Unless you're a "one and done" kinda gal, your baby will hit a certain age and you'll start to contemplate child number two... or three, or four. Some moms go with their gut and don't give it much thought, but others pause. They want a "good" age gap and, hey, I get it! I love my kids almost three-year gap! But as someone with siblings three, seven, and nine years younger, I can tell you there's no one way to do it, so I don't think you should care too much about your kids' age gap.
Certainly there are generalities. Kids with, say, a nine year age gap probably won't have the same relationship as kids with a three year age gap. (I tried playing blocks with my baby sister when I was 11, and it was more than a little dull.) But that doesn't mean that different age gaps (to say nothing of different kids, with different personalities, in any number of different situations) aren't going to yield a variety of wonderful relationships you're going to love watching your beloved littles enjoy. Ultimately, "the right time" to have a baby has to do with your readiness for another child, not how your children might relate to one another based on their ages.
So, how do you know you're making too big a deal about the whole age gap thing? Well, I'll tell you...
You're Making Elaborate Calculations
"Let's see. If I can get pregnant now, the baby will be entering kindergarten when their sibling is in first grade, so they'll be in the same school. But should they be in the same school? If I wait a couple years then they'll never be in the same school together and maybe that'll be a good thing? Maybe they won't be competitive? But maybe if I call it in the middle, so they'll have, like, a few years together but not the whole time, that would be best? But wouldn't it be nice if the older one could guide the younger one? But is that asking too much of an older sibling?"
Honestly, either way it's just not a big deal. Don't overthink it.
You're Holding Off Because You Think Your Child Will Hate You
You seriously never know how kids are going to handle a new sibling. I was convinced my son was going to try to ship my daughter off to Abu Dhabi the minute she was born, because when I was pregnant he was a pill about discussing anything baby related. I thought for sure I was going to fall out of his favor and our relationship would never be the same again. But you know what? We never had a single issue. No jealousy. No feelings of neglect. No negativity towards his sister. Nothing.
Other kids have jealousy and negativity towards their siblings. Sometimes they're the kids who have been begging for a brother or sister. Age has nothing to do with either reaction, it's all about the individual child and, sometimes, you don't really have any idea what kind of kid you have when it comes to siblings.
But you know what? Children are extremely adaptable. Even if they initially have issues, they will get over it. They will know that you love them and will happily adjust to their new dynamic.
You're Rushing Before You're Ready So That Your Child Will "Have A Friend"
Your children probably won't be best friends, particularly not as kids. That's not to say they can't be close and loving, but age alone does not dictate that and they're going to be individuals with their own lives and buddies. That's normal and healthy! Your children will always be siblings, which is its own special connection. Whether or not they're chummy is another issue entirely and, yes, there's something to be said for kids closer in age being "closer" in a friendship sense, but different kids have different personalities. Point is, this is largely outside of your realm of control anyway, so I wouldn't stress the age gap too much as a factor.
You're Calculating To Avoid Birthdays Near Each Other
OK, not technically an age gap thing, but it's related enough that I am going to bring it up and state unequivocally that no, really, your children will not care if they share a birth month, regardless of age.
came up with this argument as a hypothetical completely forgetting that my brother's birthday is a week and a half before mine until literally just this moment. In more than 30 years it has literally never been an issue for us. And two of my other brothers were born in February. Also non-issue.
You Believe The Dynamics You See Between Other Siblings Will Play Out In Your Own Family & Base Decisions On That
Once more for the people in the back: every kid is different. Every family is different. You cannot assume that what you see play out in one family — be it a bad relationship between two similarly aged siblings or a good relationship between three siblings each with a four year gap (or whatever) — is going to work out that way if you were to have the same number of children spaced the same way. Age gaps aren't a secret sauce for sibling harmony or discord. There are so many factors at play.
You're Poring Over Scientific & Sociological Studies Of Siblings
Don't go down that rabbit hole. Look, I get it: I'm a Ravenclaw. I like research and facts and evidence as much if not more than anyone, but this is not one of those "definitive conclusion" kind of issues. You will find a million articles that reach a million and four different conclusions. There's no one right answer here.
You're Losing Sleep Over This Decision
Ultimately, whatever you choose to do will be the right decision for you. Having two under two, waiting a few years, waiting until the first is in grade school, or even forgoing a second child altogether: there are thousands of different paradigms over thousands of years of human history that that speak to this fact. Forge ahead on the path of your choice and trust me, it'll work out.
You're Taking Mom Friend Too Seriously
OMG, are you listening to what your friend Candace is telling you about raising children? Candace is awful. Seriously, you know that, but you still let her get to you anyway. I'm convinced she does these things just to get to you, to be honest. I would just stop hanging out with her all together. All she does is stress you out about everything for no good reason. This is the year you exorcise all that negativity, lady, and Candace is a black hole of a human. Do not let Candace tell you when to have babies.
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.