I never thought I’ll join the Motherhood Club early. I also never thought that I’ll have two kids by the time I’m 25. Plus, the second one was unplanned so when I found out I am pregnant for the second time, I just cried.
Obviously, child spacing wasn’t part of my vocabulary. I’m just learning, discovering, and going through motherhood phase with my firstborn and handling another baby – a newborn, to be exact – was overwhelming. After all, they are 18 months apart.
Then again, there are good sides to it.
When the second baby came, I already know what to do and what to expect. Even if every kid is different and comes with varying needs, at least I have an idea on what every cry meant, how to establish sleep schedule, how to give a bath or cut nails, and even master the art of eating using one hand.
Having a second baby that is close to the firstborn made me more efficient because I was able to establish a routine. I worked around my kids’ schedules and inserted some quiet moments for myself. When I enrolled my eldest in play class, I looked for activities or classes with same schedule where my youngest can join. This made it easier for me to handle them and at the same time, raise them. As the saying goes, it’s hitting two birds with one stone.
There’s more than that. Since the age gap between my kids are close, they are closer. Despite the mess they create, my girls are instant playmates and best friends. Surprisingly, my eldest was not bothered that much with the arrival of the new baby since she was too young to understand the situation. I just make sure that I give equal attention to both of them so my eldest won’t feel that she is not loved.
Aside from this, close age gap has economic benefits, too, at least in some aspects. I didn’t have to worry about getting another crib or stroller since the second child can use it already. My eldest have tons of clothes she outgrew, most were worn once, which the youngest benefitted from.
You might say that raising kids with close age gap means double everything. That’s true. In my experience, I just focused on the long run. I potty-trained them together so I was able to remove diaper on our grocery list. Both weaned from milk almost at the same time, so I was able to slash a big chunk from our grocery budget. Toys can be shared so I don’t have to buy something for them separately.
Despite the benefits, there are disadvantages if child spacing is not done properly.
First, it took a toll in my body. I wanted VBAC after my first pregnancy but since my kids are 18 months apart, my OB strongly advised scheduled CS. Even if the outside looks healed, it’s what we cannot see that she’s worried about. Plus, I bled a lot when I gave birth to my second child so yes, lesson learned.
Thankfully, my health was not compromised. The lack of proper child spacing could negatively affect the mother’s health but in my case, I just watched what I eat, take my vitamins, and exercised.
There’s also a risk of the second child having low birth weight or born prematurely but thankfully, mine was healthy. She was smaller compared to her ate but I guess, 6.5 lbs is not bad, right?
Sure, I know what to do and what to expect but raising two kids with close age gap is a lot of work. Kids have different needs and demands, and both demand attention from Mommy. I was able to get through the day but instead of enjoying the moment, I was merely surviving. I couldn’t wait to turn the lights off and get that much needed peace and quiet. Of course, things got better over time but the first few months were exhausting. Then again, at least isang hirap na lang.
While I was able to save few thousands on some baby times, close age gap also means double (or triple!) of everything – milk, diaper, toys, and even helpers. To be honest, mabigat din sa bulsa.
Tips On Raising Kids With Close Age Gap
- Ask help. Trust me, you will need plenty of those. I was fortunate enough to live near my parents and getting a yaya wasn’t much of an issue that time. At least I have extra hands to help me with chores and taking care of the baby.
- Routine is key. Going through a routine could be boring at times, but it made it easier for me to adjust to our lifestyle. Of course, there will be changes as the kids get bigger but nevertheless, having a schedule will make managing kids less stressful.
- Hit two birds with one stone. To make things easier, I introduced activities where both kids could benefit from. Most of the time, we watch the same shows and play with the same toys. When I started teaching my eldest how to write, I also familiarized my youngest with the concept of pen and paper. As they get older, they did a lot of activities together.
- Then, have some one-on-one. I became more mindful when I had two kids. I always want to make sure that both of them get equal attention. Now that they are a little bit older, I spend time with them separately so no one will not feel left out.
- Schedule ME time. This is a must. I went through depression after giving birth to my second child and it took a toll in our marriage. Slowly, I started to lose myself and it even came to a point where I questioned the life I chose to live. It took a while but I didn’t let these emotions consume me. I started to focus on myself again and attend to my needs. I took some time off, even for a few hours, to help me recharge. After all, how do you expect me to be the best that I can be as a mom if I can’t even look after myself, right?
Still, at the end of the day, it all boils down to you and your partner. Talk about it and see whether or not you are ready to have another baby again. Make sure you are prepared for it because adding one more in the brood requires a lot of hard work.
As for me, having two kids with close age gap made me realize how big my heart could get. I was having apprehensions and concerns before but with everyone’s help, I got by.
Fast forward today, I already have two little dalagas I could bring wherever I go – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.