Being the Oldest, Raising an Oldest

I was thinking the other day whether Torre is at an advantage or disadvantage in being my first child. As a plus, he gets much more undivided attention than kids with siblings, everything he does is new and exciting and amazing because we’ve never seen a baby learn to walk or climb before. I have pretty high self-esteem and I’m sure much of that comes from the support and positive reinforcement I have enjoyed throughout my life from family and friends. Hopefully the same is true for Torre growing up – I want him to absorb all the amazement that we feel towards him and internalize it to always know that he is precious.

However, as the oldest, Torre is exposed to my least polished-by-motherhood self: my most selfish, most anxious, most inexperienced version of parenting. Obviously I’m doing my best, but I feel like I will improve and grow with time and experience, and any future children we have will benefit from that. Maybe I’m over-optimistic about the trajectory my personal growth is on, but I do think he’s at a disadvantage in this sense. I thank God he’s so resilient and cheerful and forgiving even after moments when I don’t have the emotional stamina to put his wants before mine (he wants to be in my arms to see what’s happening up on the counter, while I want supper to get made so I’m not hangry). For what it’s worth, I think I do pretty well at putting his needs before my needs, but I feel like this can only digress into insecure ramblings. I’m a good mom, but I could be better, let’s move on.

As the oldest child, Torre is also going through babyhood/toddlerhood without any other kids around to look up to. Many families get around this by being connected with other families who have young kids, and we do our best to get together with our friends who also have little ones. We just don’t live close enough to our friends with kids to see them regularly (weekly or monthly). Now that I have seen Torre interacting with other kids I am more motivated to get out and give him opportunities to socialize, but it’s tough. I am a homebody, the wind chill has been murderous, and I procrastinate new things. If there were other kids in the home then we could all play together every day!

But then I really might lose my mind.

When I get insecure about what I can and cannot offer my only/oldest child, I remember that I am an oldest child and I turned out great! I expect to be accepted and celebrated because that is the response that was drilled into my brain before it started recording specific memories, and I am passing on the favour to my son.

What do you think? Is it better to be a celebrated firstborn or come along after parents have been broken in a little bit?

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Donna 04-03-2014, 17:22

As an oldest to an oldest, our experience is a reflection of our parents goals, experience and expectations. You have parents who excel at parenting primarily because they look, even now, to their Heavenly Father for guidance. If you do that as well with Torre and any other children you may be blessed with, their experience will be to know they are accepted and celebrated. Parenting is tough but I am confident that you will do it well.

alyssa 04-03-2014, 20:52

I do have a great example to follow in both my parents, and trusting God for guidance is absolutely key. There are so many unpredictable and uncontrollable elements in life, not to mention raising a child, trusting God to give me wisdom and direction and trusting him to do the same for Torre over his life is definitely an anchor for me. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement! 🙂


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