Spacing Out the Little Ones: To Wait or Not to Wait

I've gone pretty public about being happy with our family's decision (and luck) with spacing our children exactly two years apart (almost to the day). But now that I'm knee deep in the process of raising those four children, it has really hit me how close in age they are really are. 

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I know other people have a lot closer spacings — like this mom, who had six kids in three years, a feat made possible by a natural set of triplets — but I also know that a lot of mothers wonder if there is a magical spacing for their children. 

And while I don't think there is a magical amount of time for spacing your babies, I do think there are pros and cons of having kids so closely together that I honestly didn't consider that much when I was popping out children every other year. So let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of having kids that are close in age, shall we?

spacing
Image via j&j brusie photography

Pros 0f Having Children Closely Together

Easier. I feel like, in a way, having had my kids closer together has been a tad easier — almost like it's been a blur the past eight years in a way that if I would have stopped to breathe, I might have thought “What the heck am I doing?!” and stopped having children. 

Savings on baby stuff. There is a lot of gear that comes along with having kids — especially young kids — and that stuff doesn't last forever. Car seats, for example, expire after six years, so if you decide to space your babies out, you will have to buy all new equipment. And in the meantime, where do you store it all? We just hit the expiration date for all of Baby #1's gear, so we know full well how nice it feels to save on that baby stuff.

The wear and tear on you. Oh, man. Birthing and raising four kids hasn't been kind to my body. I am not a dainty, nor a delicate pregnant person, and in many ways, I'm glad I got the damage over quickly because I feel like I could enjoy my kids and wait a little bit before diving back into exercising more rigorously. 

They grow up as friends. Friends who also fight. A lot. 

Cons

Not enough time to enjoy the kids. My husband and I were just discussing this last night, and we felt — with a lot of sadness — that we didn't have time to truly enjoy our kids when they were so little. We have been on survival mode so often that it's almost become auto pilot. Now that our oldest is almost 8, we definitely feel a lot of regret for not being able to enjoy all of the little moments more. 

Health risks. The risk to your body is different. If you have a baby too quickly after a previous one, or if you wait too long between pregnancies — there are risks either way. Your baby is more at risk for being premature if you get pregnant within six months of giving birth or if you waited more than five years. 

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Missing out on older siblings with a baby. Call me crazy, but I think that there is something so magical and wonderful about having a baby in the house with older siblings. Nothing brings happiness to a family like a baby in the midst, and no matter what's going on with stress and high school or dating, if you have a baby to break all that up, it just seems like even the angriest of teens would be able to muster a smile. You know what I'm saying? Babies = happiness. 

So now that we've talked about all of this, I am realizing it's not entirely helpful, right? The bottom line is that we don't always even have a choice about how to space our children, and every family is different. But I know that, for me, having had four kids pretty closely together, I find myself longing for a big, fat break before (and if!) we decide to have another baby. That way, I would get to experience the best of both worlds.

How far apart did you space your pregnancies? 

What do you think?

Spacing Out the Little Ones: To Wait or Not to Wait

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    I have a 15 ur old daughter my son just turned 11,, and my little guy just turned 5.. my older so. Was born a month after my daughter started pre k..my baby was born while my other son was in kindergarten I loved it and planned it that way because I felt it gave me more time with each one when they were babies I was able to focus more on each baby and the older one was old enough to be my helper so they never felt jealousy towards the baby.. and with the older ones being my helper and always being right there helping with the baby they grew amazing bonds. My kids are all sooooo close it melts my heart. My little guy just started kindergarten and I’m alone for the first time in 15 years..my husband is at work during the day..it’s nice and quiet but I don’t know lol I don’t like it! Also one drawback is they’ll never be in the same school except my two oldest were in elementary school together for two years and the joy and excitement they would get when they saw each other in school was breathtaking to hear how excited they were to see each other and when their teachers would tell me how their faces lit up when they saw each other.. they always say they wish they were closer in age now so they could go to school together. I had 3 sisters we were all close in age and we hid from each other in school lol…everyone keeps saying..it’s time… when’s the next one!lol… right now I’m just enjoying. Being as involved in my kids school and being able to do much more with volunteering and the Pta that I could never do with little ones..I was always very involved but was limited to what I could do..now I’m always there and extremely involved and love it. But yes there’s def pros and cons no matter how u choose to do it.i honestly don’t think I would change one thing about the way I did it because my kids wouldn’t be who they are today.they have a love for each other that I don’t see in a lot of siblings of course siblings love each other to the bottom of their heart but the closeness and just the way they are is amazing

  2. sandra says:

    I have a brand new baby and my other child is turning 8 in May so all of this is like been parents for the first time crazy but I love it !!!

    • I have an 18, 13, 8 year olds and now an 8 month old. And I couldn’t be more happier. My older ones dive in to help with the baby when they see that I’m busy. The baby makes the house more of a happy place and I’m greatful for having my kids spaced the way they are.

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