If you already have a child and are thinking about going for the second, you may have wondered: “how long should siblings get along?” “Is there an ideal age difference?”
Leaving aside the medical criteria of waiting between pregnancies, the truth is that there is no better answer than another, and each family must decide according to their own circumstances. In this sense, there are parents who decide to have their children very close to each other, with the advantages and disadvantages that this may entail.
As the mother of a girl and a boy who are barely 17 months apart, I would like to share from my experience what are the challenges faced by parents with children with little age difference between them .
The indiscreet comments of the people
When we become parents, unsolicited opinions about parenting are often the order of the day. Any aspect or situation tends to be commented on or judged by others, and in this sense, the fact of having two children with little age difference gives “a lot of opinions”.
Among the comments you’ll probably hear most often is the “dethroned prince/princess.” Thus, phrases like “what a pity, how soon you have dethroned him!” or “poor thing, he has hardly had time to enjoy being unique!” They will stick in your heart like a dagger.
But the saying goes, “it doesn’t offend who wants to, but who can”, and although most of the time these types of comments are said without bad intentions, it doesn’t hurt to remind that person that in a home where love and respect prevail, all children occupy the same place on your throne.
See your oldest son grow up suddenly
Checking, from one day to the next, how fast your oldest child has grown is one of the first challenges you will face, and believe me when I tell you that it is also one of the most impressive.
In my experience, the last moment alone with your baby before the arrival of his little brother, and the strange feeling that comes over you when you see them together for the first time, are images that you will never forget .
It is inevitable to feel a mixture of emotions that range from fear and uncertainty when wondering if you have done well, to nostalgia caused by the passage of time, or the maximum pride of seeing your children grow up.
My advice: embrace each emotion and live it intensely .
Two babies at the same stage
However, no matter how big you suddenly see your first baby, it is still a big baby who for a while will share the stage of diapers, pacifiers, breastfeeding and baby food with his little brother .
To this stage of double purchase of many childcare articles, other phases will be added later that will also overlap related to sleep, food, play or physical and emotional development.
Going through all these stages twice can be a significant physical and emotional wear for a while. But the positive aspect of your children growing up at the same time is that you will see them enjoy and discover life together, always being one for the other.
Not knowing who to attend to when they cry at the same time
When we only have one child , it is easy to attend to his call as soon as he asks us, calm his crying, cradle him in our arms and dedicate all our time to him. But when it is no longer just one baby, but two, caring for them equally sometimes seems complicated.
Hearing your babies cry at the same time and not knowing who to attend to first breaks our souls.
It is also frustrating to be breastfeeding your baby while the older one asks you to play, or not being able to satisfy the needs of one, without feeling that you are neglecting those of the other.
But parents are not superheroes , and the sooner we realize our human nature, lower our expectations, and admit that we can’t do it all, the better we’ll feel and the better we’ll be able to act with our children.
My advice: whenever possible incorporate your older child into the daily routines of baby care , and carry as much as possible (even inside the house) to have your hands at the elder’s disposal.
Double work, but also an opportunity to encourage children’s autonomy
Homework is another of the challenges you will face if you decide to have children with little age difference. Dirty bodysuits, pajamas or bibs pile up daily, as well as the chaos of toys and stories.
Maintaining order at home on a daily basis can be a real challenge, but it is also an opportunity to encourage children’s autonomy from an early age, teaching them the importance of getting involved in household chores so that everything runs smoothly, while gaining confidence and security , and improve their self-esteem.
Double spending on certain occasions, and saving on others
Having another baby when your child is less than two years old can lead to twice the cost of items that both need at the same time, such as a stroller, car seat, crib, high chair… However, there are many other things that siblings they will be able to share and that will suppose an important saving. Such is the case of clothes, which will hardly have outgrown the eldest when his brother will be able to use them.
You will also notice an important saving in the matter of toys , because saving the first months in which the baby must play with specific toys of this stage, immediately both brothers will be equal and will share the same interests of games.
But sharing toys goes far beyond “simple” savings. It’s a wonderful way to teach them this important value, strengthen your bond, create memories of playing games together, and help break down gender stereotypes (in which case your kids are boys and girls).
It may be difficult at times, but the moments you will live will make up for it with growth
There is no doubt that the first years of raising two children who are close to each other can be difficult, challenging and exhausting on many occasions. Our patience and energy are not infinite, and it is normal to feel that our strength weakens at times.
But for your children, having a brother to lean on and play with is a true privilege, and I assure you that there will be no day when you go to sleep without feeling like the luckiest person in the world to see your children grow up with that bond. special that they will surely forge.
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