At this very moment, there are approximately a million and a
half articles floating around on the Internet all about having your
first kid versus your second or your third or your fourth of your fifteenth.
OK, maybe not as many on having your fifteenth, but you get
the drift. They’re all along the similar lines of, “First kid: eats only organic, pureed vegetables while Bach plays
softly in the background. Third kid: eats dirt with a side of dust bunnies.”
And while I can certainly chuckle along with the rest of the
moms-of-more-than-one-child at the sentiment that things are
definitely not as they always were with the first kid, I am also here to bust
down the myth that younger siblings get neglected.
I just delivered my fourth baby in six years about two
months ago and I will be completely honest with you — a lot of things have
changed. My first daughter really only did eat organic vegetables, and although
I’m not going to sweat it as much if I gave my last daughter fruit first, it’s
not like I’m pureeing up French fries either.
We joke about the later siblings getting neglected, but
honestly, I’m not always laughing about it. I’m very sensitive to the fact that
middle children especially can feel “left out” and feel like they are outsiders
within their own families, and I think it’s largely due to the fact that we have
this acceptance for younger kids to get the shaft a bit in the parenting
As a mom, I’ve worried that my younger kids will somehow be scarred
for life with less attention from me or if I will be stretched too thin trying
to care for them. We have this stereotype that younger kids will somehow get
lost in the shuffle and that’s OK, because, hey! It happens.
But I’ve been
surprised to discover that contrary to popular belief, younger siblings
actually get more attention in the
She is loved so much more, simply because there are more of us here to love her.
Of course, so much about my parenting has changed and I simply have less time during my day with four children, but in no way
do I think that younger siblings come out with the short end of the stick.
Instead, they get tons of extra attention from their big siblings. I mean,
think about it — when my first daughter was a baby, all she had was my ugly mug
to stare at during the day. How incredibly boring. But my fourth baby? She has
endless possibilities during the day: her big sisters, her big brother, the
15,000 toys they will fling about, the kids at school
pick-up. Her day is so much more interesting than the first baby’s ever was.
I know now that I shouldn’t have worried. I am just as
excited to fill out my fourth baby’s book as I was my first, and in many ways, I
treasure the moments of her babyhood even more because experience has taught
me how fleeting those moments really are. She is loved so much more, simply
because there are more of us here to love her.
So to any of the moms out there who are worried that
bringing another baby into the family means that he or she won’t get the
attention and the love that your first baby got, or that somehow you will be
forced to fail as a parent simply because you won’t have the time — fear not. You will change and grow as a parent. You will make mistakes along the
way and you will most definitely not treat every child the same way. But even
if you don’t do things as “perfectly” with the children who follow your first,
you will still be exactly the kind of parent they need.
Your next baby may not eat all organic vegetables, but they
will eat their vegetables, because you are now a savvy parent who knows how to
get the job done.
Your next baby may not have you all to herself, but she will
have more arms to hold her — and more hearts to love her.