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The Truth About Having Kids With a Big Age Gap logo 18/10/2019 Jenny Erikson
a group of people sitting posing for the camera: 4-daughters-big-age-gap © Provided by RockYou Media(; 4-daughters-big-age-gap

When people find out that I have kids with big age gaps, they almost always have the same reaction. “The older ones must be so much help,” they tell me. Depending on my mood at the time, or depending on how helpful they’ve actually been recently, my response varies from, “Oh yes, they are very helpful,” to, “You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”

Because the truth of it is that while some things are easier, having a big age gap between my kids definitely makes things complicated. I have four daughters, ages 16, 11, 2, and 10 months, which means that I am all over the parenting spectrum. On one end, I am teaching my teenager to drive and going on college tours with her. On the other end, I’m potty-training my toddler and trying not to cry because my infant just weaned herself from breastfeeding.

It’s a trippy place to be in as a mom, and there are days when it feels really weird to be wearing all the parenting hats at once. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my toddler isn’t as grown up as my eldest daughter, and other times I forget that the 16-year-old is practically an adult.

Sometimes it is tough, but man, sometimes it’s fantastic, too. I remember when my first two were little, when I wasn’t able to do anything without buckling two little kids into five-point harnesses in my SUV. Did you know that a mom spends approximately 128 months of her life buckling kids into five-point harnesses? At least that’s what it feels like.

Now if I need to run to the store for milk, or wine (just being honest here) I just tell the teenager she’s in charge. There are other things, too. One of my 11-year-old’s favorite chores these days is bathing the babies before their bedtime. The older girls love to help take care of their little sisters, and I love seeing their bond grow even though they’re in separate stages of life.

So yes, the older kids are a big help, but mostly, it’s just special to see the relationship develop between all four of these crazy children of mine — even if I do have to switch between helping one kid learn her ABCs and helping another study for the SAT.

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