Here’s another post that I originally post on my other Mum’s Word blog but have decided to bring over to my new blog for some new love. I wrote it in February 2007. But since I’ve recently posted about Birth Order this post is a follow on from that. For my own personal point of view. Enjoy.
When I originally wrote my post Childcare; Heartbreaking on my original Mum’s Word blog in 2007 one of the comments that was left suggested that I was probably having a hard time with my last child attending daycare because he was my “baby”.
I automatically knew what she meant. You see I’m the baby of my family, and I swear I was always treated differently because I was the ‘baby’. No matter how old I got, I was still the baby.
And the one I feel the biggest comparison with my brother – the first born in the family. I have a sister who is the middle child and then there’s me.
As I was saying, biggest comparison is with my brother. We both got married at 25. We both started our family at 27. When my brother got married, he was all grown up – a man. When he started his family he made a fine father.
Yet somehow, when those 2 momentous occasions happened to me I felt like everyone was looking at me waiting to trip up or something. No-one said anything directly but I guess after all the years of “look at how well your brother is doing” and “why can’t you be more like your brother” I suppose you can’t blame me for being a little paranoid.
As a typical third born I vowed to be bigger and better than the rest. (I read somewhere that last born children do that). So I was going to do something that neither my brother nor my sister had done before me. I was going to get a university degree. My brother never went to university. My sister dropped out after one year. I was going to go the whole way baby. Yes I was. And yes I did.
Out of the three of us, I was the one who had successfully gained a degree and that should make me the smartest. At least, book smart. But no-one seemed to jump up and down in with as much excitement as I’m sure they would have for my brother.
‘Sure, you have a degree, but can you get a job’, they thought. Well yes, damn it. I did get a job. And with my second job I was close to the same salary and level of responsibility as my brother.
Have I mentioned yet that my brother is 12 years older than me? He had a lot more years in the work force. But was I narrowing the margin? It didn’t feel like it.
Even though I knew that I had unlimited earning capacity and my brother didn’t, specifically because he didn’t have a degree (that’s what his boss at the bank said), somehow I still didn’t feel like I was better, or I knew more.
It really started to bother me, being the baby. I liked it when I was a kid, because I got a lot of attention, but it seemed like no-one let me grow up. I wanted to grow up.
Anyway, it bugged me and bugged me. I couldn’t work out why. And then it hit me right after I had my first baby. I could never compete with my brother because he would always have 12 years life experience on me. And there isn’t anything I can do about that.
How do I resolve that? I firmly believe a “bugger them” stance is necessary here, to keep me happy and sane.
So, all that said, I swore to myself I would never do that to my “baby”. I hope I keep that promise.
Related post; Birth Order Series
This post was also published on my other Mum’s Word blog “Will I Always Be A Baby?”
A lot of parallels here. I too am the youngest. My eldest brother is 10 years older. I too am the only one that got a degree and felt as though I had to “prove” myself and my brother was the superstar child.
But it was a chip on my years and years.
Once I let go of it, I let go of a lot of other things too…
Yeah I also have that career comparison in the sense that my brother got a sensible job in the finance industry. I got a corporate job but when I didn’t go back and decided to do freelance writing my parents were like “what? you’re doing what? I don’t understand. What do you mean you work when you want? What to you mean you negotiate your rate?”
Parents just don’t understand.
Love & stuff
I too am a third child, with an older brother and sister. I never felt any comparisons (at least not by my parents! – there were lots of other external comparisons between my sister and I), but I definitely have that feeling of having to prove myself all the time and be different.
Well 3rd borns are more creative. We have to be. To stand out. It’s good that your parents didn’t compare the three of you. That’s how it should be.
I actually wonder how much of it is in our heads. Because I’m sure we spend more time worrying about what our older siblings are doing than they spend time worrying about us.
Thanks for the visit.
Love & stuff