Happy Friday, fam! Like we talked about Monday, we’re in the thick of back to school already 😅. Seeing the photos makes me nostalgic—the smell of new colored pencils and reams of lined paper (college-ruled or bust). It has me wondering—what color was your science binder when you were a kid? Yellow, right?
Speaking of very important questions, it’s Friday, which means it’s Q&A time. Every Friday, our FamilyMade team will answer your questions, big and small. And if you’ve got one you’d like to ask, hit reply and lay it on us! You might just see it here on a future Friday. Ready? Ready.
Our answer: Shawn is 4’11” and Andrew is 6’2”, which means they have about a bowling pin’s worth of distance between them. I asked Shawn if they thought about how that height difference might play out with their kids, and here’s what she told me →
I was pretty scared to have kids because of my size. We knew there was a chance our kids would take after their dad and they definitely did. My pregnancies were super uncomfortable (even though I think they kind of all are) because I was carrying very, very large babies. I mean, Jett was 9 lbs. 13 oz. and 21 inches long when he was born, which put him in the 98th percentile for weight and the 97th percentile for height.
The kids’ size meant I had an unplanned C-section the first time around and a scheduled C-section the second time around. It was tough to carry my kids, but don’t let it scare you off—it is so, so worth it.
|—Shawn Johnson East|
Shawn’s experience says it all. And the good news is that research suggests that maternal height has little impact on the health of your baby. Mom’s height *might* increase the likelihood of needing a cesarean section (like Shawn had), but research indicates that there’s no significant relationship between maternal height and the length/duration of labor.
Your experience in both pregnancy and labor will absolutely be unique, no matter your height. As with most experiences in parenthood, expect the unexpected! (Unless you marry someone who’s got 15 inches on you, in which case, expect big babies.)
Our answer: Congratulations on expanding your family! That’s so exciting. And while it might present some challenges in adapting to a new routine with a new family member, keep in mind what Andrew said when I asked him about his experience with two under two →
Drew was actually 21 months old when we brought Jett home, so we’ve been there. I’ll be honest: It was tough to recalibrate in those first couple of weeks, especially because Drew got a nasty ear infection just a few days after Jett was born and had to stay with her grandparents for a little so we could protect our newborn.
But once Drew got better and we got into the swing of things, all the diapers and feeds and mismatched schedules became a lot easier and so worth it. We just figured it all out in time. And you will too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’d have 20 kids if I could.
20 might be tough, but Andrew’s sentiment is one I’ve heard from so many parents of siblings close in age—adjusting to new needs from your family might be tough, but you’ll get through it. A few helpful tips and ideas:
Ask for help, from your friends, family, and fellow FamilyMade readers. Because as it turns out, your 21-month age gap isn’t all that far off from the national average. According to the CDC, the average age difference for siblings is between two and two-and-a-half years.
Be honest with yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Realistically, you won’t be able to give both children all of the attention they need all of the time, and that’s okay. As long as your kids are loved and cared for, it’ll all work out. Talk with your partner or support system about how to divvy up responsibilities in a way that works for your family—because you’re going to be exhausted, but parent burnout won’t help anyone adjust. Take the time you need when you can.
Create a routine. Whether it’s syncing your kids' naps or carving out time for you, establishing a schedule can be helpful in adjusting to a new family dynamic, especially since your kids will have different needs at different times.
Involve your oldest child. I’m sure they’re excited about welcoming a little sibling, so make the most of the time you spend caring for your newborn by allowing your oldest to “help” as they can—even something as simple as grabbing a diaper or wipe.
One last thing: My mom had my sister and me about five years apart, and she always said that when you have children, whether your second or fifth or twentieth, “your love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.”
Submit a question to be featured in a future Q&A here.
Parenting hack of the day: James Van Der Beek has 1) six children and 2) good ideas. He recently shared on Instagram that his family has instituted a color-coded system to help express to the kids, who range in age from seven months to 11 years, when he and his wife Kimberly are running thin on patience. Here’s to hoping you don’t encounter a code orange this weekend.
If you’re looking for a weekend date idea, look no further. Shawn and Andrew played Never Have I Ever and let’s just say Andrew’s armpits will never be the same. Play with your partner to learn something new about them, or play with the whole family if you’re ready for an adventure.
Fam win of the week: Shoutout to Hannah B. who emailed earlier this week to let us know she mastered the load-two-babies-in-the-car-by-yourself routine with her newborn, Ella, and 18-month-old, Graham. We love to see it! Got a victory, big or small, that you want to share? Hit reply and share some good news!
That’s all for today! See you back here Monday for your can’t-miss guide to potty training without totally losing your mind. I’ll bring the Pull-Ups, you bring the good vibes. Happy weekend!