Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Do I have to compromise on the age gap between our children/future children?

(75 Posts)
Oooh1 Fri 16-Dec-16 01:50:51

We have a son who is 2 years old. My ideal would be to start trying when he is 4 and a half. I have always wanted that. I am part-time, so he goes to nursery for one of those days, my mum and dad's for one of them and my MIL and FIL's for the other. It works well, I have him for the other days - on Sunday we both have him (DH and I). I really like our current set up, I can do swimming lessons with him (still parent and toddler classes) and he often enjoys some other classes that I can take him to also and do together. On the evenings of the day I have had him, DH has him while I go to my dance classes, on the days that I am at work, I pick him up from whoever has looked after him and have him while DH can meet friends/go to his guitar lesson. On Sunday we go out as a family - the zoo for example. It is a really lovely balance, we all get to spend lots of time with him, but also have a bit of our own time, we both still have a job and family get to see him on their own too. I couldn't be happier with the set-up. I really don't think having a second baby at this time will add to our family, I think it will just put stress on it. He says 2 years is the perfect age gap (statistically) and that's what he would like. He says he would be happy for me to be a SAHM, but I personally would really like to keep my part-time job, as I am still paying of the bloody student loan (not really the reason grin) but because I just like it, I am not particularly careersy, definitely for maternal, but my job involves helping others and I find it very rewarding. Basically, I just want my first son to be at school when 2nd child is born. It's just how I want it. However, as DH wants this 2 year gap, do I have to compromise? I honestly don't know if this is something you compromise on. I said we could, if he went part-time - when I was full-time, we both had the same income, so it would be no different to me just becoming a SAHM, we would be fine on this income too, but he doesn't want to go part-time, so I feel like if he doesn't want to go part-time, we shouldn't go for it? I'm not saying having a toddler and baby isn't doable, but I personally don't want a toddler and baby together! As most of the classes DS does (with me) need me in the class until 4th birthday. I feel like I wouldn't be able to do these classes with second baby then either (which I definitely want to)... Basically, after all that waffle grin do I have to compromise? I kind of feel like I am offering a compromise by saying if he goes part-time and not me become a SAHM, like I say, our set up at the mo, it just wouldn't work. TIA! x

OlennasWimple Fri 16-Dec-16 02:32:57

Honestly? I think you both need to relax a little, because there's no guarantee that either of you will get what you want: it could take you longer than expected to conceive, or you could fall pregnant unexpectedly.

One element you might not have thought about is how your DPs and PiLs are going to be if you defer expanding your family - depending on their ages, they might not be as up to running around after a LO as they are with DS.

I do agree, though, that if he isn't prepared to consider going PT you are entitled to stick to your guns rather than be the one who automatically makes the sacrifice

summerainbow Fri 16-Dec-16 02:49:53

Classes and second child won't happen so easily as won't have so much money as you will have 2 children to pay for 2 lots of childcare ect .
I would start trying now classes for the under 5 are just time fillers and money wasters. The importance classes are for school kids ,
If you have second baby when the oldest starts school the baby gets no choice when to nap or eat no afternoon classes school pick up .

Bobochic Fri 16-Dec-16 02:56:43

Two year age gaps are not something important or special. And they are quite stressful (GCSEs and A-levels in the same year!).

LucyBabs Fri 16-Dec-16 02:58:28

Surely if you work part time, your dh full time, you do more child care? Obviously you will be pregnant give birth etc etc.. In a round about way it should be you who decides when you'll try for another dc. You both agree you want more dc. Why would your OH not want to work part time?
Please don't give up a job you enjoy and fibnd rewarding!

Oooh1 Fri 16-Dec-16 03:01:56

summer - we obviously have different opinions, I personally don't want to start trying now, this isn't about who is right (as that's just an opinion) it's down to is this a topic you compromise on.

Of course you can't pick and choose when you full pregnant, but I think it's normal to have a rough guide smile

LucyBabs Fri 16-Dec-16 03:02:03

FFS find MNHQ we need an edit misspelled words option angry

Oooh1 Fri 16-Dec-16 03:11:50

I'd never start trying now anyway, at all. Even if everyone who comes along, says we should compromise, I would start when DS is 3-3.5.

Childcare would be more of an issue if we started now, surely? As both children would need childcare, whereas older DC will be at school. To be honest, I've considered the age gap a lot and have decided the perfect age gap (for me and my family) IMO would be 4 and a half years. I just don't know if I get more of a say because I'll be doing most of the childcare/carrying and giving birth to baby, or if it's a joint choice (50/50 completely).

Batteriesallgone Fri 16-Dec-16 03:19:12

I'm confused, if the perfect gap is two years, you've missed it surely,as pregnancy takes nearly a year. Similarly for a 4.5yr gao you'd start trying when DS about 3.5 which is when you said you'd wait til if compromising - but that's not a compromise?

Anyway, both parents should want a baby so your DH will have to wait until you are ready.

Joinourclub Fri 16-Dec-16 03:25:14

There isn't a 'perfect' gap. 2 years doesn't guarantee they will be best buddies . What are his reasons 'for' a 2 year gap? Your reasons 'against' sound fair and well thought through. I'm finding my 3 year gap tough, and am very aware that I am spending less quality time with dc1 and that saddens me. I think having a second when the first is in school sounds a very sensible option. If you are going to be one taking parental leave and gong the majority of the child care, I would not compromise. Yes, as pp say you can't plan exactly when to have kids, but you can plan when NOT to have them.

Oooh1 Fri 16-Dec-16 03:25:34

I mean perfect age gap to start falling pregnant. So between 2-3 and 4-5. My son's birthday is in December, so that's why I'm saying half.

So, if he wants to start trying now, when DS is 2 and I want to start trying when DS is 4, the compromise would be to start trying at 3, as long as he is willing to share childcare. I personally find the groups very important, I enjoy spending 1-1 time with DS through the groups, etc. he also gets to meet toddlers his age smile so I do disagree with that comment. Again though, that's just opinion.

So if I want to wait, it's not selfish for me to say I don't want to try yet? That's all I really wanted to know, so that's great, thank you!

iamadaftcoo Fri 16-Dec-16 03:27:21

People are weird about age gaps, I also want 4 years (at least!) between ds and my next and I always get looked at like this she. I talk about it confused

Oooh1 Fri 16-Dec-16 03:29:07

Thank you Joinourclub! He thinks they will get along better, that's his exact reason! I keep telling him that I never got on with my sister, who is 2.5 years older than me!

Thanks to the other commenters too smile

ZeroDarkHurty Fri 16-Dec-16 03:41:12

Age gap is no guarantee of siblings getting along. It astonishes me people think siblings closer in age get on better. I've seen it go both ways. Our two sons get on fabulously at 2 and 6.5. That may change as the years progress but it's been a fabulous gap in our case so far (and very easy as ds1 was pretty independent at almost 4 by the time I was pregnant with ds2). We'd originally wanted a 3 year gap but life got in the way. My dh and his sister (who had the same 4.5 year gap between them as we have between our children) hated each other furiously as children and now get on ok (while living in different countries). A friend has a 4.5 year gap between her and her sister and they are great friends, while another has a six year gap between her and her sis and they're ridiculously close. I have a 1.5 year gap between me and my closest sibling and we fought horrendously as kids, and get on ok as adults. Do what is right for you and for your lives as a family and as individuals, not on the vague hope of kids getting along because they're close in age. I'd also be very wary of giving up work to be a sahm, especially if you don't want the small age gap to begin with and your dh isn't willing to consider part time work.

HeadDreamer Fri 16-Dec-16 04:56:41

I don't think it's selfish if you want yo wait. Like you said, you will be providing the majority of childcare.

nooka Fri 16-Dec-16 05:08:35

The only reason to compromise is your relationship with your dh (and I agree he can't want a smaller age gap that much if he's not prepared to make any changes in his life to enable it). No age gap is perfect they all have their theoretical pluses and minuses, and of course so much is dependent on both the nature of the children and family circumstances.

Personally I'd not plan on such a long age gap as it's the gap I have with my sister and we've never had anything in common and got on badly especially in the teenage years. As it happens we accidentally had our two far too close (16mths), but apart from the early years being a bit hellish it's been great.

cheeseandcrackers Fri 16-Dec-16 05:15:59

I think you should stick to what you want as you'll be providing most childcare. I have a 4.5 yr age gap - to me it is perfect. Much easier to have one at school when the second is born for many reasons. If your parents/in-laws are providing childcare you also need to think about what they can cope with, two children at once might be too much. I wouldn't recommend giving up your job unless you really wanted to.

Refluxsux Fri 16-Dec-16 05:18:28

We have a 4.5 age gap and it's perfect. If you do most of the childcare and don't think you could cope or want to do it then you absolutely get to say no. What if you have a hard second birth or end up with a disabled child? Each baby is a big gamble and will forever change your family no matter how it goes. A sibling isn't a pet for your first. Have the second when you're ready.

NapQueen Fri 16-Dec-16 05:20:18

Does your dh work six days a week?

PeesAndLove Fri 16-Dec-16 05:27:55

Um surely you've missed the gap he wants anyway as your Ds is 2. One thing to consider is that if they are similar age they might be more into similar age things. My friend struggles as 10 y/o doesn't want to go to peppa pig world with 4 y/o sibling. Can't watch same films, tv channels. One grown out of the park, the other hasn't. Just a thought.

Dozer Fri 16-Dec-16 05:43:53

DH is talking rot to argue that there is a "perfect" age gap. That said, some psychologists reckon more than a 5 year gap has some similarities with being only children.

He is also U for suggesting you give up work, and not even entertaining going PT. presumably even if you liked being AH full time with two DC (many wouldn't) stopping work would be a big economic risk for you.

fertility might be an issue.

Wishing to attend toddler classes is a silly reason to consider IMO. As DC1 gets older they might have more time in nursery/preschool. I did much more stuff with DD1 with DD2 in her sling etc than I had when we just had DD1.

Pluto30 Fri 16-Dec-16 06:07:24

I've got both, sort of.

DS1 and DS2 are 18 months apart.

Then I waited 4 years and had DD.

The 18 month gap was a lot harder, for several reasons. But my sons are ridiculously close. Truly best friends. It's easy now. They're at relatively similar stages of maturity, so there aren't too many disputes, and I can leave them up to their own devices when there is an issue.

I'm pregnant with our fourth and last and the gap this time will be 20 months, so obviously the first wasn't so disastrous as to never do it again. wink

I do agree with the PP who said that a 5+ year gap can often mimic an only child situation. I experienced this myself and have seen it happen several times within my family. The children really don't interact much at all as children (as they're always at vastly different stages of life), and don't become close (if at all) until they're both adults. I really wouldn't, personally, want for this to happen with my children.

HeddaGarbled Fri 16-Dec-16 06:29:40

I think that you have already suggested the compromise i.e. your H goes part time like you already have. But he doesn't want that. He wants you to be the only one who gives up what she wants while he gets everything he wants (full time job, wife & children at home). You are right to stick to your guns on this.

kittybiscuits Fri 16-Dec-16 06:36:34

I agree - you have offered a compromise - he's not interested. You absolutely must keep your job and stick to your guns. Are you married?

SallyGinnamon Fri 16-Dec-16 06:51:01

I'm glad you've said 'trying'. Sometimes Mother Nature can get in the way and decide for you. You never know how long it can take to conceive.

Also think of GPs. If you leave a 4 year gap for trying and end up with an actual 5.5 year gap their health and energy might be different. My DM was still working P/T yet had DS 2 days a week. By the time DD came along 3.5 years later DM had retired but only had the energy for 1 day.

What I'm saying is that things keep changing and however much you might try to plan, DC and life are different second time around.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: