The Struggles of an Only Child Raising Siblings


Although I technically have siblings {a half-sister and four step-brothers} I was my mom’s only child. I also never lived with any of my siblings for an extended amount of time, so I feel like my experience growing up is closer to that of an only child. This isn’t something that I gave much thought about until I had children of my own. I never dreamed this would effect the way I parent my children, but I am learning that my pre-children expectations do effect the way I react, and some days I just struggle to understand the dynamic of siblings. 

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only child

There are fights, so many fights, over toys, food, hitting, and yelling, {as I type we have just had an incident with some plastic swords}. I spend so much time finding out who did what, or said what or simply asking “Why are you crying now?”. I remember being a child and playing with friends in the neighborhood, if things got heated or I didn’t like the game being played I could simply come home and play with my own things. I could go back into my room and talk with all my imaginary friends who never talked back or wanted to play unfun games. My children don’t have that luxury, they are forever built in playmates.

effect the way I parentThere is no such thing as his toys and her toys, they are mixed continuously.

Now those of you that grew up with siblings you are thinking at this point, well duh lady that’s how it works. Obviously, I can only speak for myself but I literally had no idea! Even though I grew up as an only child, I do not feel like I was spoiled or raised to be ungrateful about the toys I got, but what I got was mine and mine alone. I could put something away and come back in a day or two and there it would be right where I left it!  I had this idea in my head that my son’s room would be full of trucks and superheroes and my daughter’s room would be full of baby dolls and dress up. Then in my perfect universe they would happily play alongside each other, laughing and using their imagination.

{are you laughing yet….because I am}

Now I am smack in the middle of reality, she likes baby dolls but also loves his superheroes. He doesn’t care that her guitar is pink, he just wants to put on an awesome concert for the house. I’m learning to embrace the chaos, and take it one dream crushing debate as they come. But what I have learned that no matter what our background is we bring that into our families sometimes without even being aware of it. This is not always negative, it can be positive, but I caution you to take stock of your stresses. And if they are being caused because the reality is not living up to the childhood fantasy it is OK to take a deep breath mourn the fantasy and then readjust to the reality of life.

 Having children and raising them is HARD. Taking care of your marriage in the midst of this is HARD. For those of you that went past two children you are my heroes and my hat is off I can only imagine it being even HARDER!

So my fellow mommas, whether you are an only child like me or you were number five in a house of ten, we all need to show ourselves some grace and take it one day, one fight, one mess at a time!

How many kids are you raising? Is it what you expected or where you like me and found out the hard way that reality doesn’t always match the expectations? Comment below and let us know what was the most surprising part of motherhood for you! 


  1. Well, I have to say that for being an only child you are doing a great job with raising two now. well three if you count your husband! LOL

  2. This is me. I’m an only and I had two kids. The fighting, oh the fighting, the tattling, the whining, the complaining about the other one… It’s so exhausting.

  3. Yes! Same here-have a half sister and stepbrother but being a Mom of 2 teens in same house is challenging. I enjoyed your article. Hope today is a good parenting day 🙂

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