My husband and I started dating as freshmen in high school. We were young and in love and although we may have been a little idealistic, we were convinced we’d marry one day and ride off into the sunset together. We married two years after graduation and eight months later the first set of double lines appeared on that little pink stick. We were surprised, anxious, and excited all in the same moment.
Having children was not a priority early in our marriage. In fact, we were content to wait at least five years before even considering adding children to our family. Even at that, we certainly didn’t want more than two little people running around our home. Fast forward a handful of years (throw in a reality check and a lot of maturing and some significant work on our hearts) and we’ll tell you, our high school selves would never believe where we are now.
Our two children limit has been doubled, in five years no less. We have a five year old, three year old, two year old, and six month old. We have been blessed with four children in five years. In the seven years we have been married, I have spent a total of 41 months pregnant. It’s pretty safe to say we have been in a season of babies and toddlers for quite some time now.
Running errands, taking trips, and going out for play dates is always an adventure with four young children in tow. The looks and comments we get from time to time are absolutely astounding. “Wow, you must be busy!” “Are you trying to be the Duggars?” “You do know what causes that, right?” “Are you going to have any more?” and “Aren’t you exhausted?” are just a few of the [sometimes inconsiderate] things people feel the need to ask while we’re out and about.
Yes, it is always busy. No we are not trying to be like the Duggars, although they are pretty great. Yes, we know what causes it. I don’t know if we’ll have more. And yes, of course I am exhausted from time to time. But that is not what this post is about.
Today I want to share some benefits of having babies back-to-back. Although it is a lot of work, there are some pretty fantastic things that come with having children close in age. So here goes:
The adjustment period after bringing home a new baby is short lived, your oldest after all is practically a baby themselves. I have found with each new child we’ve brought home, our “older” children welcome with joy and have very little negative behavior as they adjust. The “possessive older child” I’ve been warned about has never made an appearance in our home. Sure, our older children want to snuggle a little more but they have never acted out of jealousy over bringing home a new baby.
When one child potty trains, chances are pretty high the next in line will do it with them. Children tend to learn by example. When one toddler sees another learning a new task, they usually want a part of it. Our girls have been working together to learn proper bathroom skills which is fantastic for me. Two less children in diapers is always a win!
Hand-me-downs don’t go out of style as quickly with back-to-back children. Fashion is really null and void when it comes to babies. I mean, come on, they are pretty cute all on their own. But one perk to having children close in age is that they can share each other’s clothes and they’ll still be relatively fashionable.
When you have children close in age, you also get to move through the same seasons of life together. Baby food, diapers, potty-training, elementary school, high school, graduation, etc. all take place within the same short time span. I would prefer this much more than transitioning out of a stage only to be thrown back into it five years later.
Your children have built-in friends. While having multiple children close in age can be a lot of work at times, you never have to worry about someone being left out. No matter the pairing, our children always have someone to play with who is developmentally in the same boat. They are always entertained and are learning to work and play together.
Family trips can be more easily planned. Your toddler wants to go to the zoo but your tween wants to go to the amusement park? When you have children close in age, family trips can be catered to fit the age group. It’s easier to plan around a group of toddlers and young children than make one sit out or bore an older child.
When you have children close in age, you don’t have to become a pack rat. Once your babies are no longer babies, you can move out all the baby clothes and equipment.
Toys and gifts can be shared among siblings. I can’t tell you how many “family gifts” we have been able to purchase and share among our young children. Toys, games, puzzles, books, and even bedroom decor have been given as joint gifts. When your children are learning the same things and reaching milestones together, it is much easier to share these things.
For working moms out there, bunching babies can also allow for a shorter period outside of the work force. By having babies back to back, you are able to dive back into a career without having to take time off again in the future. For business-minded mamas, this can be helpful.
I won’t paint an unrealistic picture and say having multiple children back-to-back is a walk in the park. The infant and toddler stages are filled with sacrifice and constant guidance. Having a handful of toddlers requires a lot of energy and many days I feel as if I am a broken record, repeating myself over and over again. But the joys and blessings of watching your children experience life and learn together is something I sincerely cherish.
How far apart are your children? What do you enjoy most about having children close in age?
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Post contributed by Stephanie of Abundant Living