Spoiled. Bratty. Entitled. Introvert. Know-it-all. Lonely. I’m sure you can think of many more traits attributed to an only child like me and many of these traits are kind of negative. So, as an only child who grew up in the late 80s early 90s, I’m here to tell you, I’m perfectly fine and did not “suffer” from being an only child. In fact, I never recall wishing for a sibling at all.
I loved being part of the Three Musketeers—my mom, and dad and me, I enjoyed the attention and not having to squabble over sharing my things, I enjoyed being solitary (never lonely). There were a bunch of kids in my neighborhood and we played outside together and I have my best friend who I’ve known since she was born (our families were friends. I like to think I didn’t miss out by not having a sibling, but, honestly, I’ll never know.
Now, I am a mom of one brilliant little girl and I have another little munchkin on the way and I am extremely anxious about parenting two kids. I witnessed my friends with siblings growing up and arguing, I watched them lean on each other for support, I watched them rat each other out to their parents, I watched them defend each other fiercely.
Fortunately, with my, line of work I have been able to stay home with her and it has been great and exhausting all at once. And, through the mom friends I’ve made, I am beginning to see all the plus side to having siblings:
1. Friends for life. Your kiddos will be guaranteed a partner in crime, even if they are not very close, they will share the same experience by living in the same house with the same crazy parents and they’ll be able to bond over that and hopefully champion each other through some rough patches. They will also, inevitably play with each other since kids constantly seek companionship and playmates—that means I get a break from playing barbies and tea parties. Yay!
2. Learning from each other. I see it already with our first one, and the second hasn’t even been born yet. She constantly tells me things she wants to teach her little brother and it’s incredibly sweet to watch her develop that sense of responsibility. And the baby will want to copy everything his big sister does, so surely it will get him moving and talking and learning much faster in general.
3. Science says it’s a good thing. Having a sibling improves your health in more ways than one. New studies come out every day, but these are ones I’m going to hang my hat on. Siblings can improve physical health, mental health, and happiness. As I understand it, living with someone, especially an irrational, loud, clumsy, bossy little person can drive you crazy more often than not. But, learning to live with them definitely “builds character.”
Now, I haven’t even started on the journey of parenting siblings and I still have no real idea what to expect, but I’m definitely on board for the sibling love (and rivalry), but please check back in a couple of years to make sure I’m surviving!