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Thread: Parenting an 8-year age gap

  1. #1

    Default Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Hi all, hoping for some more lovely words of wisdom from you all. I am sure I've read threads about this before, but "age" and "gap" are both too short to be counted as words by the search engine here!

    There will be an 8-year gap between DS and his sibling. I'm not worried about sibling relationships - they are what they are, and more on personality than age gaps. I hope they'll get on, of course, but the age difference doesn't determine that.



    I am thinking about how I'll parent the age gap.

    DS is at school while I'm home with the baby, that's fine. But school run/feeding? How am I going to pick him from school up with a tiny newborn too? He wants to walk home from school on his own, but he'll only be 8. School run traffic is manic and there's one junction to cross where loads of parents park.

    I plan on keeping his life fairly similar (only with a SAHM not a working mum) and he's excited about the baby, but how am I going to do it? Aside from "well, the baby sling still works" and "I'll feed before we set out", I have no idea how to juggle this! DS wants to pretty much be a third parent to the baby from how he talks, but I don't want that. Not for him, for me, for the baby... it just doesn't seem right (although I acknowledge I'll appreciate the help and he'll lose the complete interest he displays now after a while).

    So how did other mums of large age gap siblings rock this? Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    I think it's normal to be a bit daunted, but in my experience, it's all just part of the transition from having a single locus of attention to having two equally important priorities. Once you get past the initial disorientation (well, that's what I experienced) it all just seems to work. You realise with your second child that they're more flexible, robust and transportable than you ever believed your first was.

    Honestly, if you have to pick up and go (to meet the school-aged child's routine) you just pick up and go. I seemed to carry a lot less stuff around with me, whittled it down to the bare essentials. And do a bit of planning. It might help to have a few back-up plans in place. So if in the rare event that you're delayed, there's a fall-back plan (eg, Liebs waits in the school office, or a particular friend picks him up and brings him home). Hopefully you won't need them but just knowing that you've got a Plan B will help you feel calmer and more in control while you cruise through the transition.

    We've had our fair share of DD1 one trying to be a third parent, but we've always talked about it. Even now (DD2 is 7) there are arguments when DD1 is trying to assert authority over DD2 - but I guess if they were closer in age there would be sibling rivalry and power-struggles of a different kind, so I think it evens out. I do appreciate the help and the input that DD1 has with DD2, in the same way that I also know it's my role to ensure that DD1 gets the space she needs from her younger sister. But it's never been something that has thrown up any quandaries, we've always just followed our noses and I'm sure you will too.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    I have a 9 year age gap between DD2 and DD3. When DD3 arrived it was total chaos, emergency c/s 6 weeks early, so we were totally unprepared. She had to stay in hospital for 3 extra weeks, which gave me a lot of time to spend with my older girls. Once DD3 came home, thankfully on the last day of term, we had 2 weeks of school holidays to spend together. The girls wanted to help with everything, but I made sure that they still continued with their usual routines of activities.

    School pickups were a little harder, as it was winter, so I had a few close friends that would bring my girls home for me, so that I didn't have to take the baby out in bad weather, but most days I would go and do school runs myself. I managed to work bubs routine so that she would be ready for a little awake time so that I would walk her in the pram to pick up the girls.

    The girls wanted to help all the time with the little one, and even now they still do. They were really excited when she started kinder and school. They have been to all of her concerts and performances. Even though there is this big age gap, its totally awesome, the older girls take her out for lunch now, and shopping. They help her with her homework. The only thing I have found is the DD3 has so much energy that I am exhausted by her never ending bounding everywhere and wanting to do everything in a hurry!

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Baby capsule with a base. My kids aren't a big age gap but the second and third had to fit in with what was already going on. It made a world of difference with #3 to have a capsule when she was little. Then if she fell asleep on the school run it was easy to carry her inside, or if she needed to sleep and I had to go out soon/was already out I would put her to sleep in it.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    I also don't have a huge age gap but there is over 4 years between ds1 and ds3. We also bought a capsule for ds3. Didn't have one for the other two but it was so helpful for kinder drop offs/pick ups when ds3 was really little. I also got one that fit my pram so if he was also when I got to the shops etc I could put him in the pram especially because the capsule got very heavy to carry on its own very quickly.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    I am absolutely loving my gap! DS1 (9) and DS2 (7) are so helpful! They are old enough to understand the important things in my life right now like:
    Mummy isn't superhuman, she needs help sometimes, Newborns cry and that's ok.
    You can pop the newborn in the stroller and walk to school, lovely. Or you can pile everyone in the car and drop DS off and he is old enough to not need to be walked in. Also if bub is hungry in the middle of school drop off, bub will just have to wait, and that's ok too!
    I don't blame you for feeling daunted now but it's amazing how these things just work out.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Thank you for all the advice. A lot of it is what I was expecting, which is great for putting my mind at rest, so thank you again.

    My only real worry is how to do the school run the day of the birth. I have visions of dropping DS off in labour and picking him up with his sibling in the sling, but am not sure how I'll manage that one. DS was pretty flexible and fit in with my coffee morning times (I think they call them baby play groups?) So I expect flexibility from this one too!

    I just can't see the first week or so really working that well. DH will be around for school etc after the birth, but obviously not while I'm in labour, and I would feel bad imposing on my school mummy friends, plus what if I'm so focussed on labour I don't call them in time or DS doesn't know to go with them? Or if the birth is a small hours one or even worse an 8.30am one... We don't have nearby family to help, and no space for grandparents to stay with us as no suitable beds for them unless I give up my room and my bed. At full term for a week or two as we don't know when baby will arrive.

    How does the logistics of just having that second one work, let alone how to still look after the oldest?

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Get him a key cut and ask a school mum to drop him off at the door if need be. Exchange phone numbers for just in case. No need to say why. You could be sick for all they know. What I mean is you don't need to tell them why. You won't be going to pick him up post birth. So make sure that the first thing you do if birthing starts is text your emergency contact. Done. Fingers crossed it all starts before morning drop off so DS doesn't have to go to school at all.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Ahh this was me a few months ago! I went over and over this in my head. I organised to have my kids with their dad (exDH) the weekend I was due. Baby of course didn't arrive on time so I was devastated I lost that time with them. But I was so pregnant and so over it, I used the weekend to rest. Make a few rough plans then you can choose one when bubs decided to arrive. And try not to stress, it will all fall into place. And you should ask your school mummy friends, they would love to help I'm sure! Ice finally started saying yes to offers of help from my school mums and it's really worth it!

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    I think this is a concern for any pregnant woman who already has kids.
    I was constantly worried about getting into labour during the day when DH was at work and I was at home with the kids. What would I do with them? How would I get to the hospital? I knew it would be a fast labour so I worried about giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital.
    In the end, it all worked out. You won't forget about your DS while you're in labour, and there is always a solution... You may have a quick labour in the middle of the day and DH can go pick him up, or it might happen overnight... You won't know until it happens.
    Worrying about it won't get you anywhere... Come up with some possible plans, don't worry about 'inconveniencing' people. You're having a baby, they will be happy to help!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Thanks again.

    I talked to DS and he will take a key to school after Easter. If I don't turn up, he will ask one of 3 or 4 adults he knows and trusts to walk him home, or if he can't find them, go to after school club, and I will ok it with club.

    Ideally, I drop him off in labour (or DH drops him off if he's not at work), have the baby in the morning, then can pick him up with baby in the sling. However, that it unlikely to happen. I don't like the uncertainty!

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Do you have the numbers of those adults? After you get your awesomely timed day labour you could text them to ask them to walk DS home? You need to rest a bit with that new bubba

  13. #13

    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Update. I ended up very ill and in hospital, so Liebling had a sleepover with a friend. I went in Monday, birthed Tuesday morning, came out Thursday and did the school run to show off Stormageddon. Back into hospital on Sunday til very late, sleepover for Liebs again.

    But it's not that difficult now the hospital is over. I could have birthed then done the school run if needed. If I had been healthy, that is!

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Parenting an 8-year age gap

    Congrats on Stormy's arrival! Hope everything is going well now you are home and that your hospital experience was better this time round xx

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