What Moms of Babies Close in Age Need to Know
Do you ever look back and think, what was the rush? Why did I do it all so fast? There are so many times when I think about how I would have done things differently, but then I quickly switch back and think, but would I?
When it comes to having kids, there is no such thing as doing it at the right time, or the right way. The truth is, having kids is hard. No matter when you do it, it doesn’t get easier!
As a mom of two, I have my own thoughts about what it’s like to have them close in age. From my experience, here is what I think moms of babies close in age need to know.
You will Second-Guess Yourself
My kids are just over two years apart. When I was pregnant with my second, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I should have waited longer. But, it took me a long time to get pregnant with my first, so I tried earlier than later for number two. There was a part of me that was so sad about what I would be losing with my first. I thought about how I was “ruining” his life and how we would never get this special only child time back. I would constantly have to remind myself that, in fact, I was doing the exact opposite. Having baby number two meant I was giving him a best friend and life was about to get even better than he could have ever imagined.
Once my daughter was born, I started to second-guess myself again. It was right about the time she was born that my son was behaving in a less than ideal way. I convinced myself it was because I selfishly decided to have another baby. But my pediatrician reminded me age two is a time behavior can start to shift and our toddlers learn to act out. It made me feel better knowing it wasn’t the transition from one child to two that caused my son’s behavior.
Guilt, Guilt, and More Guilt
When baby number two arrives, all of a sudden, you need to divide yourself in half. Prior to having two, no one trumped time with your first born. When you have them close in age, they both need so much attention at the same time and the only thing that results in is mom-guilt.
No matter how far apart or close in age your children are, you’re going to have mom guilt. Unfortunately, the mom-guilt really doesn’t go away. With children close in age, you are constantly being forced to choose one child or the other. People would always ask me why I would go grocery shopping with both kids or try and do so much with them both, and the answer is simple; the less I had to choose between them, the better. It put my mom guilt at ease!
Sleep is a Real Issue
You’re a parent, so you know what I mean when I say sleep is an issue. It’s always an issue. But when you have kids close in age, you should be prepared to get even less sleep. If one child isn’t awake, the other is. When the baby cries, your older one may wake up. When your older one calls for you, the baby may wake up. You finally master sleep training with one, you will likely need to re-train the other. Without fail, someone will wake you up. Just remember, that one day they will move out and you will sleep again!
Your Life May Feel Like it’s on Repeat
The first six or seven months are the hardest. You will have a lot of scheduling to figure out so that you can make the most of your days. I found that feeding and bathing were the hardest.
When I was nursing, my older one always wanted my attention and then when my baby was ready for solids, I spent most of the day making two different meals for the kids to eat. Then it would be time for bath and the thought of having to do it all separately gave me anxiety. For the first six months, I would begin to feel anxious as the sun went down. But, the silver lining came after six months. It was then my baby was able to eat the same food as my big kid and they could start bathing together. Life suddenly became more manageable. Instead of doing everything twice, their lives were beginning to merge and I suddenly felt relieved.
It Will Be the Best Decision You Ever Make
Is it easy? Of course not! But did you expect it to be? Having kids close together is incredible. My oldest doesn’t remember his life without his sister in it and while the alone time I had with him was incredible, I wouldn’t change it for the world. When I watch them play together (and of course fight) I constantly think about how lucky they are to have one another and how grateful I am I gave them one another. So when I think about if I would do it differently, the answer is no. I would do it all over again, exactly the same way.
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