5 Best/Worst Things About Having Children Close in Age

 

3 toddlers 5 Best/Worst Things About Having Children Close in Age

I am often asked how I do it with three children under the age of four. And usually my answer to this question is some variation of “Who me?” I don’t really know how I do it. But I do do it because I have to, and because, really, there’s no alternative when you think about it.

I get asked a lot if I would recommend having children close in age. I can’t really answer this question because what may work for my family may not work for your family. However, I can always share what I feel are the five best and worst things about having children close in age.

Let’s start with the best things.

1. Your children will be like best friends. And this is a good thing. Because good friends play together, show each other how to use the potty and throw food on the floor. But I digress.

2. You will be done with diapers sooner. Sure, in the midst of the baby and toddler years, you’ll feel like you’ll never be done wipes and poo, but as time goes by and you watch your children pass through milestones one after another, it’ll happen.

3. You can remember more about what you did with each of your children. When you have a child every year like I did, what you did with each child–your arsenal of parenting tips and tricks–is very fresh in your memory. Now this isn’t to say that with each child you won’t need to adjust your arsenal, because you will. But remembering what may have worked and the feeling of sleepless nights after many sleepless night makes doing it again feel more intuitive and dare I say…easier. No, not easier. Forget I said that.

4. It is easier to stay in the moment. When you have more than one little one, more than one child running away from you, pulling knives out of the cabinets, and spilling milk on the floor, it’s like a shock to your system. Because your life will be so busy trying to stay on top of your life,  you won’t have time to be as bogged down in things like guilt, anxiety, how to parenting manuals, and the allure of the pantry.

5. It’s kind of fun. Yes, having children close in age is stressful, but the experience becomes fun when you find your groove and learn to see the beauty in your very full life.

 

The worst things

1. Remember how I said that your children will become the best of friends? Well, at times, they will also be the worst of enemies. They will fight over everything, like who got ketchup on their hot dog first, who got more ketchup, whose hot dog bun is more perfectly shaped, and the size of their hot dogs.

2. You won’t have just one baby. So, in having two or more babies, your attention must be divided. Your hours will feel long. And your patience?  Well, it will be tested, often. You will, with time, learn to make time for each of your children and remember to see them as individuals, who while close in age, are still at their own developmental “moments.” But this takes time and intention.

3. It’s really hard in the beginning and hard again. Things will get easier with time, but in the beginning with one or two toddlers and a newborn, your life will feel impossible at times. For me, the impossible phase happens when a new baby is born (up until week three) and with any shared illnesses. As a note, you will not feel this way forever, but in the beginning, or when everyone is sick, or in moments when your newborn is crying and toddlers running in opposite directions in Target, it will sure feel that way.

4. You won’t feel like you have much “me” time. In having children close in age, much of your “me” time must become “we” time. You will, with time and creativity, find time for yourself, but because your children will seem to need you all at the same time, it will be tough.

5. Your body will never get a break. I’ve had three kids in four years. Writing this out and reading it back, feels insane, like “whose crazy life is that?!?” My body does seem forgiving through all the stretching and de-stretching and pulling and all that that goes into a pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I think if my body could talk it would say “we need a break!”

 

Do you have children close in age? What are the best/worst things in your opinion?

 

Comments

  1. JN says

    I have a 2 year old and a 9 month. OMG let me tell you…

    It’s absolutely great wouldn’t trade it for the world. Firstly I had no help with my kids beside my husband it was so stressful when my second child was born because my husband works full time I was exhausted with my two babies both breastfeed.. but believe me it will get better as months go by and easier.. take it easy don’t worry to much just be present in the moment a use time will fly and you’ll be thinking of how they were born. When there asleep I cry sometimes thinking how I have created these babies there beautiful.. I love them both. And have learned patience and to live in the moment from them..

  2. Johanna Hannaford says

    Oye! These all ring true to me, I have 3 yr old twin girls, a 2 year old girl, and my twin boys are due in May, so once they are born- it will be 5 under 3 1/2. I am funding that because my three girls are extremely emotional- I am constantly depleted. My general personality is very chill, laid back, and as much as we all know kids have their “loud” days, I am finding that my nerves are shot alllll the time! All that being said, they can be soooo much fun, but I’m finding in order to keep my sanity, an not have my relationship with them compromised I have put them in a day home twice a week, mainly because this second twin pregnancy I’m soo tired- and they don’t sleep well, and for my over all recharge as a human being. I agree that the first few months with a newborn/s are the hardest, and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for that time. I’ve read a lot, and been told a lot by other moms that once kids kind of reach 5ish and really start to have a brain to do things, it can be tough. So I’m hoping as the new ones come, the older ones just gravitate to helping- and can I get an amen to school coming!

  3. LAH says

    We are about to have #6, our oldest is 6. It will be 6B, 5B, 4B, 2.5G, 1.5B and newborn G. It can be crazy, and believe me we get stares and comments EVERYWHERE we go. But I love having them close, I actually think it would be harder to have them spread out. Our kids always have someone (s) to play with and they learn very young that the world doesnt revolve around them. They take care of each other and become independent much earlier then other kids their age.
    The hardest for me is always the first 3 months having a new baby, it is true exhaustion! We also have to figure out if its even possible to fit all our kids into our Honda Odyssey. It’s already a tight squeeze with 5 car seats/boosters! :/ If anyone has any ideas please share!

  4. Rachel says

    I loved reading this post! I’m expecting my third any day now, and my oldest just turned 4… should be exciting :).

    I’m not sure if the children pictured are yours or not, but the two oldest are a dead ringer for my first two– My little girl has darker coloring and eyes, while my two year old boy has bright red hair, blue eyes and the fairest skin one can get :). Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Sarah says

    This is soooo true! I can totally relate. My first 3 were in 3 1/2 years. And now I am about to have my 5th. (Oldest will turn 7 shortly after this baby is born, then 5 1/2, 3 1/2, 17 months, and newborn). A bit insane. I am looking forward to the best friends part as they age. They certainly fight a lot, but they play and laugh and read together too, and at the end of the day my boys (the 3 oldest) are best friends and very loving. My patience is pretty thin though. Hopefully I will gain some more.

  6. Rachel says

    I just had my third baby, so I have a 3 year old, a 1 year old (he’ll be two in December), and a 1 month old. We wanted our kids to be close in age and have been fortunate enough to have that happen. People say it’s easier to go from two to three rather than from one to two, and I’d have to agree. It almost seems easier with three kids (in some ways, but definitely not in every way!). I agree with all of your “best” points. Number five on your worst list is so true. By the time I’m done breastfeeding my newborn it will have been over five years that I’ve always had someone growing in me or hanging off of me (breastfeeding). I think my body might go into shock when I have it all to myself again! I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world though!

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