‘THE CLOSENESS, OR OTHERWISE, ISN'T NECESSARILY ABOUT THE AGE GAP. PERSONALITIES PLAY A MAJOR ROLE’
Fiona Westerkamp has three children under four years with husband Sean Molloy; Heather, three and a half, James, two, and Jack, six months.
“About five years ago, when we’d been together for a couple of years, we started talking about having a family. We both come from big families – I’m the youngest of five girls, and Sean is one of five, too. His ideal was five children! But in all honesty, I wasn’t sure I wanted kids at all. We kind of compromised at three. I enjoyed growing up in a big family but there were big age gaps. We weren’t typical. My oldest sisters – twins – are 14 years older than me, then there’s a sevenyear and six-year age gap between me and the next oldest. I have somewhere between a sisterly and motherly relationship with the oldest two. I’m quite close with my next oldest sister. The closeness, or otherwise, isn’t necessarily about the age gap. Personalities play a major role. Sean also has big age gaps but his family are very close. Age played a factor in our decision about timing, as I was already in my late thirties. We were about to get married and thought we’d try as it could take a year – but it happened just like that. With James we said, “It might not happen that quickly,” so we started trying quite soon after Heather was born, and it happened like lightning. With Jack we thought, let’s just get this over and done with! It is hard to have three children under four, there’s no doubt about that – bedtime is tricky. The house is chaos, basically. It’s too hard to implement a routine and they all need so much attention. But I’ve been told that once we get through this ‘tricky’ phase, it gets infinitely easier because they play together and will relate to each other well. My expectation is that I’ll get my life back a bit sooner than some other mums. Heather and James both now do four short days of daycare each week, so I get some time with Jack alone, which is great. There are so many factors to consider with age gaps. For us, we didn’t have the luxury of time. Had we planned it better, I think I’d have spread them out a bit more. It’s so full on right now, I’m not getting to savour anything and they grow up so fast. I’ve only really come to that realisation now I’ve got Jack. I’d liked to have had more time alone with the other two.”
Sean and Fiona have their hands full with preschoolers Jack, James and Heather.