Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Perfect Space

I graduated from college in 2001. Between 2001-2006, the majority of my friends got married. Between 2006- 2009, most of those same friends had their first baby. I can honestly say that 2010 was the first year I didn't spend a considerable number of weekends attending bridal or baby showers. Life seems to have slowed down a bit in my circle of friends...for the moment anyway.

Now the focus seems to be on child spacing. What is the perfect space between children? Two years? Four years? Among my friends there is one couple who spaced their children 11 months apart and, although difficult in the beginning, it has worked out well for them. Another couple is purposely waiting five years before even thinking about having another child and wouldn't have it any other way. So what's a couple to do?

I am pretty sure that Rob and I had the "baby discussion" long before we were even dating. We were close friends throughout college and spent a lot of time together. Because I can't think of a single topic we didn't discuss, I am positive that babies and children had to have come up at some point. He comes from two and I come from four so we settled on three. We are 2/3 of the way there! We decided to try to space them two years apart both because we wanted them close enough to grow up together and because I wanted to be finished having kids by age 35. Our boys are 2 years and 3 months apart so we are on track so far. :)

Obviously there are positives and negatives to having children close together as well as spacing them many years apart. I've heard all the reasons but I've never taken the time to write anything down. As you know from previous posts, lists are my specialty. :) I am a planner and enjoy seeing things neatly arranged in front of me. So here goes...

Benefits to Closely Spacing Your Children:

-They can share toys, games, movies, music, etc... and will most likely be interested in the types of things at the same time.

-Because of their similiar interests, there is a good chance they will become natural playmates.

-You will be able to put them on the same schedule- eat at the same time, nap at the same time, go to school at the same time, etc...

-The older one will be too young to know what jealousy is.

-The older one will not remember life without his/her sibling so there will be no issues of "only child syndrome" to tackle.

-You can reuse baby gear (carseats, swings, high chairs, bouncers, carriers, etc) because the safety standards will not change that much such a short period of time.

-As one child ends a phase, the next will begin it. Since you're already in the trenches, you might as well stay there! ;)

Benefits to Spacing Children Further Apart:

-You will have time to get to know and enjoy one child before you have another.

-You will be able to get your body back (for a while anyway) before you get pregnant again.

-The older child will be able to help out (bring you a diaper, entertain the baby while you shower, put the pacifier back in the baby's mouth, etc...)

-You will have time to rediscover yourself and your interests before becoming absorbed once again with a newborn.

-The older child will be somewhat independent and able to entertain himself/herself when you need to tend to the baby.

-You will have taken a breather from babyhood for a while and may be able to start again with a fresh outlook as well as the knowledge of what works and what doesn't.

-You will never have to worry about having two in diapers at the same time! :)

A quote from http://www.growingafamily.com/ nicely sums up what I would like to say to all of my friends who are struggling with the topic of child spacing: "It all works out in the end. Parents tend to advocate whatever age gap their kids end up with, finding it hard to imagine life any other way. So don't worry; you'll enjoy benefits no matter when your second child arrives and probably feel the timing was just right."

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