10 Things My Much Younger Sibling Taught Me About Parenthood

10 Things My Much Younger Sibling Taught Me About Parenthood

Or, at least, what I think he taught me...
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Mallory

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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