During my pregnancy with my littlest, I discovered this strange phenomenon. While most people were genuinely excited for me, there were a handful of people who actually felt slightly sorry for me. Not because I was struggling to keep my food down and ridden with dizzy spells, but because I was “starting all over.”
And the truth be told, I have kind of bought into that. To this day, when people ask me how old my children are, I quickly throw in the fact that I “started all over.” Because what else do people say to a woman with a 9-year-old and a 1-year-old?
But the reality is I didn’t start all over. And to say that would suggest that I feel like I’ve moved backwards, when what I’ve done is far from that.
The amount of time that passes in between blessings doesn’t lessen their value.
I’m now 21 months in, and I’ve got to say I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life with a big kid and a little kid is sort of awesome. And that’s putting it mildly. It’s the best of both worlds and for me – each day is a chance to move forward and onward with three of my favorite people.
For those who you are having a baby years after the first, I’m here to tell you that despite the fact that you may have moments where you feel like you’re starting over you’re not. What you are; however, is wiser, perhaps more self aware and definitely blessed. Motherhood is beautiful no matter when it comes.
And our babies – they fit perfectly into our lives and hearts no matter when they arrive.
I know this because once upon a time, I couldn’t imagine navigating life with a baby and an elementary school student. Now, I can’t imagine not.
Before I leave you, I want to share some of my reasons why I think having kids with a big age gap is the best.
1. You have a deeper appreciation for the baby stage – In hindsight, you know how fast babies grow. Which means you are likely to make even more of an effort to dance in the magic of the baby stage. You know that in the blink of an eye, the sleepless nights and engorged breasts will be a faint memory. This is your second chance to enjoy all things baby.
2. There’s less fighting and competition – You and your oldest child have been going strong for some time now. They know how much you love them and are able to understand that a new baby doesn’t mean you will love them any less. As a result, rather than fighting or acting out for attention, they are right alongside you making memories with their new sibling.
3. It’s easier to rest before the baby comes – Everyone tells you to rest before the baby comes. And yes, that’s hard to do. But it’s a lot easier to do when you have a child who is sleeping through the night and capable of fixing their cereal in the morning, while you are in the bathroom succumbing to morning sickness.
4. You get to do ALL the baby shopping again! – Baby gear has changed significantly in the past few years. As it would turn out, shopping for baby stuff was a lot of fun the second time around. Since I had donated and gave away just about everything with the exception of a couple clothing items, I got to do plenty of it. Tiny little baby clothes? Yes please!
5. You’ll have less baby stuff to carry – Traveling or even leaving the house for a quick trip isn’t as daunting. It takes us less time to prepare to leave the house because we don’t have to pack as much. We have one stroller, one diaper bag/backpack, and since my oldest outgrew the booster, one car seat. If our oldest wants to bring a book, toy, drink, or snack, it fits into my purse easily — or she just brings her own purse.
6. You have a helper – My oldest loves to help take care of her baby sister, which has been such a gift. Not only does it strengthen their relationship but it makes car rides and dinner preparation a lot easier.
7. You’re wiser – I’ve grown and matured a lot over the past several years, and with that comes an ability to look at parenting a lot differently than I used to. The new mom version 2.0 is much more confident and able to trust herself (and her spouse).
8. You’ll see the values you’ve instilled in your older child come to life – I look at how my oldest dotes on her sister. How gentle and kind and loving she is with her. Although I know that has a lot to do with who she is, I also know that the way I parent her and the example I have set for her plays a role in that.
9. You’re able to put things into perspective – You’ve spent the last few years helping with homework, volunteering at field trips, searching for sweaters in the lost and found bin, and listening to your kid share with you why their best friend isn’t their best friend anymore. Potty training will be a piece of cake.
P.S. Still slightly doubtful that your kids can have a close relationship despite their age gap? It can happen. Just look.