A Decade Apart: The Benefits of Having Many Years Between Kids
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
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