Sibling Spacing: What’s the Perfect Formula?

siblings

My sister and me at ages six months and four years old.

I just want to start by saying we’re not quite ready for a second baby. I mean, I’m really not sure how people do it — pregnant a second time with a four-month-old or a seven-month-old? Even now as Adelaide hits the home stretch toward two years old, I can’t imagine the exhaustion of pregnancy on top of keeping up with her. And, how do people afford to have two kids in daycare?

This week, a second friend with a toddler around Adelaide’s age announced she is expecting baby number two. Their kids will be almost exactly two years apart. I have lots of friends my age with siblings two years older or younger — it’s a perfectly normal thing. My sister and I are three-and-a-half years apart and four years apart in school. I’ve always thought that was the perfect spread. We were never in high school together at the same time. We were never competing against each other in school or extra curriculars. Still, we played together a lot growing up (as the oldest, I was the bossy one in charge — maybe that’s why I’ve always thought it worked so well.) But even now, living on opposite ends of the country, my sister and I still talk on the phone at least once a week and we consider each other close friends.

I read this blog entry on papercoterie.com a few months ago, and it made me think about having kids even closer together. We’ve obviously missed the boat for having them two years apart (and I’m PERFECTLY okay with that that), but I just hope that when we are ready for a second child, that they will also have a close relationship and special friendship. I know the number of years between siblings doesn’t make or break for close siblings. As much as I like to think three-and-a-half years was the perfect spread for my sister and me, I have a girlfriend whose younger sister is the same distance apart in age and they are not particularly close. It all depends on the individual personalities (And maybe some on the parenting? Ah, no pressure there).

Tim and I have always agreed on having two kids and I’m excited for Adelaide to one day have a little brother or sister. The baby fever isn’t in full force yet, but one of these days we will know that there will never be the perfect time and we will close our eyes and leap. And, if anyone has any tips on putting two kids in daycare, I’m all ears.

 

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  1. Stephanie @ BeeTreeStudios’s avatar

    Interesting, mine are almost exactly 3 years apart (oldest was born December 2007, youngest was January 2011. I didn’t want to be 9 month pregnant in the summer!) The only reason it would have been nicer to have them closer in age is the storage of clothes from when my oldest grows out of them to when my youngest can wear them! But the plus side was that my oldest understood what was going on and he was old enough that he wanted to stay with my parents while we were in the hospital! Actually, they took him on a trip to Disney World on a whim, almost as a last celebration as an only child lol!

    Stephanie
    http://BeeTreeStudios.com

    Reply

    1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

      I never really thought about the hand-me-down storage issue — haha. We already have several tubs of newborn clothes piling up in the basement. I’m sure a lot of it will depend on whether our second is also a girl. I feel like a lot of our clothes are particularly “girly.”

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    2. Kelly Benner’s avatar

      I personally don’t think there’s one right answer to this question. Each option has its share of pros and cons. I’d say do what is right for you and your family, both emotionally and financially. Good luck!

      Reply

      1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

        I agree. I actually considered putting “perfect” in the title in quotation marks because I know there is no perfect formula. And, things rarely go exactly as planned anyway, right?

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      2. Rochelle’s avatar

        I have four kiddos – each are about 18 months apart. Yes, I was tired in pregnancy, but it doesn’t matter at what age they are you’ll always be tired. It’s sad, but true. I love the spacing of our children. It’s a bit more work up front, but my kids are best friends and play with each other all the time. They are very independent and like to play by themselves (which is a good thing). They also take good care of each other and are such big helpers with the youngest. I also don’t put them in daycare, I’d be homeless if I did. But you have to do what’s best for you and your family and not worry about what others do. That sounds like what you’re doing, so you’ll be fine!!

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        1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

          Thanks for the encouragement. I do tend to consider what others do, but I know each family is different and what is best for you is not necessarily best for me. (I think I’ll be two and done whenever we decide.)

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        2. Sarah’s avatar

          Glad to hear your experience growing up with your sister worked well. I expecting #2 next month and my son is exactly 3 1/2. I think it will help in that he’s potty trained, etc.

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          1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

            Congratulations! Yes, my sister and I are one day off from being exactly 3 1/2 years apart. I was born on Aug 17 and she was born Feb 18. It was always fun to celebrate our half birthdays and get a small something on the other’s birthday.

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          2. Jessica @FoundtheMarbles’s avatar

            I don’t think there is any right formula so just go for it!

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            1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

              Yes, you’re probably right!

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            2. O'Boy! Organic’s avatar

              My boys are exactly 2 years apart born on the same – NO PLANNED! Right now they are 6 and 8 years old, best friends one minute hating each other the next. I know it’s a faze I just hope they are close as they get older. My brothers are all less than 2 years apart and are not close at all and it makes me sad.

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              1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

                Yes, I know that the spacing won’t guarantee that they are close once they grow up. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a “perfect” formula – just what’s perfect for you (or something cheesy like that).

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              2. Carrie’s avatar

                We had baby #2 a bit sooner than expected– 22 months after his sister was born, to be exact. I’m not going to lie, some days are absolutely insane and I’m exhausted all the time. But when I see my kids together it totally makes it all worthwhile. They are best friends. They have pretty much never known life apart. It’s been good for my first born to share the attention, and for my second born to have such an amazing role model. I don’t think there’s a perfect formula at all– there’s pros and cons to all spacing, and it is what it is. You make it work. In hindsight, I’m glad it happened this way even though the bags underneath my eyes are officially luggage now. 😉

                Reply

                1. nextlifechapter’s avatar

                  I also wonder about boy/girl siblings being close. I think it works better if they’re closer in age, but I don’t have many (any?) examples of friends who have siblings of the opposite sex and who are close as adults. If they are, they’re more likely from a big family with lots of siblings and not just a family a four. That one’s totally out of my hands though, so I guess there’s no need to worry.

                  Reply

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