Are you and your partner deciding when to have children? Not only when to have your first one, but also, when to have the second one in relation to the first one? Some couples are eager to get their brood started right away and anxious to get the pregnancies over with, while some women dread the idea of being pregnant for most of the year, several years in a row. These are both valid points. You may have friends with siblings that are a good decade older than them, and you may have friends that are barely a year apart from their sister or brother. You’ve watched how these age gaps affect their relationships differently and wondered what would be best for your own kids. Here are the pros and cons of having children very close in age.
They can share a room for a while
You can usually convince little kids to share a bedroom up until they are nine or ten years old. That means that, if you and your partner cannot yet afford a three or four-bedroom home, you have a little more time to save up. Meanwhile, it’s very hard to convince an 11-year-old child to share a room with a toddler. As kids approach their preteens, they want their own space, and they’re on drastically different sleep schedules than little kids.
You’ll have two terrible-twos at the same time
You will have multiple toddlers at the same time, which will feel like monitoring several very drunk friends all day long for a couple of years. Every moment will be chaos. You’ll wish you had eyes in the back of your head. If you’re preventing a disaster with one child, you’ll wonder if the other is currently climbing on a stack of books to reach some toy on a counter top.
You may be able to get away with buying (almost) one set of clothing, and just passing it down to the slightly younger child every year or two. And you can be certain that the fashion trends when one kid is 15 won’t be that different when her sister who is younger by only one year is also 15. Furthermore, the school curriculums won’t change much, so you can often pass the pricey textbooks from one child down to the next.
You’ll have two teens at the same time
You will have two teenagers at the same time. That is really something to think about. That means that, for a few years, both of your children will hate you and constantly push back against your rules. That means that, for a few years, you’ll have to stay up late, making sure both kids get home by curfew and don’t drink underage.
You can do bulk pediatrician visits
If your kids are very close in age, you can usually take them to the doctor at the same time. When you’re a busy mom, that’s a huge help. From teeth cleanings to vaccinations to checkups, you can typically bring in both kids at the same time, because they’ll both still be seeing a child doctor/dentist.
You’ll be pregnant for almost 18 straight months
That means almost two years where you can’t drink alcohol, can’t wear your favorite clothes, can barely keep food down, don’t feel sexy, have to keep up with frequent doctor’s visits and are a ball of hormonal emotions.
You’ll get your post-baby body back quicker
If you have all of your kids close together then you can just do the whole getting-your-body-back thing once. There’s no reason to get back in shape if you plan on getting pregnant again in three months. If you have all your kids at once, then you can hold off on the extreme fitness routine until they’re all born.
So, so many diapers
There will be diapers filling every single receptacle in your home. You will have to fight very hard to keep your home from smelling like poop. You’ll spend a lot of time, every day, for several years, changing diapers.
You retain your parenting tricks
Your tricks for every given situation will still be fresh in your head from the last kid. In fact, for kids two and three, you’ll be an expert at handling every parenting situation in the book. In essence, you get to keep up your parenting practice on a tighter schedule, which makes parenting the second and third kid a little easier.
You have several very needy kids at once
No child can babysit the other. No child can drop one kid off at soccer practice because, basically, none of them can drive or suddenly all of them can drive. No child can help bathe the other. You will, all at once, have several children who need help with literally everything.
They can be friends as adults
Your children can be one another’s best friends later in life. The truth is that people tend to seek out friendship among their peers, so when you have kids eight or 10 years apart, they may never be very close as adults. When you have kids close in age, they can be one another’s best friends later in life. And that is a very special feeling for a parent.
They may hate being in high school together
While your kids may get along in their 20s and 30s, let’s not forget that during their teen years, they don’t like anybody. Teens tend to reject their family. That means your teenage kids may hate being in the same high school together, fight over friends groups, fight over romantic interests, fight over who is the better student and so on.
You can return to your life faster
Your nest will empty out sooner. That can, at first, be difficult because you go from having a very full house to a very empty one in a matter of a few years. But that also means that you get back to your own life sooner. You can dedicate more attention to your spouse, friendships, and career earlier than if you spread out your kids.
You’ll face college tuition at the same time
That can be a hard pill to swallow. You may be paying not one but two or even three crippling college tuitions at the same time. That amount of money calls for some serious financial planning
They can help each other in life
Because your children will go through many of the same things (starting their career, getting married, having kids etc.) around the same time, they can help each other out. They’ll be able to sympathize with each other, and give each other tips and tricks.