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I had my kids just 21 months apart and once I got past the
initial jolt (and exhaustion) of having a toddler and a newborn, I loved it. I
still do. I like that they share most of the same toys, I can entertain
them with the same TV shows, we can go to the park and they'll want to play
together, plus they share the same interests and
attend the same school. But I also know many women whose kids are spaced
farther apart in age and they say they wouldn't have it any other way.
So what if you wake up one morning and find yourself wanting
another baby years after you changed your last diaper? Is it a good idea? I
asked a few experienced moms what they thought. Here's why they
say you should embrace the urge and go for it:
1. You're older and wiser and have more patience this time
Almost all of the mothers I spoke
with pointed out that their second go 'round at motherhood was more laid back.
"I was a nervous mom with my first baby. When I had my second child nine years
later, I was more relaxed. I felt like I knew what I was doing," says Amanda,
mom to daughters ages 12 and 3. "I'm much more likely to let things go
now, not only with my toddler, but also with my older kid. I see how, even with
the age difference, they're not so different. They both need love and
2. You have a helper in your older child(ren).
While free or cheap babysitting was often mentioned as
a perk of having kids spaced out, Robin, mother of a 15-year-old boy and 2- and
4-year-old little girls says it best, "It wasn't so much having a built-in
babysitter as it was having a child old enough to understand that babies need more
care and are more demanding. Of course my son still needs me to be there for
him, but he's focused on sports and his friends. And because he gets to be
the big, grownup brother, I think it's matured him in ways being an only child
3. Everyone has a place to call their own.
With a big age gap between kids, you don't have to
worry about their lives overlapping in a negative way. There is no competition
in school or extracurricular activities, no "stealing" of best friends. Raven's
daughters are 21, 16 and 13 and for her: "I liked the fact that when my oldest left high
school, my second was entering high school and my third will be starting high
school as my second one is finishing. So they're in high school back-to-back,
but I like it. I didn't want them to feel like the teachers have the same
expectations of them as their older sister. And they don't date the same boys!"
4. If you always dreamed of a big family, you can still have
There's no way we could have afforded to have this many kids if we had them close together.
Most of the big families I know have
kids fairly close in age. But there's something to be said for spacing kids
farther apart in a big family. "It's chaos, absolutely, but I wouldn't change
it," says Teri. Her big family includes kids 17, 15, 9, 3 and 2 years
old. "Everyone thinks we're crazy, but I wanted a big family and there's no way
we could have afforded to have this many kids if we had them close together.
There is always something going on in our house, and it always feels like a holiday
or party. I love it."
5. You savor the moments a little more, and a little longer.
Being able to stop and smell the roses (or the
sweet smell of a baby's head) is one of those things new moms want to do, but
it often gets lost in all of the other things that need to be done. Having an
age gap between your kids means you're more aware of time passing the second
time—and more likely to slow down and enjoy it. "I had more patience and a great appreciation for the stages my youngest daughter went through," says Rose, whose kids are now 19, 17 and 6. "I had more time with
her, too, because my older kids were in school, so it was like having a
All of the mothers agree on one thing: If you really want another baby, you shouldn't let the ages of your other kids deter you. As Teri told me, "The more, the merrier!"