My partner and I found out that we were unexpectedly expecting our second child when our first was only eight months old. I was six weeks along when my pregnancy was confirmed, and when I did the math and figured out how close in age our kids would be (15 months), I was terrified. I spent my second pregnancy dreading the circus act that I assumed my life would be, knowing I would be raising kids so close in age. Thankfully, I've come to realize that there are times when having two kids under two is actually awesome. Yes, really.
When I explain to people that I would have two kids under the age of two, people typically respond with wide-eyed looks of terror, dread, and sympathy. "Oh, you poor thing," some of them would say, as I'm certain they were offering me their unspoken prayers. Don't get me wrong, some of those prayers were definitely needed because, well, having kids close in age is a struggle, but now that I'm almost two years into it, I've hit my stride and I'm actually grateful that my boys are so close in age.
My husband and I considered being a one-and-done family. In fact, the night before we found out I was pregnant, we were talking about how we would be completely content with only one child, but deep down we knew we wanted our son to have a sibling he could be close with. Though our second pregnancy was a surprise, one that absolutely terrified me for an extended period of time, it ended up completing our family in the most perfect way. Yes, sometimes our lives might resemble that circus I initially feared, but I love my little animals and I wouldn't have it any other way.
So, if you're expecting again and you've done the math and you're realizing that you'll, eventually, have two kids under two, have no fear. Everything is going to be just fine. Not just fine, actually, but really freakin' awesome, and here are just a few reasons why:
When It's Play Time
I work from home, so I occasionally (read:often) have to rely on the television to entertain my kids while I get my work done. The boat loads of screen time inevitably make me feel guilty, but when my boys are over watching cartoons, they turn to each other for entertainment. Thankfully, they're at the age when playing together is actually "fun," and not a recipe for complete disaster. It makes for bigger messes, sure, but seeing them work together on their block castle makes my heart melt.
When It's Time To Start Potty Training
Potty training is the worst. My older son has finally got the hang of it, after months of battling the toilet seat, but getting to this point required a lot of deep breathing (and a little bit of drinking) on my part. However, something amazing is happening now that my older son knows how to use the potty. My younger son is interested in it, too. In fact, if he weren't confined to diapers, he would probably have the hang of it by now. Basically, my older son is potty training my younger son, and it's awesome.
When It's Time For Them To Go To School
Both of my kids are starting part-time preschool this fall. It make me sad that they're growing up so fast, but I feel better knowing that they're starting this journey together. They won't be in the same classes, but they will be right down the hall from each other. I'm sure it's going to take a bit for us to all make the transition, but at least we're getting it over all at once, instead of having to spread out the stress.
When You Need To Run Errands
Running errands with a baby and a toddler was a major source of anxiety for me, at first. Now that they're a little older, errands are actually a lot easier. My oldest likes to ride the buggy like it's a skateboard, and my youngest is content just hanging out in the seat and watching him. When they get bored, they entertain each other while I shop. Now, all of this isn't to say that they don't have synchronized public meltdowns from time-to-time but, for the most part, they treat errands like play time.
When You Really Want To Get Out Of Something Social
Having two kids close in age is the perfect excuse to get out of social functions that you don't want to attend. I mean, no one can really argue with it.
When You Have To Attend Awkward Family Functions
One of the great things about having two kids under two, is their innate ability to make awkward family functions somewhat tolerable. They're entertaining and adorable, and they're lives are the perfect topic of conversation when you're sitting in an awkward silence next to your third cousin. Everyone wants to talk about or play with the kids, so I'm free to hit the wine rack.
When You're Shopping For Them
My boys are very close to being the same size, now, so that makes shopping for their clothes so much easier. Trying to figure out what would fit which one and for how long, and trying to keep all of the tiny laundry separated was a major pain. Now that they're so close to being the same size, I can just buy them the same thing and throw it all into the same dresser drawer.
When You're Taking A Vacation
Vacation with kids isn't exactly all that relaxing, but when you've got kids close in age, they're able to entertain each other most of the time. Of course, you still have to keep a close eye on them (because, duh), but you do actually get a break from building sand castles every now and then.
When They Get Bored
Kids get bored. That's just life. There's no way to keep them entertained every second of every day, but when your kids are close in age, they keep each other entertained the majority of the time. When boredom strikes, they conspire together to fix the situation. It usually results in huge messes, but at least they're happy.
When You're Teaching Them Literally Anything
Teaching my oldest certain things usually rubs off on my youngest. So, instead of having to spread certain lessons (like potty training) out over several years, I am getting to teach certain things in one fell swoop. Also, listening to his older brother talk has had a huge impact on my younger son's language development. Teaching two kids the same thing is difficult, sure, but at least the difficulty isn't dragged out over a long period of time. They learn so much from each other tha that it makes their individual learning, in general. easier.
When They're Both In A Good Mood At The Same Time
When both boys are happy at the same time, I swear I could have 18 more kids. I'm definitely not in the market for more children, but seeing my boys behave and interact and play together, peacefully, makes me feel like I'm not completely failing as a mother.
When They Get Into Laughing Fits Together
What's cuter than one baby laughing? Two babies laughing.
When You Don't Panic About Every Little Thing With Your Second One
First kids are almost experimental (sorry, son). When you're not exactly sure you know what you're doing and you don't know what is and is not good for them and when you read about raising healthy babies literally every single day, it's no wonder that new moms are so burnt out. However, because I had my second close in age to my first, all of those parenting lessons are still fresh in my mind. My second son's arrival wasn't met with a lot less stress and anxiety and that's, you know, the dream.
When You Realize (If You're Done) That You Won't Ever Have To Be Pregnant Again
I hate being pregnant. There, I said it. I do feel slightly guilty about not appreciating my ability to spawn human life, but pregnancy wasn't kind to me. Like, at all. Once I had my second son, I was able to schedule a sterilization procedure to ensure that we wouldn't have anymore "surprises," and knowing that I don't have to ever suffer through six months of hyperemesis gravidarum or constipation or discomfort is extremely calming.
When They Grow Up To Be Best Friends
There's no way my boys are going to be best friends every single day for the rest of their lives (because siblings fight and that's normal) but, right this very second, they are. They light up each other's world, and when they're separated they're constantly searching for the other. When my youngest is sad, my oldest will find him a toy or give him a hug, and when my oldest is mad, my youngest will do something funny to make him laugh. Seeing the love they have for each other makes every single struggle completely and totally worth it.