When my son was born more than 7 years after my daughter, I was nervous about doing the “baby thing” all over again: walking around late at night with a screaming infant, waking up at 3 a.m. to nurse, changing poop-filled diapers, baby-proofing the house, constantly running to the store for diapers, wipes, food and clothes ... and on and on.
Yes, having my son so long after my daughter did require some re-learning of all things baby that had been tucked away in the back of my brain. But now, after my son’s first birthday, I’m seeing lots of benefits from waiting a few years to hear the pitter patter of little feet all over again. Here are a few.
1.Your first child can watch the baby—and later on, babysit.
A 7-year gap can be a good thing. It’s a good thing now, because my 8-year-old can play with the baby while I’m in the shower or cooking. And it will be a great thing in a few years, when she’s 13 and he’s 6, because she’ll be able to babysit him and maybe earn some cash if we’re hosting a few of his first-grade pals.
2.Both babies get their share of attention.
Having a large gap between two kids ensures that the first one got dotted upon sufficiently. Hopefully, when the new baby comes along, he or she will be mature enough to handle the attention shift.
3.It’s fun to do the baby thing all over again.
You yearn for those tugs on your jeans and mispronounced words.
Sesame Street, Elmo, Caillou, stuffed animals, noisy toys and blankies. At the time, it feels like the baby stage will never end. Then all of a sudden, it’s over, and you yearn for those tugs on your jeans and mispronounced words. Having a gap between your kids lets you do it all over again, and appreciate that short, precious time before they start school.
4.You have another chance to make friends.
They say the best opportunity to make friends is when you’re going to school. I believe the second best opportunity is when you have a baby. I met some of my best friends through my daughter, particularly in her early childhood years. I’m now becoming friends with an entirely new group of people who have babies.
5.There’s less competition between the kids (or none at all).
The 7-year gap between my kids means there won’t be a time when they’ll be competing with each other in school or activities, or for toys or friends. Hopefully, that will translate into a better relationship for them, and more peace in our household over the long haul.