• Jennifer Burks

Sibling Age Gaps

Now that we are expecting again, I've been getting a lot of questions lately about the age gap between all my kids. I will most definitely come up with a pros and cons list for all those who are curious or on the fence about whether having another one or to hold off based on age gaps in between your kids. Marcus is 13, Brooklyn will be 3 in a couple of weeks and baby number three is due November 4th. That makes a 10 and 14 year age gap between my oldest and my two youngest.

Being that I am Marcus's step parent, it was GREAT as far as giving us the time to form a strong bond and connection right off the bat where he didn't feel the need to compete with anybody and I could give him as much attention as I could. It was important for me that his transition from homes wasn't even a worry or thought on his agenda. He was five years old and in my mind, all five year olds should think about is having fun, doing new activities, getting introduced to new sports, having good manners, getting diversified, etc - NOT life stress's and emotions that adults go through behind the scenes.

Parenting side point/note - It is extremely important to us as parents to not let our kids feel the stress that we undergo as parents, specifically being entrepreneurs. This year especially, has been an emotional roller coaster and the hubby has been working non stop, traveling extra, under an astronomical about of pressure, and managing a lot of stress - like a pro may I add. It's been extra challenging, yet our kids have no idea and our focus is for it to stay that way - Which brings me to my next point. Thirteen year olds can hear, depict, and conclude their own thoughts pretty accurately. It's easier to slip some emotions around a toddler but a teenager understands, making it extra challenging to be strong and hold it together when life happens.

#REALITY - I think it is safe to say that most women want to be the one to give their husband their first child and I would be lying if I didn't have the same selfish thought go through my head when we first entered Marcus's life. All those feelings went completely away that first day I met Marcus. I was instantly in love and had a purpose shift to help give this precious, innocent boy a life full of experience and happiness. For all step parents - loving someone else's child like your own does not come naturally for everyone, and that's OKAY! Shower them with love, care and experience and raise a human that you want to be a part of this society and it will work in everyones favor. #truthbomb The love I have for Marcus is totally different than the love I have for Brooklyn. I used to have SO MUCH #guilt until I came to the conclusion that it was totally normal and OKAY. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for both my kids and they both feel loved and secure, and that's what's important. For every step parent out there, get rid of that guilt, you are amazing and doing a great job!

With age gaps this large, you are teaching two different generations. How you parent your toddler is teaching a teenager how to someday become a parent and learn how to communicate with all different types - because we all know, communicating with toddlers is a job in itself. How you parent your teenager teaches your toddler what's acceptable and what's not - you're molding their role model right in front of their eyes.

Large age gaps 100% adds more dimension to parenting and comes with it's challenges simply because the needs of each child is so different. My parents never missed one of my basketball games and to this day, I remember that. It's important that I can be at as many basketball games for Marc as possible, but the facts of bringing a toddler along does take away from the joy and attention focused on watching him play. The thought of bringing a toddler AND a newborn this fall does give me some anxiety.

I started babysitting when I was ten years old. I contribute that to a lot of my independence and responsible mind set, and love for children. Having a teenager and giving him the responsibility to watch and babysit his younger siblings is a benefit for his skill sets and a safe peace of mind for me (someone who still has separation anxiety) knowing they are in good, safe hands. Brooke is a character and full of personality and I give a lot of that credit to her older brother. He truly is the best role model.

The big takeaway is that parenting is a game, and kids of all ages are smart. We as parents have to be smarter, and play the game strategically. Raise your children to be better than yourself. Guide and teach, do not do. Give responsibility. Make memories. Love - it wins every time. Parenting is the most challenging and rewarding component in life.



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