How Close To Space Your Kids
Updated: Jul 13, 2019
As a parenting professional, I am in about a million parenting groups online and I see the question of family planning come up almost every day. People want to know the best way to space their kids, the best way to make sure they are in control of when and how many kids they have, the best number of kids to have, and everything else you can think of when it comes to engineering the perfect family. If you've followed me for any time at all, you probably can already guess that my response to all of these kinds of things is the usual combination of 'there's no right answer' and 'you're never in control no matter what you'd like to think!' You've heard it all before from me, right? Well for this week's blogpost I'm not going to tell you any of that philosophical stuff (tune into this week's broadcasts if you want a little of that!), but rather I'm just going to tell you what I've learned is the perfect answer to those questions for me personally.
My 4 kids are spaced 2, 2, and 5 years apart and I realized too late that I didn't care for that spacing at all! My first seemed sooooo grown up to me when I got pregnant with #2, even though he was still only 14 months old (oh how naive I was!). I ran head first into having 2 kids under 2 and that was NO fun! Don't ask me how I wound up doing it again with #3. The universe is a cruel mistress sometimes. What I learned from the 2 year spacing: 2-year olds are kind of still babies in a lot of ways and I was dealing with diapers and helpless stinkbugs at every turn. It was isolating and overwhelming for 6 years straight. I look back on that time with amazement...that we all survived!
As my kids grew I learned a second thing: there is a BIG difference between a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old. 3 year olds are a pain in the a$$, for sure, but they are also potty trained (usually), capable of following simple verbal directives, and can even be helpful sometimes. I came to believe (and have since seen lots of evidence to support this belief) that 3 years apart seems to be as close to perfect as we get in this imperfect world. There are also loads of things to think about that make 3 years seem ideal to me, like sibling rivalry, financial and school considerations, etc. but to be honest, the main reason most of my clients love the 3 year spacing is that the day-to-day logistics are SO much easier than when the spacing is closer together.
Of course we know the truth is that life happens and we rarely get to engineer our perfect circumstances, so if you are navigating motherhood with kids super close in age, or with a big gap, or surprise babies, or any of the other curveballs life likes to throw at us, know that you are the norm, not the exception, and that it all can be done well and wonderfully. Look at me - I have given you a number to answer the perfect spacing question, but not 1 of my 4 kids fit that mold!!!
This week I'll be talking about family planning in the group. Spacing, birth control, how many kids, etc. Tune in and share your thoughts!