Meet Shelley, a mum of two boys who are 15 months apart.
Shelley is a friend of mine, we met via the internet and we are spirit animals. Everything about her makes my heart sing (woah tone it down a notch Rebecca!) but seriously she is an amazing person, mum and I think she would be a great partner haha. She taps into my inner, hippy, gypsy and healthy being I basically love her and I know you will to.
Our family of four is made up of my husband, Corey who is a tiler, played Ice Hockey for New Zealand for 13 years and is now in the process of becoming a police officer (snap Jared). Me, well I have a bachelor of business studies, travelled for a while and now stay at home looking after our two boys. And our two little monkeys, Mason(2) and Beau(1) who are 15 months apart.
Now that last part, the 15 months apart thing, that usually stops people in their tracks. But when they hear it was planned, its followed with the usual “Are you crazy?”. Corey and I always wanted twins, who knows why, but obviously that didn’t work so we went to the next best thing, a super small age gap. I grew up with a family that had 3 boys all around a year apart and they are best friends, I wanted that for my boys. (I’ve always known since I was a kid that I would only have boys, don’t ask me, it was just a gypsy premonition).
So why have kids close? Economically having kids close is smart, you condense the time you stay at home, so they are in school quicker and walahhh your back earning cash money. Your baby stuff isn’t out of date and you aren’t out of ‘newborn’ practice. Plus they are still tiny cute babies when you get pregnant so they haven’t turned into monster toddlers and make you want to sew up your vagina all together, and by the time they get to that age it’s too late, the new addition is nearly here!
That is what a smart person would think. I am not smart, nor do I think rationally. The reason we wanted kids close together was probably the exact reason why everybody doesn’t want them close. We wanted the crazy, we wanted two kids running around causing trouble together, getting into mischief, rumbling, screaming, egging each other on, being tiny tyrants. And may I say our wish was granted, tenfold.
I suppose the most important factor in this whole story is my attitude and approach to parenting and life in general is EXTREMELY relaxed. So what to some would seem like absolute carnage, I just laugh along with, go with the flow and love the chaos! In any given week we have had drawing on the wall, a child goes missing, there is something ALWAYS shoved down the toilet, one has a bump or bruise from falling off something and every Friday I am always celebrating survival at its finest with a glass of wine! If you follow me on snap chat you will be like ahhhhh you are really not convincing us of the small age gap haaaa!
So I suppose le’ts go back to the start and I can weigh in on the pros/cons at each age and stage.
The first 6 months, well Mason had not long turned one so it wasn’t that foreign to me having a new born again. We didn’t have to go through the jealousy phase as Mase was too young to really comprehend that. He was just like ahhh we have a new baby living here, ok cool. I didn’t have to worry about kindy or school runs because Mason hung out at home with us. Beau became a pretty efficient feeder because he knew if he didn’t eat fast, chances are his brother would have climbed on top of something and his feed would be cut short.
When you have kids close together it is important to note you just don’t get that time to recover, they usually sleep at different times and if your new born has a shit night, your toddler gives zero fucks. There also isn’t any spare time to sit around and watch your new born sleep and worry if it’s still breathing or not. Also those tiny, tiny milestones that you celebrated so dearly with your first and thought everything was such a big deal, well yea that goes out the window. Beau crawled at 5 months, yes 5 months and he did not receive the medal ceremony that Mason got when the lazy bugger started crawling at 7 months. We barely noticed until it was like ahhh how did you get out the lounge, down the hall and find me in the bathroom having 30 seconds to myself?
6months-year: Ahhhh the moving phase. When you thought you had it all sorted and this small age gap was a breeze, they then start moving in different directions, fuck. The word ‘busy’ took on a whole new meaning. When kids first start to be mobile, they never want to be held. And as we spend majority of our day’s outdoors there were definitely some interesting decisions being made at the park, “who do I run to first, the toddler that’s about to jump off the side of the two story climbing frame or the baby that’s crawling towards the car park at rapid speed?”. When you have two kids that have little fear things start to get a bit crazy! But this age is also when they start interacting and bonding on a whole other level. They could then follow each other around, play with the same kind of toys and explore together. From this age on they will forever have a best friend to learn with.
My Mum tip for this age is make them sleep at the same time together, otherwise you will loose your shit. Like just their big sleep, make it together. At 9 months I cut Beau down to one big day sleep, so they would both sleep for 2 hour’s midday. This was my saving grace!
So right now Beau is 16 months and Mason 2 and a half. Do I have moments of what the fuck were we thinking? To tell you the truth, never. They work together to absolutely destroy the house on a daily basis, they follow each other around like Siamese twins and constantly rumble, our house is NEVER quiet, life is hectic from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep and I absolutely love it! If you are having kids close together my main advice is to not fight the flow of the river, go with it and you will love the journey so much more. Find the funny, embrace the crazy, don’t have expectations, do what you need to do to survive!
Is there a perfect age gap? Absolutely not. It’s such a personal preference. Whether you want to bang them out like bullets, or take your sweet time enjoying each individually, the decision is completely your own. There is no magic secret, no miracle age gap that makes it easier or harder in the long run. So let’s do the next logical move and listen to our sassy ‘Project Runner’ inspirational mentor Tim Gunn and “Make it work!”
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