My first daughter was born in 2010 and my second in 2013. I was feeling great that my plan was moving along accordingly. Once my second was born, we quickly settled into a routine of a family of 4. The girls got along, my oldest was a great big sister, they had similar interests, and I felt content. Our youngest turned 2, then 3 and the itch to have another baby never came. We decided to move and bought a house with only 3 bedrooms. Again, the possibility of having another baby was pushed far back into our minds and we were truly content with how things were going.
Until they weren’t.
I started to get that twinge of wanting to be a mom to a newborn again. At the time, our girls were 5 and 7 (almost 8). We were well out of all things baby- no diapers! We were getting sleep! Going out to eat and traveling was pretty easy now that our girls were getting older. Did we really want to essentially start over? Back to diapers? Lack of sleep?
And what about the ages of our kids? We’d be well into our 50s by the time our last kid would graduate high school. Our oldest would be out of the house potentially while we still had an elementary school kid. The gap between our oldest and youngest would be 8 years! 8 years! To me- that felt like such a big gap. We took all of these factors to make a decision- that yup- we’re really going to go for it!
I reminded myself of a few things: age doesn’t guarantee a close bond between siblings AND i had my own experiences of being an older sibling to a younger sibling with 8 years between us. It certainly was a different relationship when we were growing up, dynamics and roles probably looked differently if we were closer together but the bond and closeness remained the same despite the differences. Now that we’re older, the age difference doesn’t feel as big.
So, now here we are. Our youngest is 3 going on 4, our second is 9 going on 10 and we have a new 12 year old. And it’s the best thing in the world.
All three have such unique relationships with each other and I gotta tell you, the relationship and bond between my 12 and 3 year old is something for the books. They were attached at the hip from the moment he was born and haven’t separated since. My middle child also has assumed a big sister role and has built her own unique relationship with my 3 year old.
I don’t think our transition to three was nearly as stressful specifically because my older ones were old enough, more independent, helped a lot, and understood the changes going on in our household.
Not to mention, when you have an 8 and 5 year old, they really, really want to help with the new baby. I had to sometimes fight to get to hold my son. I sometimes had to ask for LESS help because at the first cry, I had two mama hens at the ready to help their little brother.
If you’re in the midst of family planning and fretting about age differences, I get it. And I also am here to say that whatever works for YOU and your family, you should do that. Whether that’s having Irish twins, only 1, or 6, at the end of the day, age is only a small factor.
*photos by Haverlee Photography