Through many conversations with other mums, family members and social interaction, there seems be a predominant idea about what the right age gap should be between children. That is have them close together i.e. 1 or 2 years apart and get all the early hard work out of the way at once.
From the time I turned 21, my lovely Grandma would often ask me the question of when I planned to have children. By the time I turned 25 my still lovely Grandma would often tell me how I was getting on a bit and should think about having kids before I got too old. Of course in this day and age 25 is certainly not old to be having children but I could understand her thinking, she had her children in a time before many scientific advancements in fertility. Most people married young and proceeded to have children quite quickly. Families that came from similar backgrounds as my Grandma were often large. 5 plus siblings was quite normal.
In my early 20s I decided I’d like to have a baby when I turned 27. I figured this gave me enough time to enjoy my 20s but it was still young enough to have a healthy pregnancy. And that’s what happened. Along came Lola a month or so before my 28th birthday. My husband and I enjoyed having Lola around. We felt perfectly content with her. As she grew, she fell into a great sleeping pattern, she became super pleasant to take out and about, she never really entered the terrible twos. She was an all round good well behaved girl. We took her on holidays, she would sleep in her pram in the evening so Mum and Dad could relax at a nice restaurant with a glass of wine. We had it good. She got quality time with her parents and we got that time with her. We weren’t sure if we would have another baby or if we really needed too, as we were having a great time. The need for her to have a sibling at that time didn’t seem to much of an issue. She was content within herself, she played well with others at nursery and cousins so she certainly didn’t miss out on interactions with other kids her age.
Of course I had my ever lovely Grandma asking when I was going to have another baby. I was told I should not leave it too long as siblings with an age gap have nothing in common and by doing it close together I’ll get the nappies, sleepless nights etc out of the way at the same time. If truth be told the thought of two children in nappies made me wince. At least if one was able to take themselves to the loo it would take the pressure off. Double poo explosion nappies or double potty training accidents didn’t really appeal.
My biological clock must have got ticking though as I did end up thinking I’d like another baby. Lola had started school by that time. I thought that by doing it at that time I’d be able to have the quality time with the new baby while Lola was at school. Francesca arrived in October 2016. With a five year age gap Lola and Frankie are miles apart in development. But Lola is becoming independent, she can do many things for herself. She willingly wants to help me and has taken on the big sister role proudly. And I get quality time with Frankie. We do baby groups, coffee mornings, mummies lunches, we meet lots of babies and learn lots of new exciting things even as a second time mum. We then pick Lola up and we all enjoy our afternoon together, Frankie then has an afternoon nap and I get quality time with Lola.
I realise there will be a time in few years that Lola might not think it’s too cool to play with her younger sibling but that time will pass. I also know if they were closer in age their is a real possibility they won’t necessarily get along either. I do hope one day they have a great friendship like my sibling and I do though – we have a four and half year age gap.
I know there are many mums who have their babies close together and it works for them just as well as the age gap works for us. It’s a completely personal choice. Would I leave another 5 years if I decided to have another? I doubt it, I’d be 38, another rule I set myself in my 20s was no more kids after 35! I guess having my first baby in my 20s gave me that time to decide to wait a while for the next one. Grandmas logic wasn’t so old fashioned after all. I know 5 years isn’t that much of an age gap either. Do siblings with a bigger age gap of 5 years get along just as well? I’d love to hear from any readers in the comments section.