How Do I Raise Siblings When I’ve Never Been One?

Do you and your husband plan to have another child?

I’m asked this all the time, and the question always gets my mind spinning. There are so many things to consider when deciding to have a second, such as: how far apart should they be? Can we afford another child? Do I need a bigger car? But the question I repeatedly ask myself is: as an only child myself, how do I prepare to raise siblings when I’ve never been one?

Growing up I always wanted a sibling, a sister specifically, mainly for what I imagined to be constant companionship and a built-in BFF. But at the same time, there were several things about having siblings that never seemed appealing to me. My friends who had siblings seemed to have more rules at their house than my laissez-faire home. I liked not having to share with anyone, and as an introvert, I really enjoyed a quiet home.

It’s interesting being an only child.

Of course, being an only child can get a bad reputation sometimes. We’ve all heard about only children being spoiled, entitled and impatient. While I may have some aspects of each of those characteristics, there are also a lot of positive things I found in being an only. For example, I’m fiercely independent and content spending time alone. I learned to communicate well with adults at a young age, and I hold my friendships to an insanely high standard. Now that I’m a parent, I also see how much easier having one child makes it do things like travel, schedule babysitters, manage finances and navigate busy NOLA weekends.

Because of my upbringing as an only child, I feel confident in raising my son as a solo kid. It’s the thought of raising him as a sibling that makes me apprehensive. There is so much I don’t know about life as a sibling and it gives me a lot of apprehensions.

I worry about so much.

I worry about birth order. Will my oldest be the strong leader everyone says oldest children are? Will my youngest be the social butterfly we hear about? Will my kids have an authentic bond and unconditional love for one another?

I worry about spreading my attention and time. As an only, everything was always all about me. There were no multiple schedules and activities to juggle, and everything I did was a big deal. Will I be able to provide the same sense of security and celebration to more than one child? Will I have to prioritize one child’s schedule over another? Will they be envious of the time their sibling spends with Mom? Most importantly, will I be able to foster their unique and individual personalities and needs equally?

I worry about finances and logistics. Another child means another daycare bill, another college fund, and likely another house. Can I juggle another person’s calendar and needs with our already busy lives? Will I be able to provide the life and experiences I desire for our family to multiple children?

I worry about the relationship I will help them create with each other. Will I push my independence on them so much that it hinders their bond with each other? Will I know how to help them navigate sibling rivalries and jealous moments? How will I help them build community with each other while valuing outside friendships as well?

I hope for so much.

Along with my worries, there are several things I hope my kids find in a sibling relationship that I didn’t get to experience as an only child.

I hope to raise them to find genuine love and support in each other. I hope they learn to be teammates while still valuing their individual ideals. I hope they show empathy to each other and are always loyal to their beliefs. I hope they are kind to their sibling and vocal about their truths.

Above all else, I desire for them to be happy and content with wherever their sibling journey takes them and to know that I did my best to guide a relationship that is unknown to me.

So yes, to answer the question, I do plan to have another child. But for just a little while longer I want to bask in the life I know and understand, only child life. For now, I’ll be working to find a balance between my worries and my hopes before we start our next journey, that of my son as a sibling and me as a mom of siblings.

Are you an only child raising siblings? Any advice?

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in June of 2019. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of Finance and Operations at a local CMO. As a first time mom she is learning to embrace the chaos. Danielle’s current struggle is getting her little one to nap as well at home as he does at daycare and to utilize his sippy cup. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys gift giving, thrifting, watching tv and sewing. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.

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