When your children are close in age, people are more than willing to tell you how hard it's going to be. Sometimes they say something sweet and affirming, but more often than not, they give you weird looks or make a negative comment or two. And I would know! My oldest child was only 3 1/2 when my third baby was born.
I know all about having two children in diapers. I've experienced breastfeeding while pregnant. And I can tell you that yes, that Moby Wrap really will fit over your 5-month pregnant belly when you need to comfort your 1-year-old who has an ear infection. I speak from experience.
So yes, it's hard to have children close together. We all know that. And everyone likes to remind us of that when they find out we're pregnant again. So let's ignore the negatives for just a minute and talk about the fun stuff instead. Whether your kids are close in age by choice or by surprise, there's much to enjoy about it. It is possible to survive and thrive with children close in age.
1. Children close in age enjoy the same types of things.
At our house, no one rolls their eyes at watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or Veggie Tales. They all love it. And at Disney World, they wanted to ride the same rides. And all three of my children love Legos, dress up, and playing with the doll house, even if my son does make Captain Hook invade the family sometimes.
2. Children close in age take naps around the same time.
Confession: I live for nap time. As a homeschooling mom of 3, nap time is the only chance I have to write on my blog or take a rare nap (which pretty much only happens when I'm pregnant). If you can train your older kids to rest or play quietly while younger ones are napping, then you're home free. My littles don't protest at all when I tell them it's nap time, even if they've outgrown it. But nap time with a 9-year-old? Probably not going to happen.
3. All the baby gear is handy when children are close in age.
If you're like me, then your high chair has probably lived in your kitchen for the past 5 years. And it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Embrace the high chair. Don't bother putting the burp cloths up in the attic. The only thing that really changes here are the colors. I even switched to a gender neutral nursery so that there's no need to worry about that anymore.
4. When your children are close in age, you're already in baby mode.
You've had so much practice that you can change diapers at lightning speed, and those mama reflexes are ready to catch a hand reaching for the poopy diaper. In short, you are really really good at this mom of little bitties thing, so keep at it while your skills are sharp. You're like a ninja mommy.
5. You Know Your stuff.
You know what's “normal” and what's not. You're probably pretty familiar with what foods can be introduced when, and if it even matters anymore. I reached a point where I don't even bother looking up schedules and expectations on the internet or in a baby book. In fact, my friends who waited a few years between babies often call me to find out what's normal. Sometimes I'm a little jealous that they've had time to get rusty, but I'm not going to waste time on what ifs. God gave me babies close in age, so I'm going to make the most of it.
6. The Kids Will Be Super Close.
When your kids are all close as children, they become close as adults. They will call each other for advice about marriage, money, and babies. My mom had seven children and the first five of us are all only 2 or 3 years apart, so I can tell you how fun it was and still is to be so close to brothers and sisters. It's a sweet thing.
Me and four of my siblings, taking the obligatory spring picture in the Texas bluebonnets. That's me in the middle with the crimped bangs. It was the 80s!
I know that not everyone can have babies back to back. Infertility, miscarriage, and many other things cause moms to have to wait years for a precious little one. Sometimes we even choose to wait a little longer between babies simply to catch our breaths, and there's nothing wrong with that.
But if this is the life that God has called you to right now, then enjoy it, mama. It will be gone too soon.
Gabby blogs at MamaGab, where she loves to encourage mamas in their heart for their homes, husbands, children, and the Lord. She loves making bread and drinking good Louisiana coffee, though not usually at the same time.