Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spacing your kids out

I was asked an interesting question and thought it would make a nice blog post!

How did I decide when to have the second baby???

I think this is a question that most parents think about pretty intensively these days seeing as how there are so many more ways to control if and when you have more children these days.

For me, I was surprised at how easy it was for me to make the final decision to stay at home with Katie. I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it Full Time for a long time but then once we got home and I started my maternity leave I found it to be incredibly easy to make the final decision to give up my pay check and stay home. Part of what made it easy for me is that my husband had just been given a very nice promotion and raise, so my paycheck wasn't going to be as sorely missed.

We have always been good at saving and we have made the decision not to buy a house for awhile, because to me, I'd rather rent and have more money every month at my disposal than have the perks of owning a house. I also have no interest in dealing with flooded basements, leaking roofs, shoveling snow or busted boilers... so for us - renting works until we figure out for sure where we want to live long term. I think the absence of a mortgage and maintenance on a house provides tons of cushion in our budget, and I'd rather have that cushion - especially since I'm not working.

Even though I made the decision to stay home with my children for now - I do fully intend to go back to work. Sometimes I miss it more than words can say and I have gone through many times when I have been severely bitter about being "stuck at home" because I miss the social outlet, control, and order that a normal job provides.

I got my masters in Human Resources before we had Katie and it's a field I fully intend to return to. I don't think I could be a housewife - I just don't have it in me. Not that I'm bashing housewives - because I fully understand how much work and effort it is to RUN A HOUSEHOLD and have kids at home, because that is truly what we do. It's just that being that we will always live in the more expensive parts of the country due to my husbands work - I just don't think we could afford for me to be home full time and I think that I would go crazy without an office job. Even if it's part time somewhere or consulting - I need to have deadlines and meetings and phone calls and emails. It's just how I am happiest.
I will be the frazzled mom going to PTA meetings, checking my blackberry and scheduling work meetings around my kids activities. Wondering why the heck I am trying to do it all, but knowing that work is something that I won't be able to give up completely.

Because I was getting the bug to go back to work as Katie was getting older and not "needing me" as much - it was either - go back to work - or have the second baby as far as I was concerned. So, we opted to have the second baby. I didn't want to put her in daycare and then go back to work for a year or less and then take off again to stay home with the next one and I fully intend to stay home with the next one for about a year - so I felt my clock was ticking in terms of being able to get back to work. I also think it will be nice to have kids close in age for a few reasons.

1) If they end up liking each other - they will be great friends - probably once they leave my house and have graduated college - but still - the potential is there
2) I wasn't looking forward to the idea of having to go back in time to sleepless nights and diapers, and breast feeding etc.... after having too much time off from that with an older child.
3) I want to go back to work - soon.
4) We happen to be in a situation where my husband works 5 minutes away (by design) so our family time is plentiful and awesome. It makes having children even more fulfilling because we can spend time together AND spend time apart and neither of us feels too frazzled because it's not like he has a long commute or anything. We can each go to the gym and not be bitter or stressed or sad because it's not overwhelming.
5) My husband and I plan to do some seriously awesome stuff once the kids are out of the house and we feel the younger we are when that happens - the more awesome our adventures together will be:)

Now, we haven't decided fully whether we are done with 2 or not. We both come from small families which makes me sad because I don't want our kids to be all alone when we are gone. So, there is always a chance I will have 1 more (only 1 more unless we have a freakish twin incident) so that I can ensure that my kids will have family to grow up with - but we are VERY far away from making that decision.

I do, however, feel that if we have a 3rd, we would like that one to be kind of close in age to the other 2 - so that there isn't a huge age gap - however I realize that getting pregnant and having children is NOT ALL SCIENCE and precision - so if we end up deciding that we REALLY REALLY want a 3rd, I am sure we will welcome it whenever it decides to make its appearance and make everything else work around that.

I have heard so many different theories on what the perfect age gap is and what the worst age gap is, etc... I truly think that there are many variables involved for making the decision that works for you. Some people space their kids out every 3 years and say it's the best thing they ever did. Some people get pregnant as soon as they physically can after having the first, and they say that's the best gap - it all depends on you, your spouse, and your situation. Just remember that the older your first child gets, the more shocking it will be to going back to infancy.

I haven't had to carry a diaper bag since November when Katie was potty trained. She has been sleeping through the night IN HER OWN ROOM for a good year now for the most part with a few teething/sickness incidents here or there. She is in bed between 7:30 - 8:00 and the rest of the night is ours until she wakes up between 6:30 and 7 in the morning. Dave and I usually trade off every other day getting up with her so the other one can sleep in until 8 if we really wanted to (and if our bodies let us)

We have only been living this luxurious sleep lifestyle for about a solid 8 months now - but let me tell you - it's gonna be an adjustment when this boy makes his appearance sometime in the next 13 days and we have to go back to nights and days being mixed and breastfeeding all the time.

But I just tell myself - he will grow up too - and someday soon we will get our luxurious sleep schedule back and we will have an amazing family to show for it and our kids will be the best of friends from day one and they will be millionaires who will take care of us when we are older as a thank you for all the sacrifices and decisions we make for them now...

How did you decide to space yours out??
Remember there are NO JUDGMENTS allowed on this page - so if it wasn't particularly a decision that you actively made- that's alright - it happens all the time:) But share your story and tell us how it turned out for you - good, bad, will you change it next time? Will there be a next time? Do you think you have the magic number for spacing it out? Do you not even think about spacing at all?
One kid only? Tell us why - we want to hear it and talk about it!!!

Happy Wednesday!


  1. I came from a family of 3 kids, Mike came from a family of 4. We always said we wanted multiple kids.

    When Jake was 6 months we were ready to try for #2 but it took a very long time and a miscarriage in between for it to happen. So now Jake is 2 3/4 and Aidan is a newborn. I'm sure if it were up to my husband, we would try again in about, say, 5 weeks lol but of course there is an adjustment time I'd like to have. and I would like to have a house before we try for #3. As far as spacing them out - I think I'm on the same page as you, Annie, in terms of having them while we're younger so we can also kind of have our lives back to ourselves a bit when we're older to do things we want to do just the two of us (travel, mostly) and I would rather have a few really tough years when they're very young and have them be close in age to grow up together.

  2. Both of my amazing boys were oppps situations. But I wouldn't have it any other way 20 months has been the best split. I never got a good night sleep because of transfering Brody into a big boy bed and shuffling him back to bed every 2 hours or so. We never got out of diapers. The only change we had was buying formula again (so expensive). Now the boys share a room and as soon as Brody wakes up he checks right in to see if Caden is still in the crib. Caden is moving a lot quicker, i think he is trying to keep up with his big brother! And as parents we are having a blast watching the milestones of both of them at the same time.

    There is no question that I want to try for a girl but I think I want to wait a few years so that she isn't as close to the boys and can have her own social life (although I am assuming that I will actually have a girl.)

  3. Since I am a fulltime working mom and day care is part of our budget we have decided to wait until later this year to try for baby number 2. This means that by the time #2 is born JC will be close to 4 and we will only have a year of double day care before JC enters school (OMG). We also wanted to make it easy on my dad who helps watch JC on days he is not in day care. Having JC fully potty trained and more independent will be a need if my dad has to watch both kids. There is also hope that Gene's mom will be living in SC fulltime by the time #2 arrives, again offering us that extra hand. If Gene had it his way I think he would stick with one child just to avoid all the financial and day care stuggle. I however think it is essential to have more than 1, actually 3 would be nice but I think 2 is as far as we'll make it.

  4. Mine are 13.5 months apart and I have to say that I love it. I wanted my kids close together - never thinking that James would happen that fast but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. I struggled a bit right when J was born, I felt like those first few weeks I was 'neglecting' Bryden and I missed her. I kept wondering if I was making her grow up too quickly (she went from being referred to as 'the baby' to Bryden). But as time went on and we figured Jamesy out (his schedule, his sleeping, his routine in general) I was able to really enjoy having two babies. And while they don't really play yet Bryden is starting to love making James smile, which is not that hard considering he lights up every time she walks in the room. We never got out of the diaper phase so no change there and my kids are great sleepers (Bryden started 12 hours at 6 weeks, James at 8 weeks) so we're getting up for the occasional teething, or sickness, but nothing too crazy on that end either. I definitely see another one in the future (maybe two) and I'd like them to be close in age to James. No real idea of how close quite yet but I know when I'm ready I'll be excited. I think no matter how you slice it, close together, far apart, each child is such a blessing and such a joy that you cannot go wrong!

  5. My children are 5 (Lydia),1 (Baye) & expecting 7/2011. I wanted them to be close but not too far apart, my perfect would have been about 2 years apart (give or take). Since there were 2 miscarriages in between the two 4 years apart is what had happen. I can already see the advantages of the Baye and the 3rd being so close together (18 months). Lydia had a difficult time with the Baye's arrival and had moments where she was not so sure about the 3rd. Now that Baye is able to play with her more it is a little better. The advantage of having them spaced out was that Lydia was pretty self sufficient and was my "little helper".