Having real multiples vs. having kids of different ages. Its NOT the same. The number one thing that really bothers parents of multiples is when parents who have kids of different ages say they are in the same boat. I’m not saying we have it harder, but I’m saying we are not the same. Its SO different.
I’ve also encountered parents who refer to their children who are of different ages as ‘multiples’ and uh, unless those kids were born on the exact same date of the same year and shared a single womb, they are by definition, NOT multiples. The very word multiples means a same number (of equal value and weight) multiplied.
I am sure its just as difficult to raise children of different ages, but having them spaced apart has immense value to one’s sanity as a parent. This is why medical journals report parents of multiples having more extreme forms of depression, higher risks of divorce and generally, a whole host of medical, sociological and psychological problems for both the parent and the multiple children – there is even a whole scientific book on this here. On top of navigating the physical demands of raising more than one child, a multiple parent also has to navigate the extraneous mental demands.
Parents of kids of different ages get to grow their family gradually. My family literally doubled in size over the space of 8 months. You know how freaky that is? So many parents of twins and triplets have to scramble over that short 8 months to figure out how to assemble their team of help for those privileged enough to get help. The rest of us who found ourselves with no help after 8 months, we just surrender to serendipity and hope for the best.
Oh I mentioned 8 months because most multiple pregnancies really only last that long or shorter.
If you had fraternal twins, do you know how scary it is to think about conceiving a third child. You are 70% more likely to conceive twins again! We have a few mamas in our support group, SG Parents of Twins and Triplets who conceived back-to-back twins naturally.
I am especially protective of the twin and triplet mamas I meet, even if I only know them through social media. Its really like meeting a fellow kinswomen. Sometimes I just want to give them a hug and go, hey sister! No matter where we live in the world or whatever our cultural background, we will have an automatic chemistry and connection. I don’t feel that connection to mums of four kids.
If you believe its really like having four kids of different ages, I welcome you to my home to babysit. I really could use the break. My husband and I haven’t been out alone in 4 years!