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7 Perks of Having Kids Close in Age

This past weekend, my husband and I went to an adult-only wedding reception. We completely took advantage of the occasion to get a hotel room and perhaps indulge in one too many Peach Schnapps shots that, for the record, I didn't realize could be so delicious and yet oh so dangerous.

As I packed up for our grand night out, I suddenly realized something that felt completely unbelievable to me:

In the almost eight years that we had been married, this was going to be the first time that we had ever spent a night together, alone, without me pregnant or breastfeeding.

And yes, that absolutely included our wedding night.

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It's been a long journey the past eight years because we've had our four children rather close together, adding one every other year. I've been pregnant pretty much steadily as soon as one would hit the 15-month mark (fun fact: our youngest turns 15 months next month, so hold me back folks!), giving all of our children a spacing of almost exactly two years apart. Half of them were planned that way and half of them were not, but regardless of how it worked out, I'm glad that all of our kids are two years apart.

Kristina feels the same way I do but talked about some of the perks of having a bigger age gap between your kids. I've often wondered about the same thing myself, after seeing some family members have larger spacing between their kids. Of course, we don't always get a choice about these things, but I completely think there are perks of either having kids close together or more spaced out. In our case, however, here are some of the perks I've noticed of having four kids all two years apart:

1. They play together so well

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I firmly believe that my kids don't need me in their faces every second of every day. There have been some months, obviously, where my kids couldn't play together that well (the first kid and a newborn, for instance), but after the third kid came along, they became a little pack that can disappear in our play room and create whole worlds of imagination that is a beautiful thing to behold indeed.

2. Lack of sleep becomes a way of life

Call me crazy, but in a way, I'm glad we had kids one after another like a really cute, messy staircase because the lack of sleep hasn't been as brutal as it would have been if we say, had ever gotten used to actually sleeping through the night.

3. Car seats

If I'm going to buckle one, I might as well buckle 10, you know what I'm saying?

4. Little People mode

It comforts me, in a way, to know that I can move into the "next stage" with all of them instead of staggering each stage with one leg in each.

I didn't really realize how different the two modes of parenthood would feel until my oldest two started school. The mental and emotional energies for me of having school-aged children vs. babies, toddler and preschool-aged children are very different types with different skill sets. The needs of younger kids are exhausting, but still relatively simple: Change a diaper, feed them, hold them close. But older children have bigger problems, as the adage goes.

Older children has meant a shift in my mental energies and thinking, and with more activities, school volunteer work, and homework, I've been grateful I am not doing newborn mode on top of all of that. The shift has happened more gradually for me rather than drastically, and it comforts me, in a way, to know that I can move into the "next stage" with all of them instead of staggering each stage with one leg in each.

5. My body

How many selfish reasons can I include in this list, I wonder? But really. Pregnancy isn't easy for me. I get ginormous beyond belief, partly because of polyhydramnios and partly because I'm just fond of food while growing humans. The point is postpartum is always a struggle with me. I am appreciative of what this body has done, but I always want to feel comfortable in my own skin. And for me, that takes some work after having a baby. It's just the way it is and there's no shame in that. So honestly, even though I consider exercise and diet a lifestyle, not a "quick fix" to get skinny after having babies, I do look forward to putting more time into the results I want without knowing I have to be pregnant and breastfeed again.

6. Two words: baby stuff

It might sound like a silly thing and maybe it is, but when your life consists of baby swings, baby bouncers, baby high chair, baby stroller and baby toys, it suddenly becomes a big deal. Having kids closer together in age has meant two major things for me: 1. I got to use all of my stuff multiple times, saving money and convenience for myself. If they were more spaced apart, it wouldn't have been safe to re-use our car seat, for instance. 2. I get to get ride of all my stuff at once. Have I mentioned how much I hate storing baby stuff? In one glorious swoop, my house will be free of all the paraphernalia of babyhood, and sad as it may make me, it will also feel pretty darn good.

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7. They will all launch relatively close together

I realize that this could be seen as a drawback as well, since I'll have an empty nest seemingly all at once, but after getting used to growing up together, there's less risk of the kids missing each other at home when they leave one after another. And in a way, it will almost be like ripping off a Band-Aid for me and adjusting, once again, to a whole new way of life as a mom of adult children.

Now excuse me while I go cry into my cup of coffee and wonder, yet again, if we should have another baby...

Photograph by: Chaunie Brusie

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