‘THE CLOSE­NESS, OR OTH­ER­WISE, ISN'T NEC­ES­SAR­ILY ABOUT THE AGE GAP. PER­SON­AL­I­TIES PLAY A MA­JOR ROLE’

Little Treasures - - FAM­ILY LIFE -

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.

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