road you journey down. The most important thing is that you figure out what works best for your nuclear family. So perhaps instead of “You Are Doomed if You Do, and Doomed if you Don’t” it should be “You are Blessed if you Do, and Blessed if you Don’t”!
On the plus side no matter how far apart they are, you can buy our Sibling Pack and make sure every one gets what they want!
Two more perspectives on this, one for each, you can’t lose either way: