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Too Close for Comfort? Surviving Closely Spaced Siblings

Too Close for Comfort? Surviving Closely Spaced Siblings

You don't have to have 19 kids like Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar to understand the challenges of raising children who are close in age. After all, not many of us balance the demands of 19 kids between the ages of 18 months and 23 years, as the family in TLC's 19 Kids and Counting does. But as many Circle of Moms members say, there is an art to successfully juggling babies who are born back-to-back. It can be chaotic, but it can be done, they agree.

"Yikes, they are a handful," says Shauna about her son, 2, and daughter, 3. She recently asked other moms in the Stay-at-Home Moms community whether anyone else with closely spaced siblings felt "like pulling their hair out."

The consensus: the first years are the hardest, but it gets easier once the kids hit kindergarten age. Here, Circle of Mom members share tips for making it through the early years with kids who are close in age:

  1. Get a little mommy time, recommends Rae C., whose two boys and a girl are 4, 2 and 1. Make it a priority to find some time for you even if it is simply a stolen moment here and there, she says. When they feel like a handful, just "breathe real slowly."
  2. You've got to have friends. When friends or relatives ask what they can do, suggest they take your older child or children out while you stay home with the younger baby. This helps create "special" time for all the children, says Stacey W., a mother of two kids under two with a third baby on the way.
  3. Ask for help. Stacey W. also recommends relying "on those around you who are willing to help." When friends or family members offer to bring over dinner, do laundry or come over to babysit, take them up on the offer instead of saying "no thanks."
  4. Stick to a routine, says Chantel M., a mom of four kids under age seven. Create dinner time, nap-times and non-negotiable bed times, she says. Creating structure takes away some of the stress, she says.
  5. Create special time for each child, says Crystal S. who is pregnant and has three children who are all 4 and under. "I make sure that each of my kids gets their own time with me, and honestly, I found it pretty easy to have them so close together." Another benefit of spacing children closely is that "I stayed in baby mode and so having two in diapers was a lot easier than I thought it would be."

Ultimately, these moms say the intense work of the early years is worthwhile.

"I love it now that they are all getting a bit older," says Marti D. a single mom to a 5 year-old boy, a 4 year-old girl, and a 3 year-old boy. "When they were all babies, it was really tough. Now at least they are a little more independent."

Crystal B., whose kids are now 11 and 10, agrees."The first couple years were a blur," she says, adding that "now it is fun, fun, fun."

Finally, just remember that the chaos is only temporary, says Amber R. You can let the house get a little messy, and not be "perfect," as life will eventually be less hectic.

"After seeing that everything did work out just fine and how much fun they have together I can definitely see the benefit of them being so close in age to their siblings," she says about her 2 and 3 year-olds. A third baby is on the way, and "they will have more in common and always have playmates in the house. It is hectic but we all realize that it can be done. "

Image Source: yourdon via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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CoMMember13627345351093 CoMMember13627345351093 4 years
Mine are now 12, 10 and 9 and I will tell you, accepting help was very hard for me but it helped immensely! The first two years were hard but now they are friends, know each other very well (really forced to considering age!), and participate in many of the same sports, clubs, and classes. I wouldn't have it any other way now...
DonnaBarclay DonnaBarclay 4 years
I have 4 children (14, 8, 13months and 9 weeks) I feel so much better after having the last two children and I wish that I had gone in for my first too closer. Having two babies within a year of each other has been chaotic but I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do, I love being around the children and to watch them interact with each other even at such a young age is a blessing. I would recommend to anyone to have your babies closer together x
ElizabethLicea ElizabethLicea 4 years
I have 5 kids aged 9, 7, 5, 5, 2. My five year olds are not twins! The years have definately been a blur, but like everyone else has said, it gets so much easier. We have so much fun now that they are all more independent.
LacyStrange LacyStrange 4 years
My kids are 11mths apart, laugh at life, get a costco card, stick to routine, the "me" time is important, leashes leashes,leashes,and pick 5 priorities that are the most important and stick to those....it does get easier.
CynthiaG239 CynthiaG239 4 years
My children are all 15 months apart - 9,8 and 7 - I agree with the comments that it was a whirlwind at first (I remember poty training my oldest and changing a newborn at the same time) - now that they are older, they are SO FUN! We have our moments but we really have a good time!!
BonnieMontgomery40762 BonnieMontgomery40762 4 years
I have 3 year old twin boys, and a 24 month old baby boy. I actually believe it is much easier. My Boys love each other, and support each other. There is no jealousy, and they entertain one another.
ShellyDanielson ShellyDanielson 4 years
I have 3 boys. Ages 5,4, and 19 months. My 2 oldest boys are 16 months apart and it was NOT planned. When I first found out that I was pregnant with my second son I was in complete shock. I didn't know what I was going to do. My oldest was 7 months old, and I was not ready for another baby. I didn't know how I was going to handle it. It has been the best thing ever and I would do it again if I had the choice. I love having them so close together. They will always be in school together and they are great friends and they stick up for one another. They also do tend to fight alot. They are both into the same things so we have to have two of everything. I am so blessed to have my 3 boys in my life and I have a wonderful loving husband who helps me get through the days.
JENNIFERBROCK96200 JENNIFERBROCK96200 4 years
I have two chilren which are 1yr 6days apart sometimes it is a nice thing to have them so close together but sometimes I wished we would've waited a little longer
HannahMayer HannahMayer 4 years
Thank you for this article - I have a 1-year-old, a 7-month-old and one due in December. My biggest problem now is the endless questions we get from strangers.
LisaRoberts4974 LisaRoberts4974 4 years
I have 5 under 7, 2 boys 3 girls in that order 7,5,4,2 and 8 months and I LOVE IT . I'll admit there are rough days but I also had rough days when i only had 2 boys 20 months apart. I love that my kids are all in school together now and in the future. I have always had atleast 1 kid in diapers over the last 8 years but atleast it will be over in about 2yrs and thats it. Having them close in age they have helped eachother from potty training to getting ready to go outside. Homework help is easier to especailly with my 5 and 4 yr old as they are in jk and sk currently and the studies are similar. Everything has it's good & bad having children close in age isn't for everyone but it works for us and i wouldnt change it! :)
JenniferSpencer94517 JenniferSpencer94517 4 years
I have a 5, 3 1/2, and twin 18 month olds and life is on constant go. Our house is far from very tidy. I feel as soon as it is picked up, there is just another messy!! I try to let it go knowing these days will not last forever.
BlancaPalomino BlancaPalomino 4 years
Being a mom of 4, infant, toddler, preschooler, and school aged, was comforted in the fact that our home cannot be 100 percent clean. Loved to hear that, since my mom doesn't cut me any slack.
BrittanyVaughn99483 BrittanyVaughn99483 4 years
This article really helped me alot. Im due in august and my son will just be turning two...by a couple days...and i have always wondered how this will pan out...well at least an idea lol!! Thank you!!
ErinBerrySchade ErinBerrySchade 4 years
I have 7 kids 13yrs and under. My first 2 were 15 months apart and my last 2 were also 15 months apart. All the rest were evenly spaced 2 years apart. I found the 15 month gap to be much easier than the 2 year gap. Mostly because when they are 2 years apart, EVERYTHING starts over. When they are closer together, you are done with bottles, diapers, etc much sooner.
EricajaneButler EricajaneButler 4 years
wow thats a heck of a lot, im a single mum with two and one due this week and have a broken ankle in a cast and cant drive i find that tough but get through it xx i have the greatest friend and she helps me always
jayKoh90180 jayKoh90180 4 years
I want my son to be about 18months when our next is born, I have always wanted my children close together... I have one now and will be trying for the next in a few montha, cant wait! hope I dont regret it hahaha :P xx
LyndsayCyprianos LyndsayCyprianos 4 years
It is encouraging reading these articles! I have 3 children aged 5,4 and 2 and my life is like a whirlwind - but it is definately getting less chaotic!!
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