Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blessings of closely spaced children

For those of you who might wonder after reading the title of this post, no, I'm not pregnant again. Yet (*smile and wink*). But you never know how soon it might happen, right?! People often talk about the difficulties and challenges (very real, I know) of having two babies close together, but rarely about the blessings of it.

I don't want to sound like I'm dismissing the difficulties of those who have several young children, as I certainly don't know anything about it yet because I just have one baby for now - I can only imagine. But I refuse to believe it would be as terrible as some tell me. After all, before Shira was born people told me about all the horrors I would experience in the first months of motherhood, and I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what they meant. There are difficulties, adjustments, yes, but it's all a part of life and the joys are so much more obvious.

I'm being entirely honest here, without trying to gloss things over. Yes, we have our share of sleep deprivation and trying to cook dinner with a fussy, crying baby in the background (as well as times of no dinner at all) but we are so happy, and treasure each day with our little sweetheart.

And so I remembered a wonderful comment one of my visitors, Mrs. R, left not long ago here on the blog, and decided to dig it up for all of us to enjoy all over again.

"Blessings of very closely spaced children (not by any means an exhaustive list!):

1) those children will likely have a very close relationship

2) they will both grow into your helpers nearly at the same time

3) their training will be fairly similar, not exact of course, but very similar due to their closeness in age

4) your organizing skills will be honed

5) many times the training that you would have waited to start will be started in the first child out of necessity, thereby teaching that child to work (and we are to work 6 days!!). Many times children are capable of doing muchmore than we parents think they are able to!

6) you & your husband will be put to the test in training obedience from #1 sooner than many parents think that training should be started, resulting in a well trained, obedient child who will be a blessing to her mother and father. I liken it to getting to the essentials EARLY!

7) your creative skills will be stratched and honed in finding ways to keep #1 creatively busy while you are unavailable with #2

8) your trust in the Lord will increase as you rely on His provision for your time, sleep, health, etc.

9) your love for your husband will increase, just as it did when little Shira was born

10) (for levity) just think of how much good use you will actually get out of all those nearly new newborn things!!"

Don't you just love this list? I know I do. If we're blessed with another child soon, I will surely want to keep this within easy reach.


Anonymous said...

I spaced my first two close together because I was told they 'would be close buddies'.
I have to say, all my others are quite close, but these two are just at odds 24/7....the tension between them is crazy.
I've noticed this in other families. I think it usually happens with the first two who are close together...it seems to be different with subsequent kids.

Look at other families and note if the first two kids are close to one another. I've found that after early childhood, they usually are not, if they are of the same gender and spaced less than two years apart. Of course in adulthood they may come closer, but there's usually not too much love lost there in childhood.

It is fun though to have the kids be in the same age group, so activities can be geared to both at once. Your organization skills are honed. The baby clothes are put to great use. I don't like the word 'train' (it always reminds me of dog training) but I guess you do educate them simultaneously in a way. But because each child is so different, soon you focus on different areas anyway.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you are pointing out the blessings and joy of marriage and children. Like you said so many people focus on the trials and negatives instead of the wonderful and amazing things!

MamaF said...

Dear Anna,
my 4 kids were born in 3 years 10 months. My oldest was 2 when twins were born, twins are 1 minute apart ;) and when the last one was born twins were only one year and half. I never regretted my choice, to see them grow together and being each other's playmate and schoolmate is the biggest gift i could get( i'm an only child of a single mother, always suffered for this ).
I'd love to have more babies, but so far it didn't happen.But God knows what is better for us so if and when they'll arrive it will be just the right moment.

Jaime said...

My kids are 20 months apart, so not as close together as some.... but I can vouch for every item on that list! :)

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

To which I can say a hearty amen!

We had 3 children in the space of one year (second set twins!) I would be lying if I said it was easy. It wasn't at first. But the dividends you speak of are enormous.

You know that my big girls are in school. One thing that I would want to add even though it won't apply to many of your readers. They (all 3 girls) are a built in peer group. They are so close together that our very strict rules about how time is spent outside of school barely causes a fuss among THREE TEENAGE GIRLS. They simply don't miss their peers. Peer dependency is nonexeistent among our kids. Also, because they're in the same school togehter most of the time (except when the oldest moves ahead first), they keep each other accountable for their bahavior.

Since the younger set will be homeschooled, I'm looking forward to seeing the differences on that front.

The truth is Anna, that the difficult part lasts only for about the first two years, but the blessings go on for the rest of those children's lives.

We are thankful that not only are our first three children close together, but also our youngest two as well.

I am personally 6 years younger than my next oldest sibling (brother) and 13 years behind my next oldest sister. I think closer is better.

mamajuliana said...

My closely spaced babies are soon to be 19 and 18! Their brother would have been 20 this year! The first two we 12 months apart and the third was 10 months younger than his sister.

Yes, it was tough at times, but I wouldn't have traded all of those times for anything!!!!

We got lots of use from all those baby things. They were definitely worn out by the end of toddler years!

The only bad part is that they will all be leaving our nest at around the same time. :o(

Kelli said...

Hi Anna,
Grace and Emily were 16 months apart and Emily and Benjamin were 19 months apart. I loved it then and I love it now! :0)

Heather Tucker said...

Anna, it IS a blessing to have children so close together! By the time I was 23, I had 4 children--born 1989, 1991, 1992 and1994. When I look back, it was truly easier to raise them when they were so close in age. I now also have a sweet little girl who "surprised" us, being born in 2006. It is almost as if she is an only child, but it just means God has a special plan and purpose for her :D

When I first read the title of your post, I got all excited for you thinking you were expecting again LOL!

Stam House said...

Great post my dear!!!!

Our little blessing are close in age Rebekah is 2 now and Sarah is 6 months and we are praying that God will bless us again in His timing but we would like that to be soon :-)

Indeed their is time when I scratch my head and think why in the world I wanted our children close
But most of the time I'm just thanking God for what a blessing our little girls are!

I bonus for us is the our eldest entertains our youngest (that in itself is a huge blessing)


Karen said...

It may be fun for the mother to walk around with a bunch of small children at first, but it can be very difficult on the children when they are closely spaced. Children need more as they get older and they do start to notice if there is not enough time and money for them. My mother had three kids in five years and I would not recommend it to anyone. I was the oldest and too much responsibility was forced on me at too young an age out of necessity. Money was always tight and the house was often cold. Food was limited in variey and amount at times. As for parents being closer because of closely spaced children, that just is not the case. The husband has to work even harder at even longer hours to pay for it all and they become resentful at paying for kids they never see. Money becomes a huge issue with so much to pay for. I honestly have never seen anyone with three or more children closely spaced do it well on any level.

I think it is nice you want to have a lot of children, but things do get harder with each one. I've got two and one is in braces, which are necessary and cost thousands of dollars. My second child will need them as well. I cannot imagine having to pay for both at the same time. It is far easier to care for each child properly when you have enough time and money, which just is not there for most people with a number of closely spaced children.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I was intimidated when I found out I was pregnant with #2 when #1 was only 5 months old. I needn't have worried! They were so close in age that they did everything together: feedings, nap times, bed times, bath times. As small children, they were very close and good friends.
I found that I actually had two breaks a day when they went down for late morning and afternoon naps!
How I miss those days! #1 is now a 13 year old young lady and #2 is a near 12 year old young man.
Enjoy your beautiful baby; the days may be long, but the years are short!
Jen in OK

Anonymous said...

Those are very, very true. :)

And I would know; I have a 3yo, a 20mo, and a 4mo. :) I love them to bits! They are stretching me and growing me in ways having just one wouldn't. There is always something new to pray about.

I do think it helps being "forced" to start early. At least for me, I probably wouldn't have otherwise. At the time I even felt a bit bad for my children, being "forced" to learn how to be enjoyable rather than wallowing in themselves - but in the end I'm very, very happy that I started young, and they really don't seem worse for it!


Marmee said...

I would have loved to have children close together, but my body did not cooperate! ;o( I did end up with two boys 20 months apart and then another girl after 5 years of trying. We then started to add to our family through adoption and did those as quickly as possible (financially anyway!) We now have girls at home that are 12, 9, 6 and 3. The 12 year old and 9 year old study together, work together and play together. The 6 and 3 year old do the same. I wish they were closer together, but I took what the Lord provided and we are very happy!

Anonymous said...

I heartily agree with Mrs. R's list. I have four who are 5 (just a few weeks ago) and while it does present it's challenges at times, it has been the best blessing I could imagine. All the things that Res. R said about organization and training and obedience are so true. When we take our littles out we often get the first glance and look of, "oh no! Not that many children! My day is ruined!" But often those same people will come and give us complements on our children and family afterwords. Praise that Lord that it is not my or my husbands doing, but the grace of our Lord that has gifted us with such a great blessing.

Mrs. A

Mandi said...

I agree with much of this list. My two boys are 11 months apart and while the first two years were challenging (pregnant and taking care of a baby is tough as was a newborn and a one year old) this year has been such fun. They are not quite 2 & 1/2 and 1 & 1/2 and are such fun together and both learning so much. And we did get lots of use out of all those baby clothes...

Mary said...

We were blessed with 6 children (and two who are in heaven). Our first two were 19 months apart and our last two were 19 months apart. I found that the closeness in their ages made things very easy, not more difficult. The older "baby" accepts the next child very easily since he or she hasn't spent years being the center of attention. Within a few months of the younger child's birth they are sweetly interacting with each other and tend to keep each other entertained. The only time that I found difficult during our child raising years was when I had four children within our first 6 years of marriage. Our fourth was a less "placid" baby and I think, looking back, that I may have been somewhat anemic after his birth. None of the other children were yet old enough to be a substancial help and I sometimes felt very overwhelmed. By the time I had my 5th and 6th babies, our two older daughters were old enough to be very helpful and I was able to get more rest and enjoy those precious baby days that are gone so quickly. Looking back, I think that I failed to convey to my doctor how VERY tired I was after the birth of our 4th. Another possibility at that time would have been for me to hire a 12 or 13 year old girl as a "mother's helper" for an hour or two after school to help me. One of my daughters did that while she had to stay on bed rest during one of her pregnancies, since she lives far away from family. It was not expensive and gave her another pair of hands. Her "helper" filled the role that an older daughter would have filled. She ran the vacuum, did laundry and dishes and generally straightened up the house. Looking back,I think that I needed to have asked G-d for wisdom when I felt so tired and that He would have given me some solutions. Today our children are all grown and married and I am SO very glad that I had a large family. We are very blessed and rejoice in having 31 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Blessings to you and your dear husbband and daughter,

Love Abounds At Home said...

Two of my children are 1 year and 9 days apart. They are 18 & 19 now. They are so close.
I loved it when they were babies. My favorite time of the day was after lunch. I would lay one across my legs. Have the other one lay across my left shoulder. I would take my right hand and take turns caressing each one of their backs.
I loved those days.....

Keren said...

Like you (at least what I perceive from your comments here and there :)), I greatly desired that God would give us another child soon after our first was born. My husband and his brother were 15 months apart, and very close. If that was the timing God gave us, I would have already had our second child. But my one and only cycle (yay!:)) did not return until my daughter was almost a year old.

Instead, it seems our children will be around 21 months apart. I suppose to some that still sounds very closely spaced. I am certainly thankful for God's perfect timing and am looking forward to having 2 in the house, and to seeing how some of these blessings are evidenced in have 2 under 2. :)

God's timing is perfect, and when we leave this area in His hands we can always rest in the fact that we know that we didn't do anything to attempt to thwart His perfect plan. (Though there will still be a God-given yearning for more children, such is the "barren womb" that is never satisfied.)

Inca said...


I am a Grandma, b"H. I follow your blog because I enjoy how you write, but even more because it gives me pleasure to see one of our young people today with the right attitude and proper respect for the important job of women in our society.

I love this list! It is a tremendous help to me. No, I am not busy with little ones close in age (obviously)... nor was I ever. I was only blessed with 2 children, both of them married with children of their own b"H. They did not have the same issues I did conceiving b"H, there are some economic issues, and I often find myself worrying about their coping powers and their emotional state. It really helped ME to read this list and to have it handy to look at when those "thoughts" come a-knocking at my door.

It is also useful to have at hand to remind my children of at that moment when they call Mama screaming that they are at their wits' end!!!!

Great post.


Persuaded said...

i do love that list, and i think it would be delightful to have children close in age. but you know what? mine are all fairly far apart- the closest have 2.5 years between them and that has been wonderful as well☺
i've been able to savor each child's infancy... and so have their siblings. i have loved having the range of developmental stages going on in the house at the same time. it seems to be easier for me to meet the various children's needs when they all aren't needing the same thing at the same time. and now that i am nearing the end of my most active 'mothering' years, it is nice to have it end up gradually.. gives me time to get used to the next stage of life, lol. i think the Lord knows what we need and He is so good at providing it for us.. even down to the make-up of our families. anna, i know, with the Lord's help, you and your dear husband will be wonderful, joyful parents no matter how fast (or slow) those precious little additions appear♥

Kari said...

That's a great list! Our littles are just over 19 months apart, and we got pregnant with #2 the first time we were able to. God spaced them perfectly! We would love to have more that close in age, as we've been thrilled with our little family! The kids are already adorable together, and we're not out of "baby mode" so I think it has definitely made things easier in running the household more smoothly. Children are a blessing no matter what, and even if it can be challenging at times it is so worth it!

Anonymous said...

I have only the one child who is 4 now, at this point we won't have any more but I wish that we had had another when she was 2 or so. It would have been very hard for awhile but I'm sure it would have made life easier longer than it would have made it harder.

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

I would have loved to have children closer together in age, but, alas, this will likely not be. Should Peapod be blessed with a sibling, they will be at least four years apart. Large spacings will be likely between any other children as well as the military makes for fabulous birth control. ;o)

Despite this fact, this list and comments were interesting to read. I wholeheartedly believe each type of child spacing has it's perks and downsides. Having had Peapod by herself for this time hasn't been all bad, as I have had more time to spend with her and is even a blessing now that some special needs issues may be cropping up. Learning sign language and overcoming a hearing impairment, all while my husband will be in training for his career change with the military, is surely a LOT easier than if more children were around. Just goes to show, God does know best! ;o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I have both, so here is what I think. My girls were 15 mos. apart and they are VERY close. My first son was born 2 years later and the next only 10 months later. That 4th pregnancy was very hard and ended in an emergency C-section to save both me and the baby. However, 10 months apart is GREAT! All 4 are close to each other but the closely spaced ones are moreso. When the youngest was 7 God blessed us with another. Her much older siblings are wonderful with her, and such a help to me! I am currently expecting my 6th and those two will be just over 2 years apart. Overall, I vote for closely spaced!

in His peace,
Mrs. Melody

Mrs. C. said...

That is a lovely list-and true!! I've found that the time I had "trouble" and was "overwhelmed" was when #1 I didn't go to the Lord as my strength and #2 was not consistent in training: never be a liar ("Johny, how many times have I told you to obey?!" it only takes once, maybe twice, any more and you become a liar with idle threats and no consequences)do what you say you are going to do and you'll have perfect children!! I know...I have them now! :)
If I had realized these two major points, I could have always had perfect children. Our 6 are an average of 15 months apart, the closest were 13 months. Next baby we will have 7, 8 yrs and under with no multiples. Not only do you begin earlier with training, but the next one hears the training even earlier and learns more quickly! They all are very helpful and even our 1 yr old picks up-on his own!

Children truly are a blessing from the Lord, and The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it!

If you care for yourself each and every time as well as your children, then you will have healthy, beautiful, well mannered children...and it doesn't cost alot to have them, from birth to adult!

But you will start to hear, "you need a break" "you shouldn't have them so close, your body can't handle that"...I am amused at man's reasoning in this area! For those whom the Lord blesses with many very close together, He also gives us spiritual and physical strength to do all He has for us!! I never had a gramma, sister, aunt, mother's helper or even "church family" to help in any area. I had to learn everything on my own, right along-side my husband. I am probably more fit and more healthy than I was when I was expecting my first!! You will most likely do the same, now that you know those certain areas in yourself where you'd like to improve!

Thanks for sharing how you already see that it doesn't have to be difficult-may you be blessed as you continue in faith, showing others that it is possible to live such a life as yours!!

Waiting until we hear your good news,
Mrs. C.

Anonymous said...

My son and daughter are ten months apart, and it's amazing how well it is working out so far. My first was a SUPER hard baby - not like a typical baby. He wasn't just fussy, he *screamed* for many hours a day. He wasn't a difficult sleeper - he was a TERRIBLE sleeper. (I'm assuming the women warning you about how hard babies can be had babies like my first!) But now that he's a toddler, as is my daughter, life has settled into a comfortable zone. My son is great at sharing, and looks out for his little sister at all times. If she falls, he tries to help her; if she cries, she brings her things. He says please and thank you, "helps" me with all the dishes, "helps" change her diaper... And she adores him. But they are also at the same stage verbally and mentally (he's behind; she's ahead) so they are practically like twins in that respect. They wear the same sized diaper, they are both potty training at once, they have the same bedtimes, they have the same toys. When he grows out of his clothes, I give them straight to her. (Well, the ones that are gender-neutral anyway, I don't dress her like a boy.) Anyway, at this point I wouldn't even mind a third already born, but there isn't one on the way unfortunately. Maybe one day again. :)

Anonymous said...

Not a mother yet myself but my partner is keen on the idea of having our babies close together. I can see it as something being beneficial to the children, and to the parents.

I reckon it's all about getting organised and orderly about one's time, and a busy homemaker is better than a bored one!

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

We had our two children fairly close together -- although 2 years apart is not too terrible close together. I found it easy, because I was already in the swing of things and used to getting up in the middle of the night for feedings. My boys had the same friends and went to school together and had the same teachers and were able to be in many of the same activities, like school plays, etc. This made them very close, although they are as different as night and day and there was a rivalry. Still, I'm glad we had them close together. People I know who had their children only a year or so apart also thought it was a positive experience.

Anonymous said...

Mine is 9 months old and I really have no wish to get pregnant anytime soon. She is still a baby and I want to enjoy her. Not to mention that carrying two children at once would pretty much be impossible for me. We plan to wait until she at least a toddler.

My siblings and I are 3 and 7 years apart and we are all close. I don't think age matters too much unless it is a huge gap. The things you mentioned, they sound great, but they aren't necessarily true or would hold true just because you have children close together.

Nurse Bee

Anonymous said...

It's strange all my friends that have children close in age do not get along? I used to want stair-step children....I have two daughters that are 3 years apart and they are so, so close. I am now glad that we waited and gave the first child a little time to adjust and maybe us?

If God would bless me now I would have as many and as close together as I could due to my age.

Wish I wouldn't have waited so long....

A Mother of 2

Anonymous said...

Never give any thought to the discouraging advice and warnings you will continue to receive. As a mother of six children I can tell you that even among the struggle there is much blessing. The discouraging advice will change over the years from warnings about little ones to warnings about life with teens. In one ear and out the other. Advice that is aimed at instilling anxiety or stress is not from God.

May God continue to bless your growing family. Please pray for me as we prepare to welcome a new little one in the next week or two.

Much love,

Audrey said...

I love this!

My sister and I are 16 months apart, and we are extremely close now (at 20 and 21). I never had the "jealousy" that is rumored to hit older kids, because I was still a baby when my baby sister was born! I have no idea what it's like to be an only child because I only had 16 months of it. I loved growing up that close in age. My sister and I fought and fought and fought, but we ALWAYS had a playmate. We always played together, and we were never ever lonely or wishing for a new friend or neighbor to play with or talk with. We went through the same things at the same time (in some cases... we have completely different personalities though, so there were definitely differences!), and having a built-in best friend was quite handy at times! My mom said it was tough sometimes, but she absolutely loved having kids so close together (we were her only two kids).
Now, I have my own daughter (22 months old), and when she turned 16 months, it hit me that if I want another kid, I want them to be close together! I wish God would have made it happen before I was ready to consciously try, but I'm ok with it happening when it did. I got pregnant, and was due to have my second in August, making them 2 years and 1 month apart... but then I miscarried, and was told I should wait 3 months to try again, when my body would be healed. We decided the kids would be too far apart, and we would just be done having kids. Well, God had other plans! As careful as we were, we conceived again immediately (I didn't even have a full cycle), and are due with number 2 in October... they will be 2 years and 3 months apart. And we found out it is another girl! I am so excited to have two girls, since having a sister was so fun for me!
If we have more kids in the future, they will hopefully be close in age as well. We'll wait a while after this one, but when we do have more, we'll have multiple kids very close together, because, coming from my experience as a child with a sister only 16 months younger, it makes for a wonderful life!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
Thanks for the list of positives, which are rarely mentioned in our society of 'kids are an inconvience". My husband and I would love to have another child (our first is 25months) but I havent been able to fall pregnant yet. Everyone says it's because I'm still breastfeeding! I am not so sure of that as I have had my period back for 7 months so far.
Anyway, we're praying that we'll be blessed with another precious child soon!
Take care,

Sue said...

My first two (girl and boy) are just under 17 months apart, and I am so glad. My daughter did have a time of adjustment. I remember her crying at my feet while I was nursing her baby brother. But, once he was sitting up and they could play together, they became the best of friends, and still are at 11 and 10 years old. Of course, they argue and fuss sometimes, but they really are so close.

I wanted to have more close together, but it just wasn't in God's plan. Having the next two spaced farther apart turned out to be a blessing, though, because my third child has special needs. I think that God works everything out for the best for each family when we are open to His plans for us.

CappuccinoLife said...

God spaced ours two years apart (to the week!), and it was absolutely perfect. Of course, I think anything God does is perfect, lol.

At 2, they were old enough to be excited about the new baby, young enough not to be devastated by losing their "status" in the family, and then there was a year or so when they couldn't play together much, but after that it started to get fun. Yes, they beat on each other (I got 3 boys)but they also are close enough together to have So.Much.Fun when their attitudes are right.

I'm a little disappointed that we haven't had another one yet. I just realized my youngest is way more spoiled than the other two were because he's remained "The Baby (Who Can Do No Wrong)" for far too long. It's easier to work on good training and discipline when I have a newborn and I know I have to do it just to stay sane! And we can giggle at infant burps and when they pinch the first time to see what happens, but it's probably not good that we still laugh when the "baby" calls people "poopy butt" and means it as an insult, just because he's the "baby" of the family.

Michelle at #!/usr/bin/mom said...

My oldest two are ten months and one day apart. I think that's about the closest two full siblings can be and not be twins! When they were little they were like twins, even spoke to eachother in a little twin-language that no one else could understand. Now they are 10 and 11, and even though my daughter plays more with her sisters (4 and 2), and my son prefers his brothers (7, 5, and 10 months), they still get along well with each other and are friends.

For me, I don't feel that it's so very hard to have children who are so close in age. Admittedly, I am not their biological mother, so I didn't come into the picture until they were 2 and 3 years old. I hear that it was harder when they were babies, but that's a season that doesn't last forever!

Anonymous said...

We have five kids under seven and wherever we go just feels like a party ;)

beccyW said...

True, very true!

I am one of two children in my family, and my brother is eight year younger than myself. I believe we would have been even better friends if we were closer.

Also, we have a family of very close friends who we have known for around eleven years. They have ten children so far. Their eldest is 15 and the youngest is a month.
I find them to all be really, really close, especially the eldest two. (both girls)
Of course, the whole family has their fair share (sometimes more than fair share) of "punch ups" i.e. arguments, but they are so close any other time. They don't care if they get laughed at for modest dress or not being cool, because there are so many of them! And all of them are such huge blessings to many people.

I certainly hope that if I ever marry, God may bless me with many children, and close together!

Psa 127:4-5

Tracy said...

My oldest two are 18 months apart, and the second two are 24 months apart. I had three that were 3 and under. And it was WONDERFUL!!!! My fourth was born 4 years after my third. She's still fun, and a precious child, but it is harder with that age gap.

Anonymous said...

I want your list to be true. And maybe in a few years, I can look back and say, yes, those things did happen. But I'm in the thick of it right now with a 4.5, and 3 and 9 mo twins. My husband works 2 jobs and we are broke, I know for a fact that I am putting too much pressure on my oldest to grow up and be responsible. He has pretty much missed his chance to be a child. My middle child is a total mess. I would love to educate them at the same time, but I don't have the time that I know my middle child needs to learn simple tasks and grammar. I am all too often finding things to occupy my twins instead of loving and cuddling on them like I'd like, because I have to tend to the house, or the older kids. My organization skills should theorhetically be better, but instead, my whold life is chaos because I've been in survial mode for 9 months, and can barely manage to get the dishes washed and the floor mopped everyday, and with piles and piles of laundry to tackle, ther is not and "spare" time to organize anything. I didn't mind so much the first two being close (18) months, but the 3rd (and 4th) really destroyed my confidence and made me feel like a totally incompetant mother. I am constantly feeling guilty for no having the energy, patience or resources to devote to each child. And as for marriage, we've been stretched, yes, not to a breaking point, but definately close to the edge. We've no time for each other and we seem to walk around resenting each other because he gets to get out of the house and I am trapped here, and then , working 2 jobs, he feels like he never gets to be home and "I've got it easy." Sounds good in theory, but living it is different.

Anonymous said...

My sil had 5, very close together. She is 'superwoman'....house is spic and span, meals are a delight. And still it was sooooooooo difficult for her. She wore herself to the bone. Like Regina says, there's often a middle child that gets lost in the fuss; there certainly was in her case. There's only so much even a superwoman can do, and some kids just need more attention than others.

I have five myself. I love having a large family. But I think it would be very wrong to ignore the fact that for every child who flourishes in a big family, there may be one who suffers. It's telling that many people who came from large families want to have small ones (we're not talking religious folk here of course, who have other considerations).

I don't think the issue is so much having kids spaced close together, but how many you have spaced close together. Two is not five or ten.
Also, like a previous poster said, there are often financial issues. Can you afford to put everyone in braces, for example, or will the kids grow up with crooked teeth because there are so many siblings to care for?

CappuccinoLife said...

Regina, my third threw me for a loop too. And you got it double, with twins.

It *does* get better. It took me about a year after the 3rd was born to start feeling like a human again and feeling like my life wasn't a complete mess. Don't give up yet. Do stop mopping the floor every night. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Regina, but from a different perspective... Large, closely spaces families arent just hard on moms. I am the oldest of 6, with my 2 closest sisters being 18 mo and 4 years younger than me ( and 3 yr gaps the rest of the way down). My mom says she barely remembers those first five or so years, and was worn out mentally, emotionally, physically, ect pretty much 24/7, and she is even a highly organized lady! Most of what I remember is being herded around as a group (communal bath time, eating, naps, ect), not getting much alone time with either of my parents, and pretty much constant fighting and "one-upping" with my sisters. I was so jealous of my fiends who spent time alone with their moms cooking, shopping, outings, ect. Not saying that it cant work for you... but I feel that many (some of my close girlfriends included) who are not from large families have a romanticized view of big, stair step families! It is especially hard on the older children, as they have to grow up too quickly and care for the younger ones! I now 25, married for 4 years, and want only 1 child, if any, as I feel like I spent the first 20 years of my life taking care of babies!
-Joy in Texas

Anonymous said...

Joy in Texas,

Thank you for your honesty...I have a brother and a sister that I also help raise...I was feeling the same way but felt I was only one feeling this way. I am 39 and my sister will be 19. I miss those me time moments with my mom. I love my sister and I can see that mom has given in to her a little more because she is the "baby". That is okay:)

I only wanted 2 children because of still feeling the burden of raising my brother and sister. My daughter is only 3 years apart from my sister..they grew up together:)

I now see what a blessing children are! I wish I would have seen that it is not about what I want but it is about what God wants..

I know my daughters wish they had another sister or even a brother and that is what makes me sad.

Mother of 2

Rebecca Grider said...

I have two younger brothers - one 5 years younger than me and one 9 years younger. I love them dearly and am pretty close to them.

However, growing up I was put in the role of the "helper" and I resented it greatly and it has added to my decision not to have children.

I think that parents have this romanticized version of a little girl (or boy) who enjoys being the eldest, tenderly caring for their younger siblings while learning housemaking skills. For some that might be true; they might enjoy that. Other children, however, resent being responsible for their younger siblings.

I personally think that while it is nice for the older children to help out and have little responsibilities as they grow up (i.e. cleaning their room, picking up after themselves), to ask them to care for their younger siblings, help make dinner, and bascially, being a mini-parent is completely wrong and hurtful. It is the parents' responsibility to care for their children, not the child's.

I take exception at the line: "thereby teaching that child to work (and we are to work 6 days!!). Many times children are capable of doing muchmore than we parents think they are able to!" Your children are not unpaid servants in your home. They are supposed to be taught (not trained - an unfortunate word choice in my opinion) responsibility, yes, but they also need time to be children: to daydream and use their imagination, to question the world around them in order to learn, to spend a day reading and developing a love of learning. Young children should not be concerned with dirty diapers, cooking dinner or ironing clothes. The worst thing a parent can do, in my opinion, is rob a child of their childhood in order to turn them into "helpers" because they have had more children in a short period of time than they can keep up with on their own. It's just not fair.

Fruitful Vine2 said...

We have two boys right now and the second one was born on the first one's birthday so they are exactly one year apart to the day. I love the closeness they share. They play together and want to do everything the other is doing. If I'm giving one of them something the question is sure to come up - are you giving my brother one too? I know God has a plan for these two boys by letting them be born on the same day. I don't listen to negatives and I've found that what I focus on is usually what I get. It's been a real blessing to have them born close together.

Thanks for this interesting post.

Melissa said...

Just want to chime in that my two--a boy and a girl--are 21 months apart and the adjustment from one to two children was very easy for us, way easier than I had anticipated. It was MUCH harder going from zero to one.

Anonymous said...

Oh my!! Anna I was SO surprised to see my humble comments as blog post on your most excellent, thoughtful and God honoring blog! Yours is one of the few I "allow" myself. Time is precious, as well as keeping in mind the need to build up and not tear down. Hm, I am sure you could express the thought that I am so lamely trying to convey... I am truly thankful that I was an encouragement to you, for that is what my intentions were!!

I did read through most of the comments and wanted to address a few things. This list was written with the idea in mind that Anna and her dear husband intend to have as many children as the Lord would bless them with. So no, they will NOT all leave the home at the same time! More than likely (and my prayer for them) is that they will have one marrying and at the same time a nursing infant and many in between! That is of course not a surety, but a statistical probability in not using any form of birth control (and starting relatively young!!), and not taking into account the possibility of multiples (watch out the use of "certain" herbs, God does use means!).

With that said, that does not mean that all their various number (12 plus?? :) ) children would all have the 'same spacing' either. As fertility is highest, the possibility of having closer spaced babies is greatest. As fertility wanes, well it does get more difficult to get pregnant. But even at the height of fertility does not 'ensure' close spacing with each conception.

In addressing the costs (or supposed ones) of lots of closely spaced babies, I think Anna had adequately addressed THAT in posts of her own! Feel free to insert links to those excellent posts here Anna if you feel so inclined!! And one particular post made me quite sad. I am not going back to locate whom or what was specifically said, but the gist was that the "over worked" father resented the demands placed on him by "all those kids". That is a lack of seeing children as a blessing from the Lord! It is seeing those precious children as burdens. Oh, how very sad to be one of those children! My heart aches for "all those children".

This also leads into the comment about closely spaced babies being the cause of 'strain' on a marriage. Only if one or the other does NOT endorse and welcome any and all children given to them by the Lord. And I don't know and can't address the 'status' of that marriage prior to having children. Parenting is an exercise in self-denial, NOT selfishness!! Your "needs", "wants", etc do have to take a back seat to the NEEDS of the children. But THAT is a blessing! The training of little eternal souls for the Glory of God is a huge undertaking. I am amazed that we sinful and selfish humans are allowed the privilege of having these precious souls loaned to us and to be trained by us! "I" wouldn't trust "us" with so precious a "charge". But God's ways are so far and above our ways. And Thank God for it!!

Anna, remember that "when" you are pregnant again :) (I was saving this for that time) eating beans (even just a tablespoon full, frequently) will help stave off "morning" sickness. The 'extra' hormones your body is producing for a pregnancy have to be processed by the liver. If your body doesn't or can't "process" them efficiently enough, then those hormones that are not processed by the liver and eliminated get re-absorbed into the body, creating a vicious cycle of nausea. By eating extra soluble fiber, the fiber will bind with the extra hormones and be passed out of the body instead of reabsorbed. I can send you the fuller article that addressed this is you are interested.

Many, many "blessings" to you and your dear husband!
~Mrs. R

Homemakers Cottage said...

We were blessed with 3 children in 4 1/2 years... they are now ages 5, almost 3, and 1 year old. I can't say that everything is always easy and convenient... but since when is life all about ease and convenience?

I believe our culture has deceived my generation into believing that we have a right to do as we please, whenever we please, and however we please. We are a generation obsessed with CONVENIENCE and CONTROL. Children are often viewed as an impediment or hindrance to freedom, and couples are choosing to delay child bearing for years after marriage, limiting the number of children they have, and spacing them out years apart.

The issue isn't so much how many children a family has (God blesses some couples with many children, and some with few), or exactly how many years children are born apart. The issue seems to lie at the heart of how you view children... as a blessing to be enjoyed (however and whenever God gives them), or as an inconvenience that impedes the freedom of adults.

It's only been in the last 50 or 60 years that families even worried about how many children they would have or how close in age those children might be. Couples simply realized that child bearing would most likely be a part of their married life, and both men and women embraced the realities and responsibilities of raising children.

No, it's not always "ideal" or convenient to raise a houseful of small children. It's not always an easy or luxurious life when you have a handful of little ones to feed, clothe, and care for. But when I take an honest look at the Scriptual principles surrounding child bearing, I can't help but believe that God has very different ideas about children than that which is being embraced by many in our culture.

Rebekah said...

My two are 11 and a half months apart. My oldest has Aspergers- both have Sensory Processing Disorder. I WISH they were a bit further spaced because the spacing adds alot of tension to the already demanding considerations of their health issues. Health considerations are something you very likely won't know until children are older- so spacing them closely intentionally may *seem* like a good idea- but it may have some unforseen complications... Just something to think about. Don't get me wrong- my two *are* the best of friends (when they aren't trying to murder each other) and there *are* some positives about it... But- between the extra demands that such concerns place on a family- and the extra financial expenses- it IS something to at least think about when one is considering family spacing/size.

Clara said...

Hello to Everyone who has commented. This is such a helpful blog. It is very encouraging! My husband and I have a 5 1/2 month old daughter (Sophie). We both feel that she would benefit from having a closely spaced sibling. It would be wonderful for us as well. But, it does set a woman's mind to wondering about the subsequent challenges of having two such young children at the same time. This post however has quieted my fears and I feel very encouraged to leave it in the hand of The Lord. After all he truly is wiser than we. Thanks to everyone! -Clara-