Courtesy of Candace Ganger

7 Times My Kids' Age Gap Seriously Saved My Life

My kids were born five years apart to the day. And while it's not always easy having such a "large age gap" between them, I'm pretty thankful. I mean, yes, having a pre-teen and a kid preparing to go into first grade isn't easy, but there are moments when my kids' age gap seriously saved my life. Are they the best of friends? No. But are they incredible siblings who, more often than not, look out for one another and, in the process, make my life easier? You bet.

I didn't plan on having kids this far apart, to be honest. After years of trying to conceive a second baby, and after two pregnancy losses and so much self-doubt I started to lose hope, my body finally, well, "cooperated." My son's due date coinciding with my daughter's 5th birthday was pure coincidence, and one I wasn't going to turn my nose up at, either. After all, I was just thankful I was able to carry a pregnancy to term and birth a healthy baby.

Caring for a newborn and a preschooler was definitely an adjustment. My daughter was used to being the only child, and while she loves him dearly I think she's still bitter about having to share with her younger brother. Sometimes their best friends, sometimes their bitter rivals, but always they're siblings. And even when I can't see the forest through the trees, I know my kids' age gap has saved my life a time or two.

When I Needed A Pseudo Sitter

One of the "perks" of an adequate age gap between kids is, if I need to take a quick shower or get dinner ready, I can trust my 11-year-old daughter to watch her 6-year-old brother. Giving her the responsibility not only helps me out, but it gives her a feeling of accomplishment. She knows I've trusted her with a pretty substantial task. Does she always do a good job? No. Does my son tell me she was mean the whole time? Usually. But if we're in a pinch (and I bribe her), it works.

When I Need To Focus On Work

For over 10 years I've worked from home as a freelancer. My daughter grew up watching mom work, but once her brother came into the world I had to take a break and adjust. Thankfully, I realized she could be way more help than I originally assumed.

No matter how busy my day is, I know my son has his big sister to keep him company. It hasn't always been easy, but having a child a few years older than her sibling bailed me out of those moments when I needed to get work done before I could start playing Barbies.

When I'm Just Exhausted

I had my daughter in my 20s, when I was full of life and had boundless energy. I was 30 when I had my son, though, and just thinking about that time period makes me tired. Now I feel like I'm constantly exhausted. Thankfully, my soon-to-be 12-year-old daughter can help her little brother build that Lego set I can't seem to focus on (because, tired). life feels a little less chaotic, so age gap for the win.

When They Teach Each Other

If you've never eavesdropped on siblings playing, I highly suggest you start immediately. While my daughter likes to teach her little brother profane language, how to lie and get away with it, and how to sneak candy when mom's not looking, I've also caught my son saying he'll tell me when she uses profane language, he wants to tell me the truth, and that, if they ask me, I'll let them have a piece of candy. They're teaching each other how to get through life, really, and it's awesome.

When I'm Trying To Schedule Our Lives

Planning the week and scheduling activities when you just have one child, honestly, isn't all that difficult. But two? Yikes. Suddenly there are not enough hours in the day. With my kids' age gap, though, my daughter can do her dance thing while my son hangs out with me. So, in a way, there's still only one child's activities to schedule, and it's awesome.

When It's The School Year

When my son was a baby, my daughter was already in pre-school. So, for at least some portion of the day and week, I really only had to focus on one child. That made adjusting to life as a mom of two children so much easier.

When I Realized My Oldest Will Be Driving Soon

In a few short years my youngest won't need a booster seat, and my oldest will have her learner's permit. I'm not wishing time away, or hoping she'll grow faster than she already has, but I can't lie: it'll be nice having someone else do all the driving for a change.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.