4 Struggles Only Older Siblings Understand
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4 Struggles Only Older Siblings Understand

This is what being the oldest child really feels like.

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4 Struggles Only Older Siblings Understand
Megan Hill Saint-Amand

Being the oldest sibling definitely has its perks. You are the first child your parents ever loved. You receive the most attention until your siblings decide to make their grand entrance into this world. I am still recovering from both their arrivals; the last seventeen years have been a whirlwind. However, while being the oldest has its perks, it most certainly has it downfalls. Growing up I was the “first” for everything. I was my parents’ first “experiment” on how to parent. In a way, all three of us grew up together, which meant lots of trial and error to “perfect” their parenting.

1. My parents were super strict compared to what they are now.

I am not sure if this is due to the fact they are simply too old and too tired to care what Malone and Maddox do, but boy are they allowed to do way more things than I have ever been able to do. Just before I came back to school, Malone had a friend spend the night, on a school night no less, to “study.” Yeah mom and dad, they sure did “study” a lot if that means staying up until 3 am watching Teen Wolf. I mean I didn’t dare ask to go eat with my friends on a school night, much less ask for friends to spend the night, until AFTER Maddox was here for fear I would get the lecture of “responsibility and school coming first.” After Maddox’s arrival they seemed a little disheveled and the lack of sleep made them more apt to say yes to things they normally never would. I feel like they are super laid back with Maddox too. Mom claims, “I’m raising her just like I raised you; I am too old to change my parenting habits,” but I find that hard to believe. Prime example: One morning I woke up early to hear Maddox having a breakdown about going outside and swinging. I heard dad in his most forceful voice bark, “NO, it’s too early!” Though she is only three, I found myself smiling at the exchange and decided to stay in bed a little longer to see how the whole encounter would play out. Five minutes of her screaming and declaring she was going outside and she was going to put her shoes on passed until I heard dad’s voice again. I anxiously await his reply just knowing he is going to explode and she is going to be in major trouble for not letting it drop. His reply, “No you’re not going to put your shoes on…I am going to put your shoes on so we can go swing outside.” I was flabbergasted, but because “she is only three” it is perfectly acceptable. Bless is all I have to say. Bless.

2. I am the role model for my younger siblings; therefore I must be perfect.

I have struggled with this for quite a while. I have always been very hard on myself in order to achieve every goal I set in order to ensure I am a perfect example for my younger siblings. I am the one they (hopefully) look up to and consider a role model. I want to make them proud and though I fail often, I don’t give up because I know I always have two younger sisters watching. There are days that my constant goal of being perfect turns me into a worrying monster and that is the day they run for the hills and think I am truly crazy, but I hope they realize that giving up is never an option.

3. I am their personal chauffeur.

The moment I turned 16, I was deemed the family errand runner. Any time we are out of milk or mom is too tired to run to the grocery store or get dinner it is Madison to the rescue. Funniest thing is that Malone still will not go get her license, so I am woken up early on breaks to cart her here, there, and everywhere. Dad ensures I pick up Maddox on Fridays by pumping her up on the way to school by saying, “Guess who is coming home today.” Maddox’s sweet little voice replies, “Is it already Friday.” If I am not there by 4:30 on the dot to pick up the littlest Saint-Amand I will never hear the end of it. “Why are you late?” If I send someone else to pick her up, she will throw a fit and refuse to go home with him or her. As soon as she walks through the door she states, “Why didn’t you pick me up today? Dad says it’s Friday. You ALWAYS pick me up on Fridays.” That will be the last word I hear from her all night because the silent treatment commences. I am being shamed by a three year old. Thanks Dad, you are the best.

4. Having them not listen to you because they say, “You’re not my mom.”

Yes, the three year old even tells me this. I blame Malone because she encourages her daily. I expect this sassy remark from the sarcastic, comical eighteen year old, but I never thought I would hear it from the sweet, loving three year old. What they don’t understand is that I am simply trying to help them. I have been through it all, well as much as one can in their twenty years, and I don’t want them making the same mistakes I did. Whether it be telling Maddox to not touch the hot stove or Malone ignoring me and rolling her eyes when I offer advice about college, I really am not trying to pester them. I simply want to help guide and direct them.

Though being the eldest is way more challenging than it seems, but I would not change it for anything. I am blessed with two amazing younger siblings who I have great relationships with. Greatest part is that at least one of them thinks I set the moon…the verdict is still out on whether the middle child will ever come around to liking me, but for now I am pleased with one out of the two. I am able to watch both Malone and Maddox grow up, watch how they navigate their lives, and develop into the incredible individuals they are already becoming. As their older sister, I will be able to cheer for all of their greatest achievements and console them during their lowest moments. This certainly trumps the struggle…my how lucky I am to be the eldest.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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