Hello Beautiful People,
The Age Gap!
The mummy fatigue is still at its peak. I’ve conversed with my husband a lot about this fatigue lately, for a few reasons. Although we are raising six children with everyone expecting us to be exhausted, we’ve concluded that our last two beautiful babies are the absolute reasons for our complete and utter parental exhaustion! ‘Super hero parents’ that have crashed and burned!
We know it’s not the babies fault, there are many factors at play that have finally tipped us over our limit of being able to bear with the perpetual tiredness to nearly crying from the brain fog of pure exhaustion! We may suddenly have too many children (wink, wink), our age (ughhh as much as I hate to admit it), fitness levels and so on. And most probably, in equal measures, they are aware they are part of a large family, feel the need to compete for attention and their personalities – noisy, more energetic, inquisitive, demanding and sleep way less than any of their older siblings.
They are also very close in age – 19 months apart and we have never had such a close age gap before although we have had some close and some not so close. Our oldest daughter is seven years older than the one below her, the three middle boys have a three-year gap. Then had a ten-year gap between the middle boys and our last two little ones.
Recently I was talking to a few lovely mums at my local playgroup, new mums wondering what I thought the best age gap was. Jokingly I said ‘never’ but being honest. even though having two so close together can be a living nightmare, every family is different and has different experiences.
My experience is my own, no one else’s. The joy of bringing home a sibling for my toddler was soon halted by reality. Endless mountains of washing, another little person nearly always crying because of hunger, tiredness, dirty nappy, double teething, sibling jealousy, toilet training, attention…The list is not exhaustive, but I am.
So many challenges at once…have you ever had to run after the older sibling (whose taken off) while the younger one, trying to walk, is scooped up fast and now crying because her walking accomplishment wasn’t well enough recognised because you needed to chase big brother before he reached the road? It’s exhausting! Even just writing that one sentence was exhausting. We aren’t given any books or manuals on how to deal with the reality of the everyday struggles that come with having two babies close together.
I was talking to friend who has the same age gap with her babies. We were commiserating with each other about how hard it is to do even the simplest things, like going to the toilet. I have to take the two of them with me otherwise I’ll come back, find the baby buried under a pile of unfolded clean washing by the older child, who has now climbed up on the back of the lounge wearing a cap mimicking his favourite Paw Patrol character. The joys!
For me and my family, I honestly feel the three-year age gap is the winner! I know others say they like the close age gap, that it’s a few hard years and all sleepless nights and nappies are done at once. Good for them, I respect their opinion but to hell with a few rough years. I’d rather a nice age gap and a few smooth years that don’t make me look and feel like I’ve aged a decade in a year and a half.
Yet I wouldn’t change a single moment. I was reminded of that the other day when I remarked to another lovely mum how sweet her daughters were and inquired about their ages. She told me they were eighteen months apart. We looked at each other with that defeated smile and gave each other that empathetic nod. ‘It’s hard isn’t it?’ she almost half whispered, ‘It sure is’ I replied choking up as we both quickly broke our visual exchange in fear that one of us would drop our guard and burst in to tears of exhaustion.
But after a pause I felt it necessary to say ‘hey how good are we as mums and how wonderful they are, despite the difficulties. I love them so much and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way!’. Suddenly her exhausted face broke in to a beaming smile and she replied with absolute love and certainty ‘same, it’s a beautiful perfect age gap really, isn’t it?’