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.
But so far, the “get ‘er done” plan is going swimmingly. Not everyone is cut out for it, I know that. I also understand that pregnancy isn’t magic, and it takes many people much longer to get pregnant, if at all. I totally feel for women in that situation because some of our relatives have struggled with infertility, and it is heartbreaking.
So I’m not looking a gift horse (baby horse?) in the mouth since reproduction isn’t always so easy. But I am saying that if I had a choice in the matter, which I did, I would never have the patience to wait several years or more between kids. No, no, no, no.
In my world, that would mean that the baby stage was extended much longer than it needed to be. I can only imagine sending a five-year-old off to school with a huge pregnant belly and months of exhaustion ahead of me.
I was not a very pleasant pregnant person, especially the second time around. 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. A five-year-old or even a seven-year-old would probably notice and have something to say about it.
One of the ways that I have been able to cope with the many changes of being a parent is that I’m focused completely on babyhood and toddlerhood and haven’t thought of the next stage yet. That works well for me. In my mind, I can go hard on baby and toddler-rearing, and then once they reach school age together, I can reassess and readjust my parenting approach once again.
There is one drawback to my awesome parenting plan of having kids very close in age: They’ll both move out of the house at the same time! Maybe some parents consider this another advantage. But after I had both of my kids and realized how much I loved them, I was like, DAMNIT! We are for sure going to have an empty nest in 18 years with no kids at home. That makes me all kinds of sads.
Still, I wouldn’t have done anything different. Babies are cute and adorable, but I can’t wait until my second son stops teething because then he will stop following me through the house like a moaning zombie baby that only uses his arms to crawl. Compared to this, toddlerhood is bliss.
(photo: Getty Images)