Regardless if you grew up years ago or can relate to this now, these struggles are something us older children have all experienced.
1. The fact that you are your parents' guinea pig.
Whether it was riding a bike, or taking the SATs, your parents used you to figure out which method worked best. You were also the tester child for discipline, and it still pains you when your parents disregard things that you would have gotten grounded for.
2. You were always the babysitter. For. FREE.
Saturdays were never, ever for the boys. Unless the boys were your younger siblings. Regardless if you had plans on the calendar for weeks, if Mom and Dad wanted to go out, you were their go-to. Getting paid in ice cream was the luckiest you got. (But who's complaining?)
3. Always getting blamed for everything your younger siblings did and getting lectured for them "not knowing better."
"Why did you let your sister do that!?" was a common phrase in my house. As if it was my problem that my little sister got into my mom's makeup while I was at a friend's house.
4. Always having to be "perfect."
You always had tiny, impressionable people looking up to you, and almost every move you made was copied and repeated by them, especially the stupid things, until they've picked up another one of your bad habits, just from being around you. If you grew up in a house anything like I did, you had pressure from your parents to be their "role model" and pressured yourself to not mess them up.
5. You couldn't hang out your friends without the littles joining in.
Regardless of the time of day, the season, or the activity, my little siblings ALWAYS tagged along with my friends. At the time, it was the most annoying thing in the world. No gossiping or talking about boys, because there was no way you were giving them any more ammo for their blackmail gun. Looking back on it though, I would trade the world to have my little brother come hang out and cry with laughter with my friends and I just one more time.
6. Getting your drivers license wasn’t for you, it was so you can drive your siblings all over.
I swear the day I got my license and car, a huge tattoo showed up on my head that said "PERSONAL DRIVER." I appreciate my parents that much more now, because driving with two bickering kids in the back seat is not a good time. Not only did I realize that kids are SO MUCH work, despite being small, these kids have BIG lives, places to go, and people to see. Lots of them. Whether it be having a jam session when dropping them off at camp, or getting McFlurrys from McDonald's at night and having a rant session, these seemingly annoying car rides are some of my best memories.
7. That sibling rivalries were not just a myth made up on TV.
Having the most athletic, smart and compassionate little siblings was frustrating sometimes. Not only because everyone loved them, but because I was the compassionate and smart one first. (Not the athletic one though... that's all on them.) Being the oldest comes with accepting the fact that just like a mother, you put yourself (as others put you) on the back burner. Comparing my sister's grades to my grades was embarrassing for me, but it kept the rivalry alive. She was the brainiac, and I was the goofy one. We would fight over who was overall a better person, but then we realized that sibling rivalries were stupid and we each had our own strengths.
8. You never really grow up.
Always having younger kids around meant more responsibility, but also more fun. You got to vicariously live through your younger siblings. Whether it was amusement parks or Disney movies, you got to do it all twice.
9. The fact that they grow up. Become their own people. And that they aren’t your little partners in crime anymore.
Watching these little humans turn into not-so-little humans, and then eventually little adults is the most mind-boggling thing ever. Having younger siblings gives you such a sense of maturity and responsibility, and if you're anything like me, they become your children, despite the three-year age difference. You can only hope you did your best as a role model and as a sister as you watch them spread their wings. Seeing them off to homecomings, parties, dates, AP tests, and all things grown up is extremely bitter sweet. You love that you now have someone old enough to grab late night ice cream with, but you hate that you don't have someone to play dolls with and push in a stroller. Just as your parents did to you, you slowly learn to push them out of the nest, and hope they fly, just like you did. (But maybe fly a little higher or a little bit quicker)