The Perfect Age Gap

Close age gap, best age gap,

Once you have your first child and decide you will, in fact, have another little squishy, adorable non-sleeping, colic-having bringer of exhaustion you start to think about that ‘perfect age gap’ between siblings and when to bring a new baby into your family.

As the first of four children with age gaps of 2, 10 and 12 years I have always been adamant that I wanted my kids close together. It’s not that I don’t love my brothers and the family dynamic but I did spend a lot of time feeling like I was missing out on things because I was looking after my younger brothers.

Once I had Ellie, I was determined not to have a big age gap. Just thinking about getting to a stage where your babies have grown up enough to be independent, at school and sleeping through the night, not to mention being on the cusp of the terrible teenage years (I was horrible) only to be thrown back into the exhaustion of newborn days sent shivers down my spine. That does not sound fun.

Sisters

There is also a large gap between James and his younger sister, so he was on the same page as me in terms of having our children close. And, once Ellie was here, he was so completely enthralled with her that he was ready to have a new baby almost immediately.

Fifteen and a half months after Ellie, Kahlei arrived and 23 months after that Jasper came along. Within 3 years and 3 months we had completed our family (because James says so).

We wanted them to be close, to be friends and to get the ‘harder’ bits out of the way (although, in hind sight, having to deal with two three year olds one after the other didn’t thrill me) and, for us, our choice seems to be perfect. It’s hard and exhausting and, often times relentless but it’s also wonderful and amazing and beautiful.

Siblings

They are good friends and, when they’re not fighting (which is happening a whole lot since school began), it’s something that fills my heart. Look at them, all cute and stuff.

But.

I didn’t think about some pretty serious repercussions of having them so close together. My biggest one at this time is the fact that Ellie only just started school this year and next year I will have to send Kahlei. Right now, I wish I could go back and make them all at least two years apart. I’m not ready. Jasper is not ready. He is going to be crushed when he realises his beloved Rora is going to be leaving him daily just as his beloved Ellie did.

And in 3 and a half years they will all have started. This is not what I signed up for and I am finding it quite difficult.

hand-me-downs

At the end of last week I washed, ironed and put away Ellie’s first ever school uniform for Kahlei. She’s already grown out of it and it’s been a little tartan reminder that in about 8 months my baby girl will be going off to school, that things will again be changing dramatically, that things will never be as they once were.

It’s now that you realise that there’s really no such thing as the perfect age gap. You just make what you have work. There are times when it’s harder physically, emotionally, mentally. There are times when it’s exactly as you had dreamed it would be, smiles and giggles and warm moments.

I predict I will again be revisiting this mopey feeling just after Ellie hits her teens and then, again (again) just after Ellie gets her L’s. And so it goes.

What is the age gap between your children? Do you ever feel like it’s too much/not enough?

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18 Comments

  1. Aww starting school is such a big thing and is a new chapter in our life. My mum had 4 kids with big age gaps, she had kids at home for over 30 years. I didn’t want that. As a step mum I was lucky enough to be able to share the lives of my teenagers with big gaps but not be parenting for such a long time. I am not sure if I would cope with 3 under 5 though.

  2. Hello.
    First time reader of your blog and I must say your images are stunning! I have just had my second child and my first is 22 months! I have no idea what the ideal age gap is… we will wait and see.

  3. Our second daughter was born when our first was 3 years and 10 months old. For us, it’s actually worked out really well because Miss 4 is so very independent and is an amazing little helper – she loves to play with her baby sister and I think it’s helped a lot that she’s old enough to understand the reasons why we can’t be quite so 1 on 1 all the time, as we used to be.

    The age gap is a bit bigger than I had originally planned in my head, but it’s worked out better this way and so I figure everything happens for a reason 🙂

  4. You are right, there’s no such thing as perfect – for most things really! Having said that, 2 years can be nice. I grew up in a family that was 2 years apart, we’re all pretty close, but it wasn’t completely insane for Mum in the early days. My sister also has 5 kids 2 years apart, the best part of that is that this year you can say the age of her kids are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. I didn’t really have the choice when to start my kids and when the siblings were due to PCOS and fertility issues. With my first two kids, there’s a three year gap, and it really was easier with a newborn baby and my eldest being that bit older. With the third pregnancy, there was a two year gap, but the end results was triplets, and wouldn’t matter what the age group there, it was always guaranteed to be crazy busy!

  5. 14 months, 13 months, 18 months, 3 yrs 4 months, 3 yrs 7 months and 17 months. Now the eldest four are 11,10, 9 and 8 and there are glimpses of maturity in the house I’m sticking with being all for small gaps 🙂

  6. They are such gorgeous kids!!!! Were you at home with them the whole time before they went to school??? I am a stay at home mum with my 2 year old now and I am not sure whether it will be harder for her or me when she leaves to go to school! We are also expecting another bundle in Oct – guess I’ll let you know then if this is the perfect age gap! :)You have done a great job and certainly should give yourself a huge pat on the back!

  7. I don’t know if there is a perfect age gap, mine seemed to work out ok at around 2 years apart. But that being said, if we had had another baby, having #5 two years after #4 would have probably drove me insane!

    The photos are fantastic!

    #teamIBOT

  8. There is 2.5years between my boys & I think that’s pretty perfect. They are close enough to have similar interests, play well most of the time and now they are both getting more independent. Bam Bam starts prep next year & I was starting to relax and think about the days beyond the baby daze but OOPS! Here we are finding ourselves about to start right back at the beginning again! There will be 7 years between youngest & oldest. I just hope they will be as close as the boys are now.

    • Hi Neesay…I just wrote below that my kids have 7.5 years between them and it is a bit like bringing up 2 generations. But in adult life they are good friends. Win? Hope so for you too. D xx

  9. We have a lot in common. But age gaps depend on when they were born. I have 3 born in 3.5 years, however they will ALL be one year apart in school terms, because I had March, December and September babies. I bet it will be hard having that gap. I kinda glad I found this out, as it means I will hopefully learn a lot more about how you got on! Em x

  10. Oh that pic is so gorgeous! I think there is no ideal. It also seems that most babies come whether we are ‘ready or not’.
    My gap with our kids is 7.5 years. Not be choice but just what was happening in my body. Those kids werent really siblings (this is for you Nee!) but as adults they appreciate each other as friends.
    I do think Miss Becky that you don’t want your “babies’ to grow up…but my love, they have to!! Sorry.
    Love Denyse x

  11. I agree. There is no perfect age gap, but we’ve done similar to you – 4 kids in 4.5 years. Our first 3 will go to school in 3 consecutive years, then our 4th will wait 2 years, poor thing!

    The nice thing I guess is that you will get some lovely one-on-one time with your little man.

  12. There’s three years between one and two and then two years between all the others. I’m pretty happy with the gap, cause I’ve had good quality time with all of them, but I will be a mess when my youngest starts preschool next year. 🙁

  13. We have 3 older boys all close together and then as there was a gap of 6 years before the next one we decided to go again so he wouldn’t be left out! It works really wellnow and as Denyse said it is a bit like parenting 2nd time around with a new generation. But it works. Whatever you get i guess you just have to make it work!

  14. They’re just so cute when they’re smiling. They look like they’re off some happy TV show. My children are yet to be born, and this makes me scared. It appears there is much to think about.

  15. What a gorgeous post!! Loved reading your thoughts on this matter. My first 2 were 12 months apart, my daughter came along when they were 6 and 7 years old. Personally I am loving the bigger age gap rather than the very small one!! Oh, and my sister and I are 11 months apart so I had no reference to big age gaps from my own siblings. #TUST xx

  16. This is a really interesting post for me. My eldest is 15, and my next is 5 and then 3.5. So I’ve done the big gap thing, and the small gap – neither have been ideal! I struggle to parent a teenager AND small children – their needs are so different. And for the first couple of years the little girls were hard work, together. They are a lot better now though and are very good friends, when they are not fighting (like yours). From what I’ve noticed in friends, a gap of about 3-4 years looks pretty good.

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