I had my first daughter when I was a whopping 19 years old. I was married right after high school, and was divorced by the time I was 21 (10/10 would not recommend). I left my first marriage without any real job experience or means to properly take care of any more children anytime soon.
When I was 24, I met my now-husband. Soon after, I finished college, we were married, he adopted my oldest child. I had my second daughter at 28 years old. Funnily enough, my only two children are 8 years, 8 months, and 8 days apart.
And to honor that grand “8” number, here are 8 Things I’ve Learned While Having Age Gap Kids:
1. You Do Start All Over
When you have kids so many years apart, it can truly be like starting over. When I had my second, my oldest was sleeping through the night, was potty-trained, slept in her own bed, could independently play, go over to friends, etc. When my second came along, I felt like I had to re-learn almost everything, and catch up on all the new information that had come along since having my last baby. And now that I was more financially secure, I needed all of the stuff I couldn’t afford the first time around! Spoiler Alert-I DIDN’T need ALL of that stuff!
2. Your Youngest Has A 3rd Parent (Kinda)
Now that my youngest is 7, and the oldest is 16, it’s almost as if my youngest has an extra “sibling parent.” Of course, my husband and I take on all the “real” parental duties, but my youngest will definitely have another set of eyes watching over her, and giving her “grown-up” advice, along the way. I compare it to having a cool, young aunt that gets it when your parents just can’t-but you also fight with her over which movie the family will watch that evening!
3. They WILL Find Something To Fight Over
Speaking of fighting, if you’re considering spreading your kids apart to lessen the fighting-read this first! The age gap does allow them not to fight over toys, since they are in very different stages, but they still find things to fight about! The youngest always finds a way to annoy her older sister-she definitely understood the assignment when it came to being the youngest! There is also arguing over what movies we will watch as a family, what we should have for dinner, who stole whose snacks, who is in whose space on the couch…..and don’t get me started on screen time!
I didn’t get that much screen time when I was her age! That’s not fair!
It’s not fair that sissy gets more screen time because she’s older! AND why can’t I have a Tik Tok and Facebook too?!
It goes on and on……
4. The Oldest Will Be Given Free Birth Control
I think having a younger sibling has definitely turned my oldest off from having kids-at least for a while! She remembers her sister’s late night howling, the projectile spit-up, the smelly diapers, the lack of extra time, and then later-the dreaded potty training! She has told me, more than once, that she can live without all of the above. Of course, I don’t expect this to be a lifelong feeling (and it’s okay if it is), but her sister has been a good lesson in just how hard it is to raise small humans.
5. Flexibility Is A Must
By the time my youngest got here, we had a full life with our oldest, and baby just had to keep up! Our youngest never had a strict sleeping or eating schedule like so many babies and toddlers who are only children, or have siblings close in age. Sometimes naps and snacks were to be had in the car, school pickup lines, at tumbling practice, or at cheer competitions! We did the best we could to be on a routine, but lack of flexibility could never be an option for us. We had to continue to show up for our oldest, and her life didn’t slow down just because her parents chose to have another child.
6. They Seem To Grow Up Faster
I think the age gap has made both of my children grow up faster, but in different ways. For my oldest, she instantly wanted to help take care of her sister after she was born. She was a great (and appreciated) extra set of hands, and always wanted to be apart of the action. Now that they are older, she has become more aware that her actions and words have great influence on her little sister, who wants to be just like her. For my youngest, I think having an older sister has made her want to be older. She doesn’t quite understand why she can’t have all of the privileges her older sister has, and it drives her absolutely bananas. She is always trying to play catch-up, and we frequently reminder to just enjoy being a kid.
7. It Unintentionally Helped The Budget
I didn’t even think of this one before we had the second kid! Of course, we will end up spending a significant amount of money on both kids as they grow-but it will be SPREAD OUT! We never had to pay for more than one kid to be in daycare at a time, or had two kids in diapers, baby food, or formula at once. I can’t even imagine! Good vibes to those riding that financial train right now! We will also have almost 9 years between them to save for first cars, proms, college, and other big life events. That’s a win for me!
8. It Helps Keep Your Childlike Spirit
When you have kids so far apart, everyone gets a turn to be a little kid again-including your oldest child! We re-lived our park days, coloring books, hide n’ seek, Candy Land, kid cartoons and movies, and remembered what it was like to see life through a child’s eyes. Not that you can’t do those things without small kids-but they sure do make it more exciting!
We wouldn’t change a thing about this wonderful, spread-out family we built!