We've all heard the old adage "you learn something new everyday" Well today's lesson: I'm a "Split Mom" - one who has children at least a decade apart. This can be due to a number of reasons but most popular are having a child early on, (me) or through divorce and remarriage.
Most "Spilt Moms" describe this unique experience as almost having two different families in one, and I think I can agree with that.
Although its still relatively new for me, (being a mom of two- that whole kids with an (s) gets me every time hehe)
Someone asked me the other day how I felt about their age gap so I decided to write this post.
It's hard to believe that over 13 years ago, I took my first pregnancy test that resulted in two blue lines. Those two blue lines indicated two things: 1) I was pregnant with my son, and 2) my entire life was about to change in ways I couldn't even begin to comprehend. I was only 14 years old & hardly prepared to be someone's mother. What followed in the years to come was a rollercoaster of epic proportions during which time I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated from college & got my first job, while simultaneously learning how to be a mommy, and to a certain extent, a grown-up.
Fast forward to now. Kubb is almost thirteen (yea I still cant believe that either.) I've gotten married to the cool guy who We (Kubb & I) met in 2008 when Kubb was only 3.5 years old. That was insistent on remaining present in Kubb's life somehow to see him grow up - (you'd have to have read OUR STORY HERE to further understand that). Who now is doing a fantastic job loving him and being an amazing bonus dad.
Noah & I knew when we got married that we wanted to have children. Kubb was 9.5 at the time so we also knew that our kids would share some distance in age. We didn't have a baby right away due to some fertility issues (discussed in a previous post).. but when we finally got those two blue lines again we knew we'd be looking at an almost 13 year age gap!
I will admit, this was both breathtakingly beautiful & terrifying at the same time!
One day during my pregnancy I had an epiphany. It was actually happening. I was going to have children over a decade a part. I'd essentially be raising "kids" for what seems like - forevaaaaaa. I have probably played out in my head how Kubb will be starting College & Ian will be starting kindergarten over, & over, & over again during my pregnancy. Or how Kubb will be possibly getting married & Ian will likely just be heading to his Senior prom.
I think once these things actually happen I won't fret as much. But for now, it's still a little shocking to think about. If that's not classified as two families in one- I'm not sure what is!
Aside from that, there hasn't been much of a difference. I meannn ok, one [MAJOR] difference - the smell of their rooms. One smells like baby powder & lavender.... & the other one smells like teenager! (If you've ever raised, grew up with, or been around a teenage boy- you know the smell I am talking about. . . Oh & if you haven't, just think "gym socks and outside" hahah Also know that there is seemingly nothing you can do to get rid of it.
Seriously, there are not enough air freshener or plug-ins in the world to save your nose.
Other than that, it has been great! This time around I am much more experienced & more stable. Even though a lot has changed. I'm getting into the swing of things. I might forget the diaper bag occasionally because it's been years since I've carried one, but so far I haven't gotten out the door and forgotten the baby... (if you're a parent, you know this actually happens a time or two lol)
Truthfully, I have spent a ton of time re-learning how to work some of the most basic things. These new "baby essentials" need to come with links to YouTube tutorials!! There are car seats that do everything but strap the baby in for you- strollers with charger ports - bath tubs with water temperature readings (genius by the way- one of my favorite baby shower gifts) - & swings that plug into your phone to play music. But I'm figuring it out (I'm not the first parent who's had to get the fire station to install their car seat because they just couldn't figure it out) [Thats what they're there for right? To help clueless parents. lol]
& I admit It's only awkward when you're struggling to juggle it all in public (stroller/carseat, diaper bag, shopping carts, purse, keys, phone) & a stranger randomly smiles at you & says "awww you're a first time mom." Ummmm no. But thanks for the sympathy lol.
While life has changed with us being a family of 4, a lot has remained the same. We're still trying to figure Ian out & he's learning us too.
If I can use one word to describe my experience thus far, I'd have to say it's been - AMAZING!
Because my sons are so different in age, they have vastly different needs. I find I’m able to meet my kids’ needs independently, because they aren’t competing for the same attention in the way that two boys close in age would be. [Okay. Okay! Sometimes they do compete for attention. If I say "hey Mommy's baby" to Ian Kubb will say "but I thought I was Mommy's baby" or if I say I love you to the baby "Kubb will respond with "where's my I love you?!"]
It's cute, at times. Other times I have to remind Kubb that he has been the baby for over 12 years- let Ian live & have his moment. Besides both of them will always be my babies for Life!
Truthfully speaking though, Kubb is doing a great job at his role of big brother (something we were admittedly nervous about because he was having only child syndrome the closer it got to delivery but he's adjusted wayyyy better than expected.)
One major perk of this age difference is that Kubb is really able to help out and be an extra set of hands. Which is so important. With Kubb I had all hands on deck, his dad, my moms, dad, sisters, cousin, everybody. This time around, we're 2.5 hours away from the closest family member so Kubb's set of hands are much needed. Him stepping up and volunteering to hold the baby, share his Saturday morning cartoon time with him, & run up and down the stairs whenever I need him to grab something for me has truly been a blessing.
// We may or may not be counting down to when Kubb is able to drive so that he can be on errand duty to further assist with our chaotic lifestyle. //
All in all, it's been a joy to be their mom!
The reality is:
- There is no ideal way to time the birth of your kids.
- There will be pros and cons to any age span.
- Chronological age often has little to do with what your children will need. Sometimes they want to be babied and other times they crave independence — you just have to take their cues & adjust accordingly.
You just have to enjoy raising your children & YOUR Parenting Journey!
I know for me it truly been amazing watching them learn to LOVE each other & I'm excited to continue watching them grow!