Our daughter was about to turn one and I felt a familiar burning in my chest. As she was becoming slightly more independent, I wanted another child. I knew it was soon. I mean, we just got out of the baby stage and we were finally getting sleep. But I couldn't shake the desire in my heart to have another child...and quickly!
My sister and I are 23 months apart and it was the best thing ever growing up so close. We did everything together and she was my built-in best friend. The adventures we went on and the memories we have are forever tucked away in my heart. As we entered high school, there were a few rough years where we drove each other crazy, but at the end of the day we loved each other and we were family.
So, when I told my husband I was ready to try for baby number two right after our daughter's first birthday, I wasn't sure what he would say. He was an only child growing up and didn't have the same perspective I did on siblings close in age. To my delight he wanted to go for it! About a year later, our son was born.
Our daughter and son are 25 months apart. If I'm being honest, the first year of two kids around two and under was difficult. It seemed like whenever I went to nurse our son, our daughter would have some kind of toddler emergency.
I didn't get a lot of sleep and it often felt like my body wasn't mine. I was either pregnant or nursing for almost four years. That’s a long time to feel needed and to give yourself to others. There were many days where my needs were last on the to-do list. It was not always fun.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I love my children and the joy of a first smile or a first step is exhilarating. Those moments warm a mother’s heart. They’re some of the best moments of motherhood. But there were certainly times where I thought What about me!? When do my needs matter?—feeling as if I was slowly losing myself in the messiness of motherhood.
Not only is it emotionally and physically draining. Taking care of a baby and a toddler for 24 hours a day, seven days a week is no joke. You are never officially “off duty.” But looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. Honestly. Though the initial months were difficult, the many joys of siblings close in age made it worth it to me.
When you have kids close in age, they are automatic best friends. Our kids love to play together and have learned so much about patience, kindness and how to share because of each other. They are so close developmentally which has helped me with entertaining them. It makes finding activities much easier! They enjoy a lot of the same things and they both have incredible imaginations at this stage.
Another reason I love having children close in age is because of scheduling—you can coordinate nap time, play time and even preschool. This makes life so much easier for us. Now I know big decisions like this shouldn't come down to convenience, but we've noticed a huge difference in the attitudes of everyone in our family when we have structure to our day, so this has been a nice little perk.
Finally, we haven’t lost as much sleep having kids close in age. You may be thinking—What? How is this possible? Initially yes, you will lose sleep. But, you will get to this sweet spot around ages two and four where both children are sleeping through the night. In the long run, the baby phase of sleepless nights is over in a shorter period of time.
Though our family has really enjoyed having kids close in age, you have to do what is right for you. We all do. That’s all we can do. And there are times when we don't have as much control over this as we'd hope. That is when we have to have faith and trust in the timing of everything.
Whether your kids are close in age or not, there is nothing like a sibling’s love. It's a beautiful thing to watch the bond between our kids grow....in between their days of arguing over who gets what toy. ?