• Wed, Feb 5 - 3:00 pm ET

I Had My Kids Close Together Because I Hate The Baby Stage

baby

I’m a mother of two, but I don’t really like babies. Don’t get me wrong—I loved both of my babies to death, and I definitely waxed poetic about their tiny hands, dribbly chins, and newborn-smelling heads.

But sometime in that first year, I began to subtly ask other friends with older kids the question, “Does it get better?”

The first six months of a baby’s life are Baby Boot Camp, no doubt about it. And just when you master a feeding, changing, and sleep schedule, the baby morphs into a demon spawn teething monster that cannot be satisfied from roughly 6 to 10 months. That was my experience with both of my sons, at least.

So, yes, babies are cute and oh-so-cuddly, but when the mobile toddler stage arrived at about one year, I wanted to jump for joy. I am still waiting for my second (and last) son to reach the one year mark, where we will then celebrate and smash all of his baby rattles with a giant hammer, Gallagher style, or something like that. Goodbye to babyhood forever!

Well before my husband and I had kids, we always talked about having kids close in age. There were several motivating factors. We figured that they could potentially be close to each other growing up (although I know it’s not a guarantee), and I would be able to get pregnancy out of the way. As I’ve already stated, pregnancy and tiny babies are not my favorite things in life.

Our initial life plan was to have three kids, boom boom boom. What a terrible idea. We shaved one imaginary kid off the list and went for two kids instead, 16 months apart. That was entirely on purpose, though I’m sure many people in our social circle raised an eyebrow when we announced pregnancy #2 so soon after our first son was born.

I do acknowledge that my husband and I have a really unique situation that makes the near “Irish twin” phenomenon totally doable in our house. We both work at home full-time, so we can juggle baby and toddler duty throughout the day. I might have reconsidered our master plan if I was a stay-at-home mom or working at home alone with two kids all day long.

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Moaning zombie baby that only uses his arms to crawl kind of freaks me out a bit. I’m picturing it: Chucky: The Teething. That’s some scary shit right there.

    • Bethany Ramos

      He is soooo scary! People on the phone say, “What is THAT?”

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Hahaha! My daughter used to sleepwalk (I think we discussed this yesterday) but she would run down the stairs completely wide eyed but 100% asleep and then stand still and SHAKE like an effing horror movie. My husband still occasionally scares me if we hear something move upstairs by whispering, “Oh my God, it’s her.” And then every sound I hear is potentially her coming. I cannot deal when she does that.

    • Bethany Ramos

      NOOOO hahaha. That’s way scary!

    • AnastasiaMcNally

      Nooooo this is seriously my biggest fear

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      When I typed that little story, it was full on daylight still. Not gonna lie, I was afraid :)

  • Lauren_Alli

    All this talk of babies is making me want another now. This is not okay.

  • Toaster

    Oh man, my 9-month old does the zombie crawl too. He actually uses just his left arm and sometimes accompanies this with a velociraptor-like hiss. I can’t wait until he can communicate like a people.

    Also SLEEP. We’re still in up-every-two-hours teething hell and I just wanted to get that out of the way for both kids ASAP.

    • val97

      My cat does that exact same crawl. It’s kind of creepy.

  • aCongaLine

    “I comforted myself with the fact that my one-year-old had no idea what was going on, so it really didn’t matter if I laid on the couch for hours and threw toys in his general direction instead of playing with him.”

    Yep. We did the same thing, for the same reason. 20 months apart. Now we’re talking #3, and we’ve decided to finish potty training with #1 before tossing the BC to the wind- because 3 in diapers is too many for me.

    The Baby Stage- getting it over all in one go was the smartest thing we did/are doing.

    • Bethany Ramos

      You feel me! And I bow to you on #3, we are not so brave…

  • Brittany Anne

    I’m currently pregnant with my second baby, and my two kids are going to be about sixteen months apart (we also did it on purpose, and for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned). It gives me great comfort that you did the same and seem to be happy and sane!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Congratulations! I’m really having an okay time with it, so you can be encouraged. :-) I’m thinking that if we did it on purpose, then it’s not so bad because we knew what we were getting into!

  • SDM14

    YES. I love my baby, but for me, older is better. I have a two-year-old and people constantly warned me that I would hate it when she crawled, walked, started talking back and being a terrible two. I always heard that sort of thing. “Oh, you’ll miss this stage when you’re chasing her around!” Not at all! I love every stage better than the last.
    My three-month-old is super sweet and an easy, good-natured baby but I’m still anxious for him to get older. I know how much better it will get. (Also, I’m insanely sleep-deprived and suffering from some postpartum blues, so it will be nice to get that behind me too).

  • Kate

    My kids are 16 months apart, and my youngest is now 10 months. Both my husband and I work full time, and we were still able to do it. And every time I get rid of a piece of baby equipment that I know I will NEVER need again… I just smile.

  • Katherine Handcock

    Seconded! My two are 22 months apart, and that was just about perfect as far as I was concerned! I think I would have gone crazy if my oldest was getting pretty independent and suddenly I was back to night wakings, diapers, etc.

    That said, I also know people who find dealing with a baby hard enough that they don’t want to deal with two. That’s good too. :-)

  • m00

    When our son arrived it rocked our world. He had life threatening gord (life threatening because he would aspirate and choke on his vomit). As well as dysphagia, tongue tie and overlapping parasomnia sleep disorders. Here in nz its very easy to slip through the cracks and subsequently we weren’t seen by a pediatrician until he was 16months. So up until that point life was a blur of trying to deal with a very sick baby who couldn’t sleep and struggled to keep food down with minimal medical support. We had no choice but to wait until our son was three and we were getting some sleep to try for another baby. We both work full time shift work. We got it in the ear something chronic about providing our boy with a playmate. We are looking forward to hopefully enjoying our baby who is due in may. We are looking forward to a straightforward infant to maybe make up for some of the devastation that came with our son. But who knows, it could be a repeat performance! Either way we are staying positive that we won’t hate the babystage this time around.

  • Guest 123

    I feel the same way! Mine are 22 months apart. I have two kids in diapers and I have to coordinate so sets of naps, but it was totally worth it! I already have my eye on a few baby items that can move on out of the door in the next couple of months.

  • CrushLily

    I’m quite the opposite. I wanted three years between my kids specifically because I wanted the first one independent. And I wanted some semblance of my life back for at least a year as I knew that I was never going to be cut out for the SAHM gig long-term.
    I just thought it would be so much easier dealing with a newborn when the first one can at least feed himself, clear the table, put the groceries away, kinda sorta get to the toilet on time and generally make himself useful by getting me the TV remote control on request and checking to see if the baby is awake. We’ll see how it works out. I’ve no doubt its a challenge for the first few months no matter what the age difference.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    lol my sister and I are 17 months apart (that was planned)….. and then we moved out within 2 months of each other! That was not planned. XD

    • Bethany Ramos

      Noooo now I’m sad again :(

  • anon

    mine are 15 months apart. one of our deciding factors is that then husband is five years older than me – we didn’t want him to be any older when the kids were around.

  • Andeli63

    We meant to have our kids close, boys 1&2 are 17 months apart.. then we moved before the try for #3, and an ectopic stretched the age difference to 4 years. Then we were done! Annndd.. no we weren’t– because along came #4 at 4 years again, so we run the gamut here. And the pros of the two so close– they ARE close, they really are best friends at ages 17.5 and 16. Con– They went through a TERRIBLE stage of fighting in early to mid elementary but after that–we were golden (#3 and 4 are still stuck there in the love/hate). But the upside to having a large age range— (9.5 and 8 years between the oldest two and youngest) is the big prize: LIVE IN BABYSITTERS! that rocks.

  • Courtney Lynn

    Mine are 15 months apart. I’m ready for my youngest to at least be 3.

  • Melissa

    Mine will be 21 months apart. Everyone keeps telling me how that’s the “perfect amount of time” between kids, but I’m really nervous about doing the newborn thing again in a few months, but this time with a crazy toddler running around!

    And for what it’s worth, I was laughing really hard about your husband’s poop situation, and then karma came around last night and we had a poopnado at our house too. In the hair (hers, not mine, thankfully), on the clothes (hers and mine), on the carpet, and somehow on the bathroom wall after I hosed her down in the shower. I completely freaked out. So let hubby know I felt his pain :-)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahaha poopnado! I will so pass the message along – sorry for your pain, but I now know it happens to the best of us. Poop smeared on the crib bars, poop in the bath, and more. :(

    • Melissa

      Whooops, I just realized I should have clarified in my post that I was referring to the story from your other article about your girls’ trip away from kids, and that it was not your husband’s poop situation per se, but your toddler’s :-)

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL! That’s how bad internet rumors get started.

    • Paul White

      OK now I’m less confused.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    You’re a braver woman than I, is what I’m going to say about this.

  • Angela

    I think that every parent has certain phases that they love more than others and at least one that they barely survive. Personally I loved the baby stage, especially the second time around as I was more relaxed. My favorite was around 6 months when they’re (generally) happy and bubbly but they haven’t really figured out get into stuff yet (both mine where somewhat slow to crawl).

    For me it’s toddlerhood that makes me break out in hives. The tantrums, potty training, the constant chasing, and having a house that constantly looks like a tornado struck it. Yeah, not my favorite. Sure they’re plenty cute but at age 4-5 they’re still pretty darn cute and a lot easier to manage.

  • MLSKC

    My younger sister and I are 18 months apart and have been inseparable since she was born. When I found out I was pregnant with #1 I thought I wanted that for mine. However, a bad round with preeclampsia scared me off pregnancy for awhile, then #1 had horrible colic. Those combined with sleep deprivation made me not want any more babies……until 8 years had passed and I changed my mind. Now #2 is nearly 1 and we’re discussing #3. That fear from #1 still lives in me, but I’m way more confident about the baby stage now.
    PS:#1 is an awesome kid (sweet, caring, smart, wacky, and creative) despite the Rocky start!

  • Lackadaisical

    I understand about wanting to get through baby and on to child. I loved my kids as babies but they were so much more fun when they developed personalities that were distinct from being a baby and when they gained enough intelligence and control over their bodies to manage rudimentary communication and play. My youngest is now 5 and I love having mini people with personalities and a will of their own.

    My kids have much bigger gaps between them, not through choice but the way things worked out. There are 3 years between each of my 3 kids and their next sibling which meant a long period of babies. I’ve loved it all but I must admit that when I finally got rid of nappies and potties I was thrilled.

  • Elizabeth

    My mom felt the same way. Hence my sister and I being 11 months apart. Growing up we fought a lot, like any siblings. But now we’re both in our early 20s and I couldn’t imagine having a closer friend. Since we we’re so close in age, our experiences growing up are nearly identical and we both rely on each other to “just get it” when we’re upset about something.

    We’re the ‘almost twins’ in our family. We even have a habit of staying the same thing but just a second off beat.

  • Rachelxoxo

    Yes! I’m totally the same! I’m about to have baby number 2 and my first is 16 months. I HATE the newborn phase, it’s so consuming and demanding! I’m loving the toddler age now and every day send to just get better/more fun. Not looking forward to going back to life with a newborn again, but I keep reminding myself that it’s just one year and then I never have to look back :)

  • Marie

    We did 16 months apart on purpose for almost the exact same reasons as the author. I know a lot of women who are happy to drag the whole pregnancy/baby stage out and just take things slow, but I was like, “Let’s get this thing done!” And now that they’re five and almost four I don’t regret a thing. I actually don’t think close in age is any harder than a 2-3 year gap. By about four they are finally getting a little less needy, but I found my kids to be just as demanding at three than they were as toddlers. It’s not like a three year old is going to be any more sensitive to mommy’s needs than a one year old is for the most part. So unless you’re willing to wait five years or so between kids, there’s really no point in putting off number two until things get “easier” in my opinion. And then what if the baby’s starving and needs to nurse right when it’s time for kindergarten pick up? Or she’s just fallen asleep after hours of fussing and it’s time to head to soccer practice? I know lots of parents manage mixed age families just fine, but that seems way harder to me than two under 18 months. We had a stage when the whole household could revolve around a baby and toddler’s schedule, then we moved on.
    But I hadn’t thought about them both leaving so close together. I guess I lucked out with that, though. One of my kids was born just before the year’s cutoff for school and one just after, so they’ll be two years apart in school, so at least I’ll have two years between high school graduations!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Good point – we were still using the same baby schedule for both the baby and toddler, and it made it a lot easier!

  • guest

    The term “Irish twins”=racist.

  • Aussiemum

    My sisters boys are 14 months apart and are great kidlets. Total opposites! But the best of friends and I’m kinda jealous that I didn’t think of it first!
    My 3 eldest are exactly 2.5 years apart. And then a 4 yr gap to the littlest one. It’s alright I guess, but everyone is just at that age that I would absolutely love to snot each kid right in the nose! Although I’m not sure that, even if they were closer together in age, they’d get along better.

  • Melanie Black

    The only flaw in her logic is assuming they’ll have empty nest in 18 years..for some, it takes much longer. So she may not have to worry it about it as soon as she thinks.

    • Guest

      And they could totally leave and vastly different times. (Unless on the 18th bday she gives them a swift kick out the front door :-P )

  • Guest

    I could never understand the folks I knew popping kids out wham bam like that. I just thought that was a lot of pregnancy in a short amount of time. Now, I’m like hey…that seems like a pretty good idea. I intend to stay at home with my kids (and currently I’d like several) so I don’t want it to end up being 10 years because I spread each one out so much.

  • Amanda

    Mine are 11 months apart. It wasn’t planned that way (I sobbed when I found out I was already preggo after just having a baby three months prior). Seriously, God was laughing at me. Now that we are past the baby/toddler blur and have hit the preschool years, I am so, so glad they are close in age. They are almost on the same track developmentally so they have the same likes and dislikes. Some days totally blow, like today when they both used the same cuss word at preschool, but I have to say that if I was given I choice, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.