It can be scary – being a mum to teenagers and finding out you are pregnant again. Will you be able to give your baby enough attention with all the demands of teenagers around you, will you even have enough energy for a newborn?
While it can be scary, having kids with large age gaps can have some benefits. Yes, you will have to start over with sleepless nights and diapers, when you haven’t had to worry about them for years, but you will also have a few extra helping hands at home from your older kids!
So if you are a mum to teenagers and pregnant – here is how to deal with it!
Learn To Be Flexible
It is absolutely essential to try and be as flexible as possible when you have kids with a large age gap. You will have teenage responsibilities – such as soccer practice and schoolwork, and then a baby to breastfeed and put down for a nap.
Accept that your life will never be perfectly planned, and you and your baby, and your teenagers, will have to be flexible. If your teenager has to switch down their music at your baby’s bedtime, or if your baby has to nap on the side of the field during soccer practice, it is just the way it has to be!
Choose A Variety Of Activities
You are probably going to have a hard time finding activities for the whole family to enjoy together. Your teenager won’t want to sit through kid’s movies, and your baby won’t want to go play laser tag. You will need to try and find activities that everyone will enjoy.
This could be a trip to the beach, to a science museum, or a picnic outdoors. You should also still allow your older children to do the things they enjoy, and not cut their fun short because their younger sibling is tired or can’t handle as long a hike as they can, so some extra planning will be needed.
Create A Safe Environment For Your Youngest
Your older children will probably be into some age-appropriate teenage things, but these might not be suitable for a younger child. You need to sit down with your older children and explain to them that they cannot expose their younger sibling to anything that is not appropriate for their age.
At the same time, you also need to avoid babying your youngest. Set rules for them to follow, set chores, and teach them to give their older siblings the space they need as well.
Give Your Older Children The Attention They Deserve
With large age gaps, most parent’s attention falls to the youngest child. This can be quite detrimental to a developing teen who probably needs some guidance and advice. While you will not be able to dedicate all your time to your oldest child, you do need to make an effort.
Plan some one-on-one time together, grab some lunch together, or go watch a sports game. Try to do this at least once or twice a month. It also gets you to enjoy some time out, and you can maintain your bond with your older child, and be present for when they need you.