Two Under Two

Posted by  | Friday, August 1, 2008  at 10:00 PM  

There was a piece in Chicago Parent last month about the growing number of families who have two children under the age of two. Since I find myself in this category, I thought I would tell you all about the pros and cons of having two children close in age. I hope this helps shed some light for any of you who are considering when to add a second child to the mix. My boys are 19 months apart – Samuel will be 2 on August 22 and Joel is 4 ½ months.

Pro: My boys are already starting to be “buddies.” Samuel will sit next to Joel on the couch and say “Sammy, Jo-Jo, Buddies.” It seriously melts my heart each time. And the first time Joel giggled was when I put him in the bathtub with Samuel.
Con: Okay, people, two under two is A LOT of work! It seems someone is always needing to be held or fed or changed or what-have-you. They keep me very busy.
Pro: I am getting the diaper phase of life over with sooner. I know a lot of people count two in diapers as a con, but for me it’s not that bad. Two in cloth makes a load of laundry faster and I figure I’ll be done with diapers sooner than if the boys were more spaced out.
Con: I don’t feel like I spend super quality time with either boy. This is probably THE hardest part about having two close in age. A newborn is just a lot of work (especially if they are high-need like Joel). I have to put so much attention to caring for Joel and carrying him around that a lot of time Samuel gets short-changed. And then I also find it hard to just lay around and play and coo with Joel like I did with Samuel. I know it will get better once Joel is a little older, but for now this is a hard part for me to deal with.
Pro: I’m not out of practice with dealing with a newborn. I just did all of this 19 months ago, so I can remember all the tricks and whatnot from before.
Pro: All the baby clothes are still in style! This is a silly one, but using our clothes over again saves us a ton of money and I like the looks of them.
Pro: The boys will only be one year apart in school. I hope that they will be good friends and spend a lot of time with each other. They will get to grow up together a lot more than children who are more spaced out.
Pro: I have only had three periods since November of 2005! This is a definite pro to me. Even though I was still nursing, I got my period back when Samuel was 6 months old. After 3 months, I was pregnant again. I’m not sure when it will come back again or how long I will go before getting pregnant again. But it sure is nice to not have to deal with that!

All in all, I am so thankful for the boys that the Lord has blessed us with. He is sovereign and knows what’s best for our family. We are very thankful to have our boys close in age. It is definitely a lot of work and there are some days where I have to just shut my mouth and pray to the Lord to help me through, but I suppose that’s what God wants from me.

I also need to put a big asterisk in here and say that my job is much, MUCH easier because of my husband. Ed doesn’t go into work until 3:00, so he is there to help me throughout the day – diaper changes, naps, snacks, lunch, etc. And he also comes home on his lunch hour to eat dinner with us and help me put the boys to bed. Wow! This is such a help to me. Really, I am only on my own with the boys for about an hour in the morning before he gets up and then for about 3 hours in the afternoon. This has most assuredly been the biggest reason I’ve survived two under two.


Erica W said...

I totally know how you feel! My daughters are 13 months apart and my 2nd & 3rd are 18 months apart. So when my son was born in November I had a 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. It was a busy time. I just kept life simple and didn't plan too many activities where we had to be out early, as I knew that was too much. I went EVERYWHERE with my Joovy sit'n'stand stroller (still do) and my baby in the baby bjorn. That way I could move everyone around and have all 3 strapped in somehow.
We are back overseas now and I don't go out too much on my own with the 3 - in fact not too much at all. I will wait until my husband gets home and then leave him with a sleeping baby and just take the girls out to run errands.
It is sure a HUGE challenge sometimes, but yea, I love watching them play together. Already the girls are wanting to do their own thing and my 8 month old son is 'getting in the way'.
There are many days that I spend nap time/quiet time praying for patience (that's the biggest) and for a good attitude, and wisdom. I always come away from those times refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. I also have told my husband that he must be available to help between 4:30-8:30 - or as soon as he can get home. That way I can get dinner ready and we can have some family time before bed.
Knowing what I know now I love having our kids close together in age. While we didn't plan it, we are super thankful.
I do sometimes wish I could have had a little more time to figure out the 'being a mom' thing after my first was born, before I was once again hit with morning sickness and out of commission for a few months. But, I know that the Lord planned our family the way He wanted and I just trust that He will take over for me when I have an overwhelmed moment! I must say though, that the older my girls get the easier it gets. They are able to do so much more at 2 & 3 and are more and more helpful! And they are all so much fun! What a blessing!


Robin Baker said...

I have 2 boys 20 months apart and I give a big Amen to that! It was a whirlwind the first 6 months and I don't recall much, but it's getting easier and they LOVE eachother like I never could've immagined. I wouldn't do it again (have the third 20 months after the 2nd) but more power to you if you can just keep on going. They are buddies!

Z, T, K, & baby B said...

This was very encouraging as we're expecting our 2nd son in a few weeks (they'll be 16 months apart)! As erica w said, this was not in our plan either! But we are so excited to be able to watch the boys grow into best friends (Everyone who has "advice" has promised me this would happen!! lol) I am nervous, as the one staying home with them how the transition will go, but still looking forward to it! ...a request - more posts on "close in agers" would be awesome!!! ;-)

noahandlylasmommi said...

thanks for sharing that! sounds like you have an amazing husband!!!

The Eckerts said...

I think it's so neat how similar our boys are. Our oldest is Samuel who just turned two 2 weeks ago and our youngest is Joseph, who Samuel calls Jo-Jo. How precious!

I completely agree with your pros and cons. Joseph is very high need, but is getting so much more independent each day. Even though I absolutely love having children, I am definitely not ready for another one quite yet. I sure hope the Lord agrees :)

Christy said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It is so nice having the boys so close in age. Mine are twelve months and nine days apart. My only problem is that my youngest is growing faster than my oldest. My Asa was wearing nine month sizes until he was close to fifteen months old. My Eli is almost nine months old and moving into twelve month sizes already which I have virtually no summer clothes for that size. I already see my boys growing into great friends. Sometimes I think Eli lights up more when he sees Asa than when he sees my husband or me. And yes having your husband around to help with things is wonderful. My husband started working third shift about two months before my youngest was born. When he gets home in the mornings, he gets them up and gets them fed and ready for the day. After we have lunch my husband goes to bed for a six hours or so then gets up to help with dinner and getting the boys around for bed. We put Eli down and then spend some alone time with Asa. After this he will take Asa in and lie down with him and get a little nap in before he has to go to work. This so far has worked really well for us. I was worried about being alone all night with the boys when Eli was first born. Things were a bit rough at first until I found a rhythm. Once we found out Eli was lactose intolerant he became a total different baby. He slept sounder was super smiley and rarely cried. He is still like this now. Asa is my more needy child and he is the one that I need to focus more attention on throughout the day.

Another thing that has helped me to get through is thinking about my sister who now has five children ages 5.25, 3.75, 2.25, 1, and 3weeks. I really wonder how she does it sometimes, especially since her husband works first shift. It is definitely something that the Lord helps us through and provides what we need when we need it. Trusting in Him is the one thing that really gets me through those hard times even when I struggle and question His ways.

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Thanks for all the advice & encouragement everyone!

Our 2nd is due 12/1 and Carli will be 2 on 9/27!

We are excited and a little nervous.

Check out our blog...


Ross and Shannon said...

Thanks for the post! As you know, my Luke and David are almost exactly the same ages as Samuel and Joel. I will agree that the work load seems constant and the quantity/quality of attention that each one gets is different and somtimes minimal or strained, BUT in God's sovereignty he decided to bless me with my two boys up to the very seconds that they are apart in age. I often find myself trying to "decide" when would be the "best" time to "plan" another one, but I am quickly reminded that God is the giver of life and children are a blessing. Often the world looks at having children close together in age as unwise, financially a burden, not "fair" for the other child, etc...if it truly were my choice, I know I would "mess it up" but since it is not, I have to the two greatest blessings in addition to Ross. How awesome. Thanks for sharing!!!
Shannon Bradley

markandmeg said...

Thanks for the post! I will have 2 under 2 in January and am so excited about it but definitely wanting advice :) So I really appreciate your pros and cons and will be praying about how to deal with them.
Meagan DeLong

Shannon said...

Yay! I have two girl who are 15 months apart, and until Maggie had her birthday recently, they were both under the age of 2! Yes, it is a tremendous amount of work. But I would do it this way every time. I think the pros of having them this close far outweigh the cons.
Although, I may be re-thinking that this week as my husband starts a new job working 60 hours a week - 8am to 8pm mon-fri. Please pray for me!!!!

Bruce said...

God is so gracious to His children! I have 3 children under 3 (2.5, 1.5 and newborn) and absolutely love it! Can't wait for # 4 and #5 and beyond! We all know what a huge joy children are, but how often do we take the time (or have the time) to realize the personal benefits we reap b.c of our kids (regardless of how many and how close in age they are).

First and foremost children draw you closer to God. When all 3 kids are crying, and there is no person to run to (my husband works very hard so that I can stay home, so I can't readily call on him for relief, which is a good thing!) where can you go, but to your knees and call upon the Lord. Also, we desire to train up our children in godliness, so I find myself studying more and memorizing more scripture in order to equip my children. Young children are sponges and are very capable of learning and memorizing. My 2.5 little girl knows her catechisms and several bible verses, and of course lots of songs and stories and my 1.5 little boy is anxious to keep up with his sissy. So start early teaching God's Word! And who can forget about selflessness! A good mother is a servant to her family in every way from household chores to playtime to sleepless nights to nursing (that's a big one for me right now...I have never desired a glass of milk more in my entire life, but I just can't b.c of my baby's stomach!).

Secondly, time management skills must improve or you will flounder. With each child my housekeeping skills improved. Since having baby #3 5 weeks ago, my house has never been cleaner! I say this not to boast in myself, but in the Lord, for He has so patiently worked on me in this area over the last couple of years. Taking the time to train children to pick up toys and organize their things so that they know exactly where they go is essential, otherwise the house will be messy and stressful. Also schedule feeing babies is very important to maintaining peace in the home and balancing time.

Third, 3 children under 3 has helped my husband and I to better live out our biblical roles. Since I've been pregnant/nursing for so long, I have not been able to work outside the home (nor do I want to!) so my husband works 2 jobs to provide (diapers aren't cheap you know!). He is the sole provider and leader and I am his helpmate managing the home. I literally do all the housework inside and out, not b.c he won't or can't, but b.c he shouldn't have to. He does randomly do things for me and the kids often like cook dinner or give baths, but he does it b.c he wants to, not b.c he has to. Your husband should not come home to a chaotic house and relieve's your God given role to deal with the crying babies (day or night) and dirty dishes.

Fourth, it has helped me to realize what is really important as we teach and train our children. The bulk of our "family time" is spent at church events. I love that we are living out what we are teaching our children - love Jesus and serve the body of Christ. We have lots of "parties" (aka church fellowships), which my little girl thinks are the best thing in the world and want to "party" everyday! Also, reading one more story before bedtime or a trip to the playground are such small, easy ways to spend time with your children and show them they are important to you. I choose to spend my time playing with my children rather than perfecting my hair and eyeliner. My little girl (2.5) tells me almost everyday , "Mommy, you look pretty." Not b.c of my clothes, makeup, or hairstyle, but simply b.c I'm her mommy. Hearing her sweet little voice say that as she runs to hug me makes the stretch marks and circle under my eyes fade away, and I really do feel pretty b.c of her!

I think there are a lot of benefits to having children close together, and while it is not easy, it is def worth it! I'll stop rambling now (I could go on and on).

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