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The third child question & age gaps


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#1 veggiepatchfamily

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:33 AM

Hi everyone!
I'm sure this has been done 1000 times but I wanted to ask again a little more specific to my situation.

We currently have 2 little boys. 3 y 4 months & 6 months.
DH and I are stuck in a place of what to do as far as having a third.
I know we would love our child so that's not an issue.
The concerns I have are

How much harder financially have you found it? As I am a mum who has to work to make ends meet (6 months off each baby) sending more then 1-2 children to childcare seems kind of pointless as it will take up lots of my wage. (We live a long way from dependable family so no option there).

We have a commodore and live in a little/medium 3 bedroom house (on 15 acres), would we need to upgrade house or car?

The other question really pushing me is 'when'???

The boys were 3 years apart as we had a miscarriage in between.
But it has worked for us, ie DS1 is toilet trained, sleeping through etc.

However I worry about their ages growing up as 3 years is quite a lot (as I am one of 4 under 5).
I thought maybe if we have another 18 months after the second maybe that will help bring them and ages closer together?
However financially for us it makes more sense to wait (another 3 year age gap) so DS1 is in school, but then that's 6 years between oldest and youngest.
How do your kids play together/share interests? My sisters two are 16 month apart boy and girl and play really well together.
Also how did it all work out once they are teenagers? 18 & 12 sounds like a huge gap!!

Please tell me about your family dynamics with children's age gaps, or even your own siblings.
My 3 sisters and I are very very close! DH who is one of 3 but they were all 7 years apart are only getting close now they are all older.

I know it's a very personal decision and no one can make it for me, but I'd love to know the issues around age gaps. Or how mothers feel who just decided not to have a third (as that would make life much easier and we could start getting stuff back together -ie financial).

Hope that all makes sense. Typing on iPhone as I put DS2 to sleep.

Thanks!!



#2 ~polly~

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

QUOTE (veggiepatchfamily @ 13/12/2012, 09:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The other question really pushing me is 'when'???

However I worry about their ages growing up as 3 years is quite a lot (as I am one of 4 under 5).

Please tell me about your family dynamics with children's age gaps, or even your own siblings.
My 3 sisters and I are very very close! DH who is one of 3 but they were all 7 years apart are only getting close now they are all older.


I dont have kids yet so cant comment on your other questions.  In terms of age gaps, this comes from my experience and observations with DH's family.

There is no easy answer - it depends on the children and their personalities and its something you cant predict.  Ive seen sisters close in age be best friends and brothers close in age barely talk to each other but brothers 6 years apart be really close.

Sorry this is not much help.  But what Im trying to say is dont have kids close in age assuming they will be friends.  If it makes mores sense to wait another 3 years, then I would do that.

Edited by Pippa26, 13 December 2012 - 08:49 AM.


#3 Soontobegran

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:49 AM

It is a tough one because if we had spaced our babies when it was the best time financially for us we probably would have never had more than one. sad.gif

I know times have changed but I was also working and really needed to be working when we had our children and having them meant we lived on the smell of an oily rag.

Going from 2-3 was actually pretty calm and easy for us in terms of physically managing and DD1 was only 2.5  and DD2 1.5 when our 3rd was born but I did have to go back to work very soon after the birth, much sooner than I actually would have chosen to.
Our 3rd was our most mellow baby , she just slotted in very easily but we did have to trade in our car to a people mover which was also an expense that put us more in the red.

There are so many things that can be worried about that actually may not become a problem for you so it really does depend on how much as a couple you want a third child how you move forward.
I think the decision also should be guided by how much you desire to be back at work and whether your career will take a beating by being away for an extended period.

Lots of luck for your decision OP.

#4 mumto3princesses

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:51 AM

Hi, I have 1 sister and we are really close. We are 4 years apart.

I don't think 3 years is all that much really. 6 years might seem like a lot at first and sure 18 and 12 sounds like a big difference but when they are say 20 and 14 it would be different. 12 or 13 is a hard age no matter how old their sibling is LOL.

There is a 4.5yr gap between DD#1 and my twins. We didn't plan it that way but it just didn't happen until then even though we started trying again when DD#1 was 11 months old. They are close. Sure DD#2 and DD#3 seem to have a special bond but they are both close to their big sister in their own way. DD#1 and DD#3 are more alike in personalities and like the same types of things while DD#1 and DD#2 both have a love of gymnastics and share that together.

#5 belindarama

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:55 AM

IME close age gaps don't guarantee closeness later. Teenagers close in age can be a bit of problem with competitiveness and being too much in each other's business.

In my family and DH's the larger age gaps led to better relationships later.

DH and his sister are 18 months apart, fought like cats and dogs as teenagers and still not close. They are both closer to their younger brother who is quite a bit younger.

My 2 sisters don't get along well at all. Again it is rooted in animosity as teenagers and a small age gap.  Both get along better with me and a 5 and 3.5 year age gap.

Both my sisters spaced their children the same distance as they are from me! One sisters children are 19 and 22 and get along really well and always have. The other two are 16 and 11 and also get along well.

I have a 3.5 year age gap. This was for my sanity and to avoid the problems we have both seen in our own families. My boys actually play really nicely together despite the age gap. If we have a third there will be a similar gap and a 7 year gap from oldest to youngest.  I am ok with that.

#6 Jess1308

Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:59 AM

We are starting to try for our third this month. DS is 2yrs4mth DD is 9mth. The age gap we had between ours worked well, even though it was a challenge. I am lucky that I am not returning to work. I personally don't want to wait for a number of reasons my age being primary (and yes I know 34 is not that old, but for me I don't want to be having babies in my late 30's), I would like to have my child bearing days finished (although I like being pregnant) and I am of the school of thought to go hard now whilst we are in baby mode. Both my husband and I are of sibships of two so having three is going to be all new! Good luck and have fun with whatever you decide.

#7 my serenity

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

My kids are 15 13 and 6 I preferred the massive age gap We have a commodore, a small house with little space outside The boys  have been sharing a room since they were 6 and 4 we havnt had too many issues, as for space it's just a matter of getting rid Of things they really don't use or need, if my 3rd had been a boy the two youngest would have shared. If its a matter of three carseats you can get 3 in a commodore but it's a tight squeeze , with my age gap this wasn't an issue. Financially it's harder now boys are teenagers than when they were younger because of the grocery bill and high school expenses and activities.and the rate at which they are outgrowing clothes and shoes!!!! The upside my boys love their little sister they all get along and she loves having her big brothers. They can help with watching her occasionally and my oldest uses her as an excuse to play in the playground with her.  She has lots Of older kids in her life who are great role models and love to spend time with her.  She's a confident outgoing child with adults and kids alike and the bOnd between them is beautiful. I imagine with 3 kiddies in child care you would be working to pay for the care. You may find you will need a bigger car with more space I dont think you need a bigger house, remembering that by the time kids are in highschool they don't need inside play space as such. But the space outside original.gif Good luck with your decision original.gif



#8 ~Mo+Moosh~

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:12 AM

Our third child is only 9 months old so I don't think we've fully experienced the impact financially of having three kids as he is breastfeed and we have reused a lot of our clothing etc from the older 2.

There is 3 years between the first 2 and they are either great mates or fighting just depends on the day. There is 2 years 3 months between the next 2 and I'm not sure how well they will get along as yet. So far it seems as though the oldest and youngest are drawn together. And I know in my own family I am the second of 4 children and there is 6 years between me and my next sister and she is truely one of my dearest friends (mind you I hated her passionately until she was about 17  laughing2.gif) . My sister who is 3 years older is not as close to me. I am also quite close with my sister who is 8 years younger and have been her whole life.

The age gaps has worked well for us though. Oldest is at school (although that doesn't actually make logistics any easier!). Second toilet trained shortly after baby arrived so really only had 2 in nappies for a very short while.

I have a great professional career so I have returned to work part time about 6 months after each baby has been born. Two in daycare is expensive but we are still in front having me work. I had intended to have a full 12 months off this time but work asked me to come back in whatever capacity I could manage so I have been doing 2 short days a week, with the help of my sister looking after the youngest. I return 3 days after Christmas.

We currently have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 living room house and we are starting to feel quite cramped and the house feels cluttered (which does my head in), so we are looking to sell and upgrade in the next 6-12 months, hopefully we can stay in the same area as we are currently only 1 block away from school and its great being able to walk to drop off/pick up etc.



#9 RealityBites

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:13 AM

I have 5 year age gaps between all my kids, so I don't think 3years is a huge gap!

#10 threetimesblessed

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:21 AM

The age gaps between my children are 3y 2m between DS1 & 2 and 4 yrs between DS2 & 3.
The first age gap was decided for us as we had some difficulty conceiving DS2.
The second age gap was due to a number of factors: DS2's medical needs with GORD, wanting DS1 to be at school, moving to a larger house and upgrading cars before even TTC our 3rd child.

I'm happy with our age gaps. DS1 & 2 play well together. DS2 does miss DS1 when he is at school but he now has DS3 to play with. DS1 loves being the one to teach the other two things.

Considering your age and DS2 being 6 months, I would wait.

Like PP have said, age gaps don't really determine whether siblings will be great friends. My DH and his brother are 3 years apart and not particularly great friends simply because they are just very different people. My brother and I are 23 months apart and good friends.


#11 veggiepatchfamily

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

Thanks for some great responses!

Jess - I too used to think have kids close together and get out of that baby stage as soon as possible, but I am really enjoying each stage of my kids and don't want to miss it or just cope with it because I am too tired or rushed. (That's as I don't think I cope too well with sleep deprivation  happy.gif )

And by having a bigger gap I don't need two of anything, cots and cloth nappies).

I am a nurse and midwife and studying Masters of nursing, child, family and community so I will be a health nurse at the end of next year. I don't think time away impacts my career really.
The thing I struggle with most is I am a breadtfeeding mumma and find returning to work at 6 month difficult and sad! And challenging this time as DS2 will not take a bottle, despite multiple try's!!

It sounds like the age gap works for people! And I truely think I would prefer a larger age gap then no third child at all.

I think I am/was leaning towards another 3 year gap but really wanted some reassurance that it will work out and the kids will still be good friends with common interests (which if we have a boy next will be even easier).
I hadn't thought about the competitiveness between sibling close in age through high school as it didn't seem to be a big issue with my sister and me, but when I think about other around me I have seen it a lot.

Thank so much everyone! Now to go convince dh to wait  huh.gif


#12 Natttmumm

Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

Our third is due in 2 months time. My girls are aged 5 and 3. In hindsight it would have been easier to wait another yr so that DD1 would be settled into school, DD2 would be at preschool and I would be able to spend time focusing on the baby.

The way it is at the moment - baby is due just as DD1 starts school - she is anxious about it but I feel i cant devote the time she needs as I still have DD2 around and im really tired from the pregnancy - doing my best

DD2 is 3 so doesnt need to go to preschool yet - so she will be be with me full time. the preschool she will go to the year is close to work not home so no point her going now as its too far and i cant justify the money.
All that being said - the age gap is good because they understand they need to wait, both TT, eat them selves etc.

I think 18 mth gap for a third would be very hard for me!!

#13 kpingitquiet

Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:00 AM

My mom and 1st aunt are super close, talking daily on FB/phone/Words-with-friends despite living 2 states apart. They are 2yrs apart and regularly tried to murder each other as kids/teens.

My uncle and 2nd aunt are super close. They are 5 years apart and live approx 15 mins away from each other (much rarer in the US than here!)

My mom and 2nd aunt are super close, talking daily, visiting 3-5 times per year, despite living 4 states apart. They are 12 years apart.

Getting the picture? original.gif Basically, any combo works in their family and when 2nd aunt (youngest) was born, the other kids were 12, 10, and 5.

My dad is 3 years younger than his brother. They hate each other.

My cousins are 4 years apart and get along beautifully. Other cousins are 5.5 years apart and don't have much in common and annoy the crap out of each other but have serious sisterly love going on.

My half-sister and I weren't even raised together and we have tons in common at 5 years (almost to the day) apart.

Pretty much, personality is the key, along with parenting. My grandparents (mom's) were really hardcore about Family Comes First and it shows in how my mom and her sibs relate to each other as adults. My dad was raised in a travelling military family with grandpa gone a LOT and grandma constantly feeling frazzled with the natural sibling tensions that arise, so she just did the best she could but didn't realize dad was being bullied by uncle. This shows in their relationship (non-existent, as it is) now.

#14 sophiasmum

Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

OP I can't tell you what you should do. But this is our situation. Financially it has not been that much harder. As children grow, their interests & possessions become more expensive, so even if you had 1 child you would probably overcompensate by putting them in 2 or 3 activities each week and buying them more stuff because you can afford to. With 3 we spread it out more.

I had 2 in child care for a couple of years & 1 at school, then 2 at school & 1 in preschool.

I had 2 yrs age gap between my first 2, which was crazy looking back, but you get through it.

I had 3 yrs age gap between my 2nd & 3rd, and that was lovely. He was more independent & able to be left in the other room for periods while I was settling bub. The only thing that was hard was the school drop offs & pick up, coordinating with sleeps & feeds. But that period is over after a few months.

We didn't change cars, although we would like a 7 seater eventually to allow for extra passengers/friends.

We have a 4brm house so each have their own room which I love, just before DD2 was born we extended to add a 2nd living area & later added a shower to the laundry so it's like a 2nd bathroom, another must-have for a family of 5.

Any other Qs just ask.

#15 livvie7586

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

QUOTE (Natttmumm @ 13/12/2012, 10:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Our third is due in 2 months time. My girls are aged 5 and 3. In hindsight it would have been easier to wait another yr so that DD1 would be settled into school, DD2 would be at preschool and I would be able to spend time focusing on the baby.


See, we'll have your 'hindsight' gap.  DS1 will be in yr 1 and DD will be in preschool when DS2 arrives, which gives me a couple of days a week for it just to be DS2 and me, a couple of days with DD thrown in to the mix, and then the weekends with everyone.

OP i can't comment yet, i'm only 25 weeks pregnant with #3, but we're going to have a 4.5 year gap between #2 and #3 (6.5 years between #1 and #3).  i think the only time it's really hit me just how big a gap it's going to be is when i worked out DS1 will be starting high school the year DS2 starts school.


#16 Julie3Girls

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

I've got 3 girls, age 11, 9 and 6 (so a 2.5yr gap, then a 2yr 9mth gap), so 5 years between oldest and youngest.
It has worked wonderfully for us. At 2.5yrs, I've only even had one child in nappies. The cot was available as I moved the older girls out of the cot when they turned 2.
I've only ever had 2 in care - DD1 was still in preschool when DD3 was born, but I'd pulled DD2 out of childcare as I was having 12 months maternity leave.  By the time I was going back to work, DD1 was in school.  I actually loved those first few months, being able to have all 3 of my girls at home (DD1 was only in preschool 2 days a week).
In terms of the kids getting on, it's worked wonderfully with the girls. Part of that though is simply due to shared interests and personalities. I know plenty of 11 year olds who wouldn't get on nearly as well with a 6 yr old original.gif

House and car ... Kids can share a bedroom. The rest ... dpends on how your house is set up, the living space, the way the family uses the living space. You are on a large property, so you have space options there if you discover things are simply too crowded.
Car - you have a commodore, they can usually fit three seats. It's easier to fit 3 carseats/boosters when you have a rear facing seat as well.

Other expenses .. the only really big issues I can see are things like extracurricular activities - having to pay for 3. This can be solved by limiting them a bit more than you would if you only had one child for example. Then again, you could end up with kids who aren't really into much, or have inexpensive activites original.gif  Schooling can be a cost factor if you are planning on using private schools.  And I also think holidays can be an issue too - it's actually really annoying how much more it can be to take 3 kids on holidays rather than 2. A lot of places are set up for a family of 4, not 5, so you have to upgrade to a more expensive family room, or a bigger cabin etc etc.

Love love love having 3.

#17 laridae

Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:46 PM

My parents had:
My older brother, then 15 months later, my sister, then 5 years later, me, then 7 1/2 years later, my younger brother.

Growing up I was closest with my older brother. I didn't have a lot in common with my sister, but my brother and I got up to all sorts of mischief.

My older brother & sister moved out when I was about 14, so my younger brother was about 5.  He gets along best with our sister - probably because he and I annoyed each other too much as kids, whereas our sister wasn't there constantly and just did more fun stuff with him.

Now we are all adults and get along pretty well, and all kind of at the same phase of our lives (older brother & sisters kids are about the same age, mine only a little younger, and my younger brother will probably have some before too long as well).

So I don't think age gaps count for much.

If I have more - I would be having at least 3 years between.  I enjoy being able to spend one-on-one time with my child, I don't think they would get that it I had them close together.

#18 mumto3princesses

Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

Gosh I would have loved one-on-one time with DD#2 & DD#3. I didn't get that obviously with them being twins. LOL

With the house and car it really all depends on what works for you. We were actually in a 2 bedroom unit for years and only moved about 16 months ago into a small 3 bedroom house with a nice big backyard. The girls bedrooms are small but after sharing for years DD#1 thinks its great having a room to herself and doesn't really care that its small. It fits a single bed, bedside drawers and a small desk so she's fine. And car wise I think a commodore should be fine. We only have 1 in a booster and just bought a Mazda 3 hatch and love it.

As Julie3Girls said the extracurricular activities can end up being expensive depending on what their interrests are. But there are ways around it. DD#1 and DD#2 love gymnastics and train at 2 different youth clubs rather than big expensive gyms. Its much cheaper going through a youth club. (DD#3 does gymnastics too but just recreationally and just at one place)

Edited by mumto3princesses, 13 December 2012 - 01:10 PM.


#19 RogzCilla

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

My DH is the eldest of 3 with a 3 year gap to his sister and then his brother came along only 13 months later. The sister and brother have always had a closer relationship to each than they have with DH but I think that is more related to personalities than age gap. On the other hand, the sister and brother have had several very large fights which have ended in years of not talking to each other!

Our son is now 19months and we are TTC now and although it is not the 2 year gap that I would have liked, it fits in with our situation right now and I wouldnt change a thing.

Good luck  original.gif




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