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.
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
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
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.
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
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.