A Decade Apart: The Benefits of Having Many Years Between Kids

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by from The Family Channel

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many years between kids

When I found out I was pregnant with my 4th child, I was shocked.  I already had 3 healthy baby girls and my husband and I had considered our diaper changing and breastfeeding years over.  My third child was just months away from entering kindergarten and I was blossoming with the thought of having some time to myself each day.  I even went out and got myself a part time job!  Then BAM!  The pink line showed up, well…pink!  

At the time my oldest were kids were just weeks away from their 10th birthday.  And they were old enough to know that having another baby meant more than they were going to have another sibling.  Needless to say, they weren’t happy about this little blessing.  

Still, at the present moment – with my 6 year old and my 15 year old twins (will be 16 this year), I have to admit that having kids a decade apart really is not that bad.  In fact, I have been forced to calm down alot with my 4th child, and do away with so many preconceived notions that there is only one way to raise a child.  My 4th child has grown up at the softball park and has become quite the lovely, tolerant, well-behaved and FLEXIBLE child by growing up in a more relaxed and ‘on the go’ atmosphere that never adhered to feeding and nap schedules.  

Plus, I have to admit that I think my older daughters appreciate the cuteness of our youngest daughter much more than the middle’ish child does, and there is less sibling rivalry between the kids born a decade apart.  This is not to insinuate that my older kids don’t ever get annoyed with their sister because they most certainly do.  But they also seem to love her alot more than they dislike her at any given moment. I think if anything, my older daughters feel more like secondary ‘mama bears,’ to their littlest sis and tend to spoil her with love and attention. 

I also cannot deny the fact that my older children come in handy when it comes to me getting to take a shower, or mowing the grass because they will keep their eyes on their youngest sister.  That being said, I wouldnt leave my 11 and 6 year old in a room together ALONE, for all the money in the world – lest the earth shattering WWIII break out.  

Another benefit to having the kids so far apart, is that I was able to truly enjoy the first years with my last child.  Sure, we were busy and on the go, but I already knew how fleeting this time in my childs life by living it with my other 3.  Unfortunately, while going through the baby years with them, I was high stress and schedule conscious.  Shortly put, I think I was a more easy going and loving mother by the time my youngest came around.  I trashed old ideals that holding or coddling her too much would turn her into a nightmare, and parented intuitively, by doing what I wanted to do rather than listening to advice.  It kind of feels good to NOT be the new kid on the block.  

It seems like a long time to wait ten years to have another child.  And although we didnt plan for a decade baby break, that is the way the cookie crumbled in my case.  Despite my fears that my oldest and youngest children would not be friends and would not have a close bond (which they most certainly do), my kids are all 4, a loving and happy family unit.  

Plus, now that SHE is here, I couldn’t imagine a day without her! 

How far apart did you have your children?  Do you think having kids a decade apart is too much of a time difference?

Image via Flickr/Tobyotter

What do you think? A Decade Apart: The Benefits of Having Many Years Between Kids

Stef DanielAuthor

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (w ... More

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10 comments

  1. Avatar of Theresa Theresa says:

    One of the downfalls of having my son and daughter 11 years apart is that he won’t be able to play with her like siblings a couple years apart would. On the other hand, it’s nice having one much older because I have a helper. He helps me out when I need him to and he doesn’t complain. He has started to make funny faces at her and she enjoys it.

  2. Avatar of Erin White Erin White says:

    There is a wonderful saying that I have pretty much made my mantra: "Life is what happens while we are making other plans". My children are a perfect example of this. My son will be 7 years old next month and my daughter will turn 10 months two days after his birthday. We tried for years before our son finally showed up a week before our 5th anniversary…right after we had given up hope of ever becoming parents. And then, just after being told that expensive fertility treatments would be the only semi-chance of having another, our daughter came about (without treatments) more than 6 years later. (We only intended our children 3 years apart). Life didn’t care what we planned for…and I couldn’t be happier that things worked out the way they did. My son is a tremendous help with his sister (although he drives her nuts lately trying to be a little more of a mother hen than necessary which in turn drives me nuts) and she looks at him as if he is her favorite person in this whole world. I had years to enjoy my first and let our relationship blossom and now that I have had the opportunity to see first hand how fast they grow and how quickly the little moments pass, I stop to enjoy my time with her even more…cherishing every little "baby" moment before it’s gone. I truly believe I am a better mother now than I was with just one and I don’t even wonder what life would have been like if they had been close in age.

  3. Avatar of Kristen Kristen says:

    The same thing happened to me. Because of fertility issues & a miscarriage, my oldest was 6 before my second came along. Then boom 19months later came the third girl! So they were kinda like having twins. Like you, I was planning on having alone time once the youngest got into kindergarten. And that’s when I got pregnant too. Like you, I am far more relaxed, though I was never strung-out with the others, I’m more laid-back now & am in no hurry to rush her out of the toddler years. I’m enjoying these precious times more than ever, knowing she will be the last one (and I don’t think any more surprises will come). There are six years between the first & second; 19months between 2nd & 3rd, 5yes between 3rd & 4th. The older girls love their sister dearly & she adores them, even when they fight. Fortunately my 16yr old can babysit all three without incident so my husband & I are actually able to take an evening out for ourselves! Now matter how loud & crazy this get, or how messy the house is, I wouldn’t change anything. Except for maybe hiring someone to do laundry us it takes me forever! LOL

  4. Avatar of Candace Candace says:

    My husband has 2 children from his previous marriage that are 16 and 13 and I am pregnant now with his 3rd so we will have a 13 year gap between ours and his youngest. He’s in his upper 40′s so we definitely get comments like, "you guys are crazy" but I think it’s going to a wonderful adventure, and we are so excited for our little man to get here!

  5. Avatar of Kendal Kendal says:

    I am the middle child of a 15 year span in children. My half-brother is 6 years older than me, than came me, than my sister was born when I was 9. We couldn’t stand each other growing up and only after my brother moved out and got married was he decent to me. We are fine now that he is 32 and I am 26 but we don’t go out of our way to see or speak to each other. My little sister is a 100% coddled, wimpy brat. She has never been made to do anything because she was their "last chance". She just turned 18 for gods sakes and has 3 bedrooms full of crap that I occasionally get paid to go clean because she wont. My brother and I do agree that neither of us can stand her.

    Having several kids with the oldest being 10 years older is not a big deal to me. Spreading 3 over 15 years was a bad idea.

  6. Avatar of Chelsey Chelsey says:

    Mine are 12, 9, 6 and 3 months. Our little guy is our big whoops baby! The other kids just love him and they spoil him rotten already.

  7. Avatar of Dvora Dvora says:

    I don’t think anyone plans a decade apart baby unless with a new marriage! I have 4 children as well 9,6,2 1/2 and 7 months old! So my oldest and last are about 8 1/2 years apart! It bound to happen if you have a lot of children! I have 3 girls and my one monster of a 2 yr old boy but he’s such a love! I’m so glad my oldest is a girl because she is so helpful with my baby Bella and actually really enjoys playing with her! Although she will fight like crazy with her 6 year old sister! Probably because the baby doesn’t talk back to her or take her stuff yet lol! Just like most families my kids can fight like mad but watching the way the laugh and play melts my heart!

  8. Avatar of PaulaPC PaulaPC says:

    Mine are 14, 13 and 8 weeks. It’s been amazing. My first two were so close together it was like having twins. Not enough hands and always too much to carry. I remember one kid on a hip and the other in a car seat going up to a 3rd floor apt. WITH a diaper bag slung to my back… I had a two door Festiva because it was the best I could afford… I had no time because I was a busy body 20 yr old with full time college and 3 part time jobs to make it all work while maintaining a broken marriage. It was so hard. Now I’m remarried to someone MUCH more suited to me, and there is 4 adults watching over one baby. She gets the princess treatment because my two old ones adore her. One person carries each thing when we go, everyone is trying to hold/feed/change her. She’s the most loved little bug ever. :) I also get a lot of time (a lot meaning an hour or two a day lol) for myself for showers, reading etc. I also allow my two teenagers to watch her if I need to run a quick trip to the store, which never happened before. It’s pretty amazing.

  9. Avatar of MomAgain MomAgain says:

    I totally know what this is saying!! My kids are currently 20, 14, and 2 &1/2. The older two STILL scrap after about 30 minutes being back together again, and the 14yr old and the 2yr old can get on each others nerves a bit, but the bond between the 20yr old and the 2yr old is unshakeable, unbreakable, and perfectly amazing. I was pretty militant about not having the sibs do diapers or feedings (I nursed until 2) or even any real discipline.

  10. Avatar of Allison Allison says:

    I don’t know if I could have my children a decade apart. Right now I’m on my first one (due in October) and I was thinking about when the best time to have my second one would be. I grew up with plenty of siblings, I am the oldest of 5 girls, so I wouldn’t want my child to grow up alone. However, I was thinking more a long the lines of waiting 3-4 years before I have my next one.

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