Mind The Gap!

Mind The Gap!

By Aimee Hart @hart_at_home

Before you have children you are always asked when you will have one… then when you do have a child you are always asked when you will have another and warned about the age gap. It’s a strang conversation because you are basically asking someone something pretty intimate without knowing any sort of background or circumstance. Yet we continue to ask.

Six and a half years ago we had our first daughter, Evelyn. We’d been married just over a year, we were both in stable jobs and we felt it was the right time. I didn’t intend to take such a big gap between having children but as a woman you can’t afford to take your foot off the professional gas without the fear of loosing your path or your rightful progression. It shouldn’t be that way – but it is. Taking a year off to raise a child inevitably means you exit the loop and others may potentially overtake you. That was what I did with my six-year gap. Focused on my career. And how quickly that time went. Now, nine weeks into daughter number two, Penelope, I have a new found understanding of the age gap conversation. I can see the perks of a big age gap but I can also appreciate the perks of having children in succession. Sometimes this isn’t a decision we can make, sometimes we have to leave it up to fate but on the rare occasion we can choose I think they both offer a varied and wonderful experience of motherhood.

A Gap in Time

If, like us, you find yourself with a larger age gap between your children then let’s focus on the positives here. For me, having my eldest at school five days a week gives me the time to breathe and enjoy the precious new-born moments. It gives me routine for my day and allows my little bundle quality time with me during the week. It’s amazing how much a nearly seven year old can do to help and she understands when mummy is needed. She understands my time needs to be shared. She can appreciate the fact she’s had six years of our dedicated time and doesn’t feel left out or unappreciated. She doesn’t get sad when Penelope screams through her favourite programme or story because she acknowledges she’s a baby. We spent the time talking to her about how our home environment would change and how exciting this time will be.

Back to Back

Now, even though I can’t talk from direct experience I can appreciate how having children closer in age would be hugely positive. Having children go through the same phases together and share the same interests, toys, activities at relatively the same time will mean they have a completely different connection. As they grow they will share things together and become closer as ‘friends’. Your house and your body can get back to ‘normal’ quicker and I guess as you get older you move out of the baby phase and get your life back.

Either way there is always positives to find and negatives to ignore. I can honestly say that I looked at Evelyn before Penelope was born and couldn’t imagine loving a child the way I love her. I couldn’t visualise it. But Penelope has added a whole level of love to our little family along with the usual new baby experiences. Some of which I’d totally forgotten about so here is my “What to expect with baby number two.”

1. Don’t expect a carbon copy of baby number one – mine are pretty identical in looks (both like their father) but we can already see differences in their personalities and newborn attributes. Evelyn slept through. Penelope does not.

2. Sleep deprivation is something you get used to – when I was nine months pregnant with Penelope I was dreading the lack of sleep and worrying about not waking up if she needed me. BUT the sleep deprivation is always worth it. Well, mostly.

3. You know what you are doing – regardless of the gap it does all come flooding back to you and your instincts kick back in with a vengeance!

4. Your baby bag is waaayyyyy smaller! Gosh, the junk I carried with me after Evelyn was born. You know the basics – changing stuff, clothes, bottle… done. 5. You know your tribe – finding ‘mum friends’ with baby number 1 can be hard! I was desperate to find connections with
like-minded mums with Evelyn and I did (luckily). When number two comes along you gravitate to mums on your wave length and know to avoid those mums who, unintentionally, bring your mood down.

Would I have had such a big gap between my children if my career hadn’t been at its most crucial time? Would I have had another baby regardless of my progression? Who knows. It did play a part along with moving house, saving money and generally enjoying our time with Evelyn. Baby number two was always on the cards and we are so lucky to finally be going through this journey again. Tiredness, messiness, pennilessness and all!