Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Big Age Gaps...The Pros and Cons

Having my kids all together at the weekend really made me think about the age gap between my children.  Freddy is 2 1/2 years old.  Kizzy is 9, Ella is almost 16, Megan is 20 and Joe is 23.  With each subsequent baby, my age gaps just kept getting bigger.  This has resulted in a 20+ year age gap between oldest and youngest.  This makes our family dynamic quite interesting!

As with anything, there are pros and cons to any situation.  I never had two babies in nappies to contend with.  I never had a newly potty trained toddler regress at the birth of a sibling.  Nor did I ever have two similarly aged tots vie for my undivided attention resulting in squabbles and screaming.  I've been able to give  undivided attention to each new baby, without having to juggle demanding tots with newborns. Most major developmental milestones have been reached before having to start all over again with the next new addition to the family.  Although of course this means dragging out the years spent dealing with nappies, breastfeeding, bed sharing and buggies!

Holidays and days out have been incredibly difficult over the years with such differing needs to be catered for.  Booking a hotel has been a nightmare with older children counting as adults and requiring their own rooms.  Free child places for 2 adults and 2 children under 7 have never quite worked for us.  Things like the cinema and theme parks have seen our family have to divide into two groups, with either Ian or me 'babysitting' while the other one goes off with the older kids.  Pitching events to appeal to all members of our family has not been easy, making sure that there is suitable entertainment for the big kids alongside engaging activities for the little ones.  The years of  intense parenting and school runs stretches out in front of me.  I've done 19 years of being a mum to a school age child and have a further 16 years ahead until Freddy leaves compulsory education!  35 years of school runs!!  Next year when Fred starts nursery I'll have three kids in three completely different schools...logistical nightmare!

Saying that though, having older children has meant I have always had willing and competent helpers on hand.  New siblings have been born into a loving family of children old enough to really take on the role of a care giver.  This has enriched the lives of the younger two children no end.  The older children are huge sources of support for me in all areas of my life.  With them moving home and starting their own adult lives, our relationship has changed and evolved.  I love having them there to talk to about family problems and get their opinion on things.  They are such great role models for the younger children.  If ever things get tough with the younger kids, I can look at the older two, successful products of my parenting,  and know that it will all work out OK in the end!

Freddy 2
Kizzy 9
Ella 16
Megan 20
Joseph 23
I have been there and done that...I've been through every stage of motherhood at least once...I've weaned five babies, potty trained five toddlers, seen four children through Infant School, seen three through secondary school and had two leave home!  Soon I'll be entering a whole new phase of my life, as my eldest son and his girlfriend discuss marriage and babies.  Joe will be an amazing dad.  My youngest could be an uncle before he starts school!  I'll be a Nana and still have a child under five!

Sometimes it creates confusion having tots and teens at the same time.  When Fred was a tiny baby, me and Meg went shopping together.  She was pushing the pushchair and someone approached us saying that they could tell where Freddy got his good looks from.  I basked in the glory for all of two seconds before they said "Of course, grandma is good looking too!"  Oh the shame!  Similarly Ella has been tutted at by old people who mutter about teen mums when she is looking after Freddy on her own.  The girls are all so maternal over their little brother, I know they will, in the future, be great mums themselves.  They have had hands on experience with all the responsibilities that come with having a baby.  When I had Joe, I'd had hardly any experience with babies.  It was all new to me and rather daunting.  I'm glad my girls will not feel that way.

Some might say that I've 'missed out' on my carefree twenties and have never got to enjoy any personal freedom because I've always had at least one little one to take care of.  I have pencilled in some "me time" when I'm 58!!  I just hope I've got the energy to do all the things that have been put on hold.  One thing's for sure though, I feel utterly blessed and after everything is taken into account, I wouldn't have my family any other way!


  1. me and my siblings have a age gap, 19yrs between me and my sister and 14yrs between me and my brother. i love it because i get my mom and dads full attension (selfish of me i know) and they have moved out so i had 2 bedroom when i was younger :) x

  2. As you say, there are pros and cons to it same as most other things. You know I started my family life a lot later on in life but I don't regret it...nor would I have regretted it if I'd started at a young age. I think you and your family are wonderful and so loving and happy xx

  3. Sarah aka MOIxxx14 March 2012 at 19:13

    Wow I think I have an age gap with just 5 years between my two - thanks for the reminder that it is nothing in comparison. I love what you say about e loving family being the most important thing.

  4. I think there are pros and cons each way, but your family are gorgeous and wonderful and a real credit to you. There is 15 months between my boys, but iy took ten years to get the first, so no complaints from me!

  5. You and me are pretty awesome to have raised 9 children between us aged from 23 years to 1 year and as you say have been there and done that 9 times over but still learning even now. Give me a big age gap any day! Multi Generational families rock xx

  6. Ahhh a lovely read! I had 6 kids in a very short time!!!!! My first son was 9 months old when I delivered premature triplet boys - unfortunately one survived. Then 12 1/2 months later I delivered my first daughter, then 18 months later, another daughter! So I have an 8 yr old, 7 yr old, 6 yr old and 4 year old at the mo - my youngest turns 5 in July so I'll have a 8,7,6,and 5 year old! It was manic in the beginning as it cost a fortune buying nappies, wipes etc, but when I see them playing so well together and attending the same school I am really happy I had them close. The pregnancies did take a toll on my body but I weigh less now than what I did before having my first and don't have a single stretchmark! My first was the only natural as the triplets was an emergency c-section, then my two girls were both breach - so c-sections too. After 3 c-sections and 6 babies - I AM DONE!!!! I am enjoing being a mum more now as they are all toilet trained and off to school!

  7. OMG Wendy 35 years of school runs! That is some feat!! Matt's children are very similar in ages to yours ranging from 22 down to 3, with the eldest engaged to be married....I wonder if me or you will be Grandma first!!!

  8. I had to giggle at the 35 years of School runs! This is a lovely post and lovely photos. You have gorgeous children. I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way of doing it and you are obviously very happy and lucky to have such a lovely family xx

  9. You are amazing! Me and my brother have a ten year age gap.

  10. What an amazing blog - you have always been a great Mum and your family unit is fantastic. I applaud you and your family for being so close and loving - I am sure the family know without exception that you and Ian are always there for them, whatever the situation.

  11. You have some amazing kids there and are an amazing mum. I don't think you have missed out on a single thing. I think you have done exactly what you were supposed to. x

  12. Family plays vital role in every person's life. Your family is unique and fantastic. I like all pix of your child. Its amazing post. You have done great job!!

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  13. What a great post. My youngest is nearly 3 and my oldest 16 this year (with a 4 and 8 year old inbetween) and I definitely found the larger gaps better.

  14. Wow! What am interesting perspective your family has given you! I'd always planned to have a small age gap but my body seems to be disagreeing with the "plan" and actually reading posts like this, I'm getting sold on larger gaps!



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