Tuesday, 6 August 2019

PARENTHOOD: The Pros and Cons of a 2 Year Age Gap

PARENTHOOD: The Pros and Cons of a 2 Year Age Gap
This post is inspired by the lovely Kerry Conway, as she wrote a similar post all about the pros and cons of a three year age gap on her blog last year. It really got me thinking about the age gap we have between Isabella and Poppy - was it the 'right' age gap for our family and what are the challenges that come along with having a two year gap. I know it's not as easy as saying 'I want a two year age gap' and that actually coming to fruition; conceiving a baby is a journey in itself, but a lot of parents do have a desire to have a certain age gap between children. Looking back I don't think we had a certain age gap in mind and to be honest when I was pregnant with Isabella I hadn't really thought about the fact that it would be the start of our family. We were the first of our friends to have children and at 25 I was on the younger end of the scale these days, but what I hadn't considered is that if we wanted to have children relatively close together then I would be having our second child also pretty young. If that makes any sense?

Fast forward to 2019 and we have two beautiful daughters, neither of which are babies anymore and we're well established in life with two children. I find it really interesting to reflect on that first year or so of parenthood and consider whether I would 'recommend' a two year age gap or not. Now obviously I don't have any experience of any other age gaps, so this is just my experience. To be precise there is a two year two month age gap between Isabella and Poppy and these are the pros and cons we've experienced...
Pros
  • Isabella still napped when Poppy was born, so they napped at the same time from a very early age.
  • Isabella wasn't as established with life as an only child and welcomed Poppy into our family without any jealousy really.
  • The closeness in age means that they are into similar toys, games and forms of entertainment.
  • They play together a lot now that Isabella is almost four years and Poppy is 18 months.
  • Isabella was old enough to be helpful when it came to passing the muslin cloth, showing Poppy a toy or telling me when Poppy was sick down my back!
  • Isabella is a second pair of eyes on Poppy and has always been very helpful at picking up anything that she deems is too small for Poppy to play with or warning me if she thinks Poppy is going to hurt herself.
  • There aren't lots of toys with small pieces around the house yet because Isabella is that bit younger. 
  • Isabella doesn't really remember life before having a little sister and she is very protective over Poppy.
  • They go to bed at a similar time each night and always have done.
  • We still have our evenings free, as Isabella and Poppy both go to bed around 6pm.
  • When Poppy was first born and Isabella was still two years old it was cheaper to go on holiday abroad, as you often don't have to pay for under two's.
  • Isabella's clothes that don't fit her are still in good condition, so now Poppy wears them.
  • Isabella could talk when Poppy was born, so she could express herself, ask for things and I had someone to talk to during those otherwise lonely early newborn weeks.
  • You can still remember (on the most part) what to do with a little baby, though it quickly feels like you've not had a break in-between.
  • Your body has had enough time to recover from the first pregnancy before you get pregnant again. I think I read somewhere that doctors recommend waiting 18 months before getting pregnant again to allow your body enough time to recover. 
  • I had finished breastfeeding Isabella before Poppy was born, so there was no overlap.
  • We can go for days out and there is often something that will appeal to both Isabella and Poppy, for instance soft play, the zoo, farm etc.
Cons
  • We had two children in nappies when Poppy was first born, which meant every day felt like a nappy changing production line!
  • It's expensive having two children in nappies.
  • It was tricky to potty train Isabella while Poppy was still a little baby, as I was often having to juggle trying to breastfeed Poppy while helping Isabella go to the toilet and then deal with any accidents.
  • To start with Isabella wasn't very good at entertaining herself, so I would be feeding Poppy while trying to play with Isabella which again was challenging. 
  • We had a newborn baby amidst the 'terrible twos', having said that Isabella's behaviour became more challenging when she turned three.
  • Just as Isabella has become more independent we are back to baby stage again.
  • Isabella was entitled to her 3 year old free childcare hours a year after Poppy was born and paying for two in nursery was seriously expensive. Having said that for that year I was on maternity leave, so we reduced her hours considerably and Poppy didn't start nursery until she was 11 months. We only ended up paying for a few months with them both in nursery when I went back to work. We were also a bit unlucky as Isabella was born three days after the summer term cut off point for the funding, so we had to wait until September for the free hours to start. 
  • I'm still not sure whether this is a pro or a con, but Isabella didn't really grasp the concept of having a little sister before Poppy arrived. We had read her books and played with dolls, but when my Dad brought her to the hospital to meet Poppy she was more interested in the presents Poppy had 'brought' her.
  •  It can be hard when Isabella wants to do Play-Doh, writing, drawing, painting etc. because Poppy also wants to get involved, but often ends up messing up what Isabella is trying to do. It's hard to find creative activities that appeal to them both at times.
Do you have more than one child? What do you think the pros and cons of your age gap are?


Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)


Helen x
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13 comments

  1. I just have the one son but now have to step daughters.

    11, 8 and 5 so exactly 3 years between them (birthdays back to back.... not great!) and it works really well. The girls 8 and 5 have a lovely relationship and the youngest is much older in her development because of this. My 11 year old has taken his big brother role very seriously and is great with them both in a different way.

    My brother and I were 2 years apart and we’ve never had a good relationship, even from very young.

    I did once turn the hose on and try to put it in his silver cross pushchair when he was first born.... could explain a lot!

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  2. My smallest gap is 2.5 years and my biggest 8 years - my ideal gap between kids was 4 years as one heads off to school, giving you one on one time with the other, but I do love the closeness of the two that had the smallest age gap

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  3. We have exactly the same age gap here! I love it and I hate it! It's like you've read my mind!

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  4. My sister and I are 18 months apart. We fought like mad but now we're really close and I think the age thing really helps.

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  5. i have 2 years, 2 months and 8 days between my boys - so very similar! At first it was really tough but a year on I love the closeness of it. I'm not sure I would have liked them any closer together though

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  6. There are lots of pros I think with a two year age gap. They are always so close I find especially with my boys.

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  7. Our boys are almost exactly 4 years apart. We were aiming for 3+ years, as I didn't want to kids in nappies or to deal with a double stroller. Luckily we had no jealousy issues, as my elder boy was actually the one pushing for another baby - he dearly wanted a sibling. It can be a bit tricky finding things to do with both of them sometimes, first the younger one was always too small for all the 3+ things, and now the older one is starting to get too old for some of our favourite playparks.

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  8. Me and my siblings are 2 and 5 years apart, mum did say she wanted us close in age so we can play together.

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  9. We have age gaps of 14 years , 8 years , 6 years. There’s pros and cons with all age gaps isn’t there

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  10. I have a 2 year gap almost to the day between my girls. It was hard at the start having 2 at home 24/7, but we adapted. Now I love it all and have no cons!

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  11. I hope we get an age gap, ha! Your girls are so cute and Isla loved that Penguin book, too.

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  12. The age gap thing can be a minefield for sure. sounds like you have everything in check though xx

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