Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Is There A 'Perfect' Age Gap?



When I was expecting Ezra, I thought we'd figured out the perfect age gap. There are just over 4 years between him and Eleanor - which meant that she was in nursery two and a half days a week when he was born, and she started school when he was six months and properly waking up to the world. So I've been able to have time alone with him that I wouldn't have had if Eleanor had been younger, plus she was already toilet trained, dressing herself independently and generally less in need of practical help which made life easier.

But I'm discovering there are downsides. Toys, for instance. With two children close together, you're unlikely to have many toys around that could pose a significant risk to the younger one. But Eleanor is older, so loves things like Lego and tiny little plastic toys I mentally file under the umbrella term of 'tat'. And she rarely remembers to keep them all upstairs, so I have to be ultra-vigilant. Plus it means they won't be able to play with the same stuff for years, if ever.

And bedtimes. Ezra is tired about an hour before Eleanor, which means we have to try and keep her quiet once he's asleep. Which is impossible because it turns out five year olds are still very loud and not always very considerate. I keep thinking it'll get easier when Ezra can stay up later but realistically by then Eleanor's bedtime will have shifted again.

Then there's the impact on my life. I've blogged before about my worries about being a stay-at-home mum for so long so I won't repeat myself, but I do sometimes wonder if getting the early-years stuff out of the way quickly would have been a better idea.

So is there really a perfect age gap? I asked some other bloggers and they said ...

My age gap between all mine is 2 years. It can be really tough going but they are all so close. My gap between my youngest and oldest is 4 years and they sometimes struggle to play well. - Jaymee, The Mum Diaries

The gap between mine is 3 years. It worked well for me as I had the oldest out of her cot, pushchair, highchair and nappies before the younger one came along. They are close enough in age to still play together and be close too. - Kelly, The Best Version of Kelly

My kids are 21 months apart. At times I think it is perfect and other times I feel the major mum guilt because I'm worried the eldest spent too much time in front of the TV when I was feeding baby, or I don't get enough time to spend with her on learning to write, for example, because the youngest is still quite demanding and wants to be doing whatever the eldest is, and often ruins it! But then I see them together and they're so close and I think perhaps it was the right gap after all! - Lauren, Belle du Brighton

Mine is 3 and a half between my son and daughter. To me it works perfectly-he was at nursery part time so I had time with my daughter as well as a go at getting used to two under 4. He's now at school and she's at nursery and it works really well. - Jemma, Mayflower Blogs

I had my twins when my son was 4 and a half. I had them in June so he was at nursery and started school in the September. It was lovely to have this gap as he could help me out and also he had his own thing with school meaning he never felt left out. He's 8 & the girls are almost 4 and the relationship together is amazing as they play together all the time. For me, it was perfect and I'm glad I waited as I got 4.5 years with him alone and we are so close for it. - Beth, Twinderelmo

I have a 10 year gap between my eldest and middle child and it was so hard going back to the baby days after such a big gap. My eldest loved helping with her little sister though, they have nothing in common now and never play together now they are 14 and 3. I also have a really small age gap of 14 months between my middle and 3rd child and that was really hard! I felt like I did not spend enough time with either of them when they were small as they were both still babies who needed me a lot. Now they are 2&3 they are the best of friends and like the same things. Personally I don't think either of the gaps between my children were right as they were too big / too close. - Lindsay, Newcastle Family Life

I have 16 months between my first two, and 25 months between my second two, so at one point I had three kids under 3.5 years. It was difficult at times, but they're really close now and I'm really glad we had them close together. We are now coming out of the baby/toddler stage (the youngest is 2 and a half) and it was nice to get bottles/sleepless nights/ tantrums/potty training all over in a short space of time rather than doing it every few years! - Rachel, Coffee, Cake, Kids

I have a 20 month age gap. They're currently 2.5 years and 8 months and it's hard because the toddler is still a baby herself so the tantrums are difficult but I can always see they're going to be so close. My brothers are 6, 10 and 12 years older than me and I'm hoping they have a closeness together that I never had as a child. - Vicki, Tippytupps

I have a 14 year gap between mine. I'd kind of given up on the idea that there'd be another. We'd started travelling and the Teen was getting quite independent. Along comes Dinky & 13 months of maternity leave, a house move, breastfeeding & sleepless nights! The Teen found the adjustment particularly hard to begin with, but now he adores his little sister. He still hasn't changed a nappy though We've just continued as we did before, especially with our travels. - Emma, Canny Food

We only have one so far but I grew up with a gap of four years to my brother and eight to my sister. I wouldn't want a similar gap for my children. It was nice in that we each got a bit of alone time with our parents when the others went to school but definitely difficult to play together or bond as children. When you're 16 there's nothing less cool than an 8 year old who wants to play with you all the time! Now we're adults it's not an issue at all although I still find myself mothering my little sister, she's still a baby to me! - Hayley, Devon Mama

What do you think? Have you found the perfect age gap? Does it even exist?

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for including me! An interesting read, and I think that the illusive 'perfect' gap depends fully on the family who have to deal with it, haha!

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    1. You're welcome! And I think you're absolutely right, it's different for every family. Maybe there is no perfect gap, just whatever we can make work!

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