April 24: My Childhood vs. My Children's Childhood | Part Two

{Part one here}

The family unit: 

One weighty fact about both my childhood and Nate's childhood? Both of our parents are still married, my parents celebrating forty years (!!!) next month and Nate's parents celebrating thirty-seven years this fall. Pretty amazing, right? Obviously, Nate and I have great marriage role models and I certainly hope that our kids will also be able to say their parents stayed together. That is not a 'given' anymore and I am so grateful that my parents still love each other after all these years. Truly inspirational and sometimes they are a little sickening, actually (love you, mom!) ;)

Aside from not experiencing divorced parents, Nate and I also came from a family with two children and we each have a younger brother. Two first borns being married to each other is another topic for another time--my mom and her love for birth order discussions would love to write that one! But being a family of four was our standard growing up. So now that we have made a family of five, our kids will know a bigger family than we ever did. I like to think this means more love and more chaos and more siblings that they can love/hate with time. Our kids will probably have to share bedrooms because of our larger family in a three bedroom house, and Nate and I didn't get the experience of sharing rooms with our brothers. Actually I think Nate and Jon did share a bedroom for awhile when they were really young but not for long. Really hope that Truman and Cecelia keep loving each other enough to share their room until it's no longer appropriate!

Also, the spacing of children is quite different for our children compared to Nate and I as children. Nate and his brother are four years apart, and I'm six years older than my brother. Truman is 27 months older than Cecelia, who is 25 months older than Porter. So yeah, our three children are quite a bit closer in age than Nate and I were to our siblings growing up. Not necessarily a good or a bad thing, but the family dynamics will be different for each of our children. I hope that our kids have close relationships to each other with their smaller age gap, although I'd say that Nate and I both have good relationships with our own brothers with a bigger gap. I also think it's neat that our two boys are the same spacing as Nate and his brother. Those two certainly competed with each other and fought growing up but they are close now---I can't quite picture Porter and Truman fighting or competing with each other but I'm sure it will happen! Actually, our wild card daughter will probably give both of the boys the most trouble anyway.

When I was an only child. And when dad had a killer 'stasche and Mom's glasses were amazing.
little Julia with Mom and Dad

One topic that the original commenter mentioned in her suggestion for this blog post, was the mother's role of working outside of the home or staying at home with the children. Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart! My mom and also Nate's mom stayed home when raising their small children. Both of our moms returned to the work force eventually---Nate's mom went back to work when Nate was in middle school and Jon was in third grade. My mom had a craft business when my brother was really little but didn't go to work outside of the home until I was in middle school. So Nate and I both grew up with stay at home moms who were also home with us every day after school. This obviously creates a different upbringing than what our children will have, since I work part time outside of the home. Our kids have gone to daycare, even if just a few days per week, and Nate and I didn't go to daycare (although I think I went for maybe a few months when my mom originally returned to her job as a social worker, but then she quit and stayed at home). I'm hoping that once Truman, Cecelia, and Porter are all in school (cannot imagine this time in our life, but I know it's coming!) I will be home with them once the school day is over, just like our moms were for us. It shouldn't be too difficult for me to be at home by 3:30 on the days I work, and I suppose I might even work five days per week at that point. But assuming I'm still in home care, I can probably swing being finished with my job at the end of the school day. That feels important to me right now and we'll see if it does play out to be a big deal in the years ahead.

Bonus dental comparison: Both Nate and I had braces growing up, my brother did not need them (LUCKY MICHAEL!). I'm certain all of our children will need braces with their parents genetics of bad teeth. But I think I'm also wearing a Hypercolor tee shirt here, so that makes up for the teeth, right? That six year age difference was certainly apparent here, as Michael was still adorable and so young as I entered into the more awkward pre-teenage years.
Julia and Michael

What else should I have covered with this post? And have you thought about your childhood compared to your kids' childhoods? 


  1. These were interesting! Many similarities and differences for both Ben and I from our upbringing - 1. Both sets of parents still married 2. Ben's mom stayed at home til he was in 5th grade or so then worked, both of my parents always worked and I went to 12 daycares as a kid, our kids will always go to daycare but we hope to avoid childcare once they are in school full time. 3. We both always went to public school, our kids will too. 4. Both of us spent most of our lives in the suburbs (but Ben was in Minneapolis til 5th grade) - now we live in a suburb too but much closer to the city. 5. Both of us were raised going to church (me Lutheran w/ a bit of Catholicism from my dad's side and Ben Catholic) and now we do not go to church nor are we raising our children with any religion. 6. Ben's fam has 5 kids, all 2 years apart, my fam has 2 kids 4 years apart, so I guess ours will be sort of in the middle. 7. Ben's family was always quite social with family friends and church people, my family spent more time with other family - I think we will have a mix of both with our families both close by and having a lot of friends we see often with kids.

    I guess I really don't think our kids will have it that different than we did growing up, really! I've never thought about it too much. I don't think either of us over-idealize our childhood at all, we certainly both had/have very good lives and would want our children to have something similar - and there was nothing I really felt my life was lacking necessarily that I would want to change. They were just a little different but both ways will be wonderful.

  2. This was really interesting and now I want to do a post like it on my own blog! My husband and I are very blessed with both sets of our parents still being married as well, and I know that has made a huge impact on us and how we perceive marriage. We've been married 10 years and together 18, so hopefully that's a good sign we're on the right track! We both had working mothers, and I'm a working mother but 3 days a week am able to pick the kids up from school/daycare at 3:00 so I feel like that is a really awesome compromise. My husband and I both went to public school (we met/began dating in H.S.), but right now our son goes to private school (our daughter is in the daycare there as well but we haven't discussed whether she'll do public vs. continuing private with her brother...I am leaning towards private, but I'm sure my husband sees the $$ signs associated with that). I have 1 older sister (20 months) while my husband has 1 older brother (4 years), and we have a boy and a girl (3.5 years age gap). So families of 4 all around, but we broke the mold with opposite genders, ha. I also do hope to have another baby...but only time will tell if that happens.

  3. The one thing I think about a lot is how different society is now and then. I used to play outside with neighborhood kids all morning and hear the noon fire station alarm telling me to head home for lunch or head in the my best friends house and call my house to let them know. I can't imagine that working now. I was 8 and just running free within a few block radio us and the park nearby. Just seems so different now.

  4. Catching up on blog posts, but thanks for choosing this topic! :) I do think it's interesting - gets some juices flowing. I also really appreciate hearing a couple of success stories about siblings with big age gaps. If we are lucky enough to have another, our kids will be 4-5 years apart, which kind of stresses me out -- item #57 in ways my kid's childhood will be different than mine. This was good to hear! Anyway ... thanks again for the whole 30 days of blogging because I really do enjoy your writing. Also, happy birthday!


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