Home > Advice > Baby > Mind the Gap – The Unexpected Joys Of Having Children 10 Years Apart

I’m going to say something that totally contradicts the theme of this article, but I’ve always felt that the perfect age gap between children for me is five years. For years my hubby and I worked on the assumption that we’d have 2.0 kids with a five gap, which would make the job of looking after two young children slightly easier, not to mention our children would be close enough in age to experience their formative years together.

This all sounds well and good in theory, but when it came to real life application of said theory, by the time my firstborn son was five I was in no way prepared to have another baby. I had just landed my dream job, my hubby and I were beginning to enjoy a social life again after emerging from the fog of sleepless nights and dirty nappies, and my young boy was a happy, well-adjusted and sociable child who had many friends and cousins to keep him occupied.

A few years later though I started to feel the pang of broodiness, and a few years after that boy number two came along. Whenever I meet people and tell them about the ages of my boys’ I’m often presented with audible gasps and questions on how things are working out in terms of the dynamics within our family. The simple answer is: pretty damn good. Having a sizable age gap was no way planned, but it has revealed quite a few unexpected positives which I’ve outlined below:

Very few sibling squabbles

My brother and I are barely two years apart and although we were super close when we were growing up, I remember our relationship was littered with incessant arguments and petty squabbles (my poor mother). While my 15-year-old and 5-year-old do argue on occasion, they are really tepid affairs in comparison. In fact, my eldest often finds himself in fits of laughter mid-argument as his younger sibling tries to square up to him and assert himself as if they were peers. The upside of this simply means it’s less time hubby and I have to spend playing referee – result!!!

My Youngest is Gifted With a Role Model Big Bro

It’s not unusual to find myself getting all emosh and misty eyed when I see my oldest boy acting as a role model to his little brother. Whether it’s tying his durag night-time hair attire to keep his braids looking fresh, reading him a bedtime story, or even just offering an anecdote on how he overcame obstacles like being afraid of the dark when he was the same age, having quite a vast age gap means my youngest son receives strong brotherly guidance and has someone he can constantly turn to for advice.

Easier on your finances

We all know that childcare in the early years is truly expensive in the UK, so I have no qualms in admitting that having a 10-year breather between children has helped exponentially when it comes to our finances. Not having to pay for two sets of childcare fees as well as other costly items that is part and parcel of the early child years is certainly a much-welcomed benefit.

More emotionally prepared

It was only while recently reflecting on becoming a mother again after having a 10-year break that it occurred to me how much more emotionally and mentally prepared I was the second time around. I’ve grown so much as a woman within those 10 years, and feel more at ease within myself, not to mention I feel more confident, more established in my career, more financially secure, and better equipped to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of parenthood, especially having weathered the storm with my firstborn who is now in his teens and making the journey into young adulthood himself.

Extra pair of hands

This one may be a bit of a controversial one, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you enlist your eldest child to become some sort of substitute parent. However, I’d be being totally disingenuous if I didn’t admit that having a capable and responsible child at hand is really, really helpful when it comes to assisting hubby and I with basic childcare duties. I’m not talking anything major here, I’m talking things like big bro fixing a bowl of cereal for little brother in the mornings, helping with the bedtime routine from time to time, or looking after him when I pop down the road to the local shops if I’ve forgotten the onions.

No hand me downs or fisty cuffs over trainers

Most children aren’t particularly enthusiastic about receiving hand me downs. I can recall my mum palming off my brother’s plimsoles on a few occasions much to my chagrin, but that was pretty much it due to us being different genders. Because of the 10-year gap between my pregnancies, I didn’t have many clothes to hand down once my second boy came along. And thankfully, rows about who stole whose trainers, caps, jeans etc will be non-existent in our household in years to come.

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