When I was 10 years old, my parents told me that they would be having another child. When my siblings and I heard the news, we all became extremely excited. Looking back, I know that we all reacted this way because, finally, the missing piece to our family was about to arrive.
Eight months and a few weeks later, my little brother arrived on my birthday, making us exactly eleven years apart. I have gotten an inside view of parenthood at a pretty young age because of his arrival. If you have a younger sibling, you will probably have observed a few of these!
1. You think that you are pretty well prepared for the early stages
When I went to the hospital to meet my little brother, the first thing that I did was feed him. From that point on, I was changing diapers, clothing, and doting over him. Being so hands-on with him when he was little helped set my expectations for having a newborn straight—it’s not all cuteness all the time people!
2. But you understand what your parents mean when they say they would do anything for you
Although I saw the challenges of having a newborn, from early on, I knew that I would do anything for that kid. The struggles pale in comparison to the love you have for that tiny little guy.
3. You are A LOT more patient than you used to be
You learned early on that the little things take forever with a child. Getting out of the car? Yeah, that takes you about three seconds. Plan on about five minutes for newborns (if you are lucky). And nope, the speed still hasn’t seemed to pick up ten years later.
4. You are in on all of the elementary school drama
The education trends weren’t left in the 2000’s people. You probably know all the drama surrounding elementary school-from education styles (public vs. private, year-round vs. traditional, the common core fiascos, etc.). You probably also know the new nicknacks and toys. Amend, of course, you know all the drama from recess. Talk about some weird information for a college student to know!
5. You know exactly what they are going through
I mean, you have a lot of nature and nurture in common.
6. And wonder what to do about it
The urge to take care of hard situations for them that you have already experienced is SO STRONG. But you know that you are a better person because of the challenges you worked through, so you ultimately have to sit back and watch them wrestle with the same situation you did ten years prior because the goal is to make them an awesome human-not an overly protected human.
7. You have already had some of your “first child experiences”
I was so fortunate to have my mom teach me how to care for a newborn on her fourth time around. She explained to me what worked for her and what didn’t, and little tips and tricks she picked up along the way. Lucky for me, I won’t have to figure some new parent stuff out on my own when I have my first child because of this experience.
8. You’ve been exposed to different parenting styles
And you may have even experimented with some yourself. You probably also tell yourself, “I am definitely not going to raise my kid in such-in-such a way,” but, since you have been exposed to the crazy world that is taking care of a child, you know that is completely subject (and extremely likely) to change.
9. Your life is going to be hectic
As stated above, nothing is ever done perfectly. Your house won’t be in condition. Your child is not going to be perfect. You are going to be far from the perfect parent.
10. It is going to be awesome
It’s totally OK that it won’t be perfect. The beauty in the mess, stress, and chaos. Luckily, you have stopped expecting perfection a long time ago if you have a young sibling. In fact, you are probably looking forward to the craziness because you know that is where the moments that mean the most are made.