Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Age Gap Advantages


Okay, fine, so it’s not all terrible having the kids spaced out as much as we do.  I don’t think we would have necessarily planned our family to be this way but then again we didn’t do any sort of traditional family planning. Sure, we did a little bit of planning--we had two kids and then Daddy-O had a vasectomy. (And oh, what accolades there were for a twenty-eight year old man making that choice! “Such a good man!” so many people commented. Others were concerned, “Are you sure you want to do that? You’re so young yet!” We were surprised so many people would have so much to say about our decision. Silly us, we forgot our reproductive choices were everybody else’s business. Silly them, they thought the vasectomy would mean we’d have no more kids.)

But if we had done any real planning, no, I don’t think I’d have chosen to have kids ten years apart. Like I wrote about last week (http://www.sisterserendip.com/2013/10/do-you-think-youll-have-more-or-are-you.html) sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in the never-ending vortex of raising very small children—a whirlpool of constantly wiping someone else’s ass or nose while perpetually cooking and washing things.  (And to think my oldest and youngest sisters were fourteen years apart—yikes Mom!) Sometimes I think it’d be nice to move on from small child land already and I grumble at the limits our family size and ages place on me.

But I also work around them—or work with them I guess you could say. I used to worry that I poured all of myself into my oldest two and that there was going to be nothing left for the younger three. I felt guilty that I never did any Mommy & Infant type classes with them. But I had to realize that my oldest also never had a gaggle of older siblings around and I never felt guilty about that. So while my youngest never did infant massage with me she did have loving older siblings (sort of) gently cradle her and feed her a bottle while I was making dinner. 

Back when I was getting into the groove of having five kids I felt badly about how little I was reading to the younger kids until it occurred to me that the older kids could do it. I pay them one marble per book* and they actually enjoy it, even using different voices for different characters. I know the little kids enjoy it too. Older siblings not only antagonize the younger ones (oh and they do), they also encourage and inspire them as well as occasionally help us to teach them (http://www.sisterserendip.com/2013/04/teach-rinse-repeat.html)

I try to make sure I am never asking too much of the older kids. I also make sure they get some special older kid treats and I always thank them for their help. (For the record, I have also done some bribing with candy. Hey, sometimes if Daddy-O is away on a school night, bedtime can get a little unruly.)

There are other advantages to having my kids spaced out the way they are. True, I’m the “old Mom” at preschool these days but I’m also the experienced Mom that can help the newbies figure out how we do preschool holiday parties or potty training. We’re only getting more and more experience on this whole parenting thing so hopefully by the time our youngest is a teenager there won’t be any surprises she can throw our way (hahahahaha).

Some of friends with kids only our older kids ages are beginning to lament not having young ones around anymore. Their homes are not overflowing with craft projects like they used to be. So while I’m currently drowning in them, I do know I will miss them one day. My friends’ big kids might not want to do things like go pumpkin picking with them anymore. Because our younger kids are so cute and enthusiastic, our older kids (as of yet) still like participating in these kinds of family outings. They feel special and important when the littlest ones want THEM for a hug or to be carried by. (So you can be sure we're going to milk that as long as we can.)

I know that one day my youngest will be teenagers and not wanting to make paintings for me or take bike rides to the park with us. But that’s okay because one of the biggest advantages to having my kids spread out like this means right about the time I’ll be missing all that chaos and activities, I could potentially be starting to get some grandkids. Maybe this ten year age gap was a good idea after all.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for reminding me to enjoy the chaos. xx a

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  2. We have so many life times, in this life time . Our Growing and watching our parents freak out over our growing . Our lifetime leaving the nest. Getting married, having a family watching the process continue.I have been thru these stages and have moved on to see my wonderful children grow in to great human beings. There is a flow that we can know and trust . The force is with us ,trust the force. Arh Stars War. Truth in Fiction.
    Peace

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