We finished up our book for the night.  Esther chose an “I love you” type book…you know “I love you so much…blah blah blah…the stars and moon aligned when you were born..blah blah blah…my life was complete when I held you for the first time…blah blah blah…”

I closed the book, and kissed them both upon the head and said “I love you guys so much.” ( you know the customary response after reading one of these “I love you” type books…because we really need these book to read to them to explain how much we love them instead of, well hugging, kissing, saying I love you and making their meals and such…) And as I was reminding myself to throw this sappy shit away after they went to bed, Eloise honestly said to me…
“Mom, you don’t really love me that much. Nobody does. You all love Esther and Astrid more.  Esther is fun and funny to be around and Astrid is the baby and I, I am just Eloise.  I don’t do anything special and sometimes I think I am weird. None of the kids in school like me, my whole family hates me. You only ask me to do things for you…pick up my books, clean my room, set the table, fold laundry, watch the baby, help Esther in the shower. I am not good for anything else. Nobody loves me.”

She is 7.  She is my firstborn. She is complicated and I admit we mix like oil and water. She is cautious, she is sensitive, she is smart, she is serious and she is right – she is not funny.
And I told her, “Eloise, I love you all the same with my whole entire heart and YOU, YOU Eloise have even a more special place in my heart because you were my first.  You made me a mother. You don’t have to be funny for me to love you. You don’t have to be or do anything. I love you because you are you. My Eloise, forever.”

And then I wonder if most firstborns are this insecure and perhaps even selfish in their feelings? Do they need to be purposely told how awesome they are daily? Do they feel we have more kids just to take love away from them?  That they were not enough?

I am not a firstborn.  Did my brother feel like I got away with everything and our parents loved me more? Does my mom, the oldest of 7 children feel like she was loved the least with the burden of taking care of her siblings heavy on her shoulders?

Are you a firstborn?  Do you feel unloved? Overly sensitive? The martyr by design?  Do you need an extra hug today?  Can I tell you to just suck it up and move on?

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    Growing up the first born was not always easy. We seem to set the rules as we broke them and I, for one, seemed to always have a lot of responsibility. I think it made me a stronger woman. We seem to grow up with labels – “oldest” “the middle child” “THE BABY” – AND your children will have all of those:)

  2. Jen says

    Awwww, this totally made me tear up. What a sweet, sensitive girl she is.

    I was the youngest, and two older sisters (10 and 12 years older than me!) seemed to adore me when I was a baby/younger, but as I got older and went to college (they chose not to), a lot of resentment seemed to stem from them, especially my middle sister. I’m close with my oldest sister now, but there will always be an awkwardness there between me and my middle sister.

    Your post makes me feel for my own little girl, Caroline, my oldest. Since her baby sister was born a little over a year ago, I KNOW I have been harder on her and have expected a lot more from her than a 3/4 year-old should be expected of, and that makes me feel like crying right now. Well, I am crying now! lol It’s just hard. SO HARD. to shuffle two of them (I don’t know how you do it with three!!!!!!!), and, of course, the baby needs the most attention b/c that’s just the way it is.

    I’m planning on taking Caroline out on Saturday—-got this idea from you 🙂 to go to lunch, just the two of us and to the mall for her to pick out some back-to-school things—-not me forcing what I want on her (lol), but really letting her pick a few outfits on her own. Days like that really are special—one on one time 🙂

    I love your blog!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Amanda C says

    WOW.. WOW.. I could have written this about my first born. She needs to be told ALL.THE.TIME that she is loved and special and fabulous etc.. She needs individual time too (of which I have none to give her). And the oil and water part?? Uhh yeah, we got that here too..

  4. melanie says

    I am a firstborn and there is a special anxiety and cautiousness that comes with the role. I see it clearly in Aidan and I always say that he takes after me, but I guess I hadn’t totally pinpointed that it’s a firstborn thing until this moment. Compared with his sister, he worries more, takes less risks and is more of a perfectionist. She, on the other hand, is the free-spirited one. She floats around and I literally worry that she will wander off when we are out in public.

    Interestingly, most of the other adults in Aidan’s life are not firstborns, and I do think it is difficult for them to understand his anxiety levels at times. I can totally relate when he is doing an art project, makes a mistake, and starts bawling because that’s totally something I would have done at his age… and maybe even now. LOL

  5. Jaci says

    Yeah, I totally get your post. I’m a firstborn and I completely see myself in my firstborn. She is serious, responsible, a perfectionist and also not very funny. She loves to be alone and just do her own thing. Whereas her brother is very funny, just goes with the flow of life and craves constant company.

    While my firstborn and I aren’t oil and water, sometimes we are TOO much alike and we drive eachother crazy. I try to remember how I felt about things when I was her age so I can help her through things. She is so sensitive that the slightest reprimand will send her into tears. Yep, that was me, too.

  6. says

    I am the firstborn, and I can see many of the same traits in myself as you describe in Eloise. Sensitive, cautious, things like that. My sister, on the other hand, is so much more of a free spirit and so independent. I don’t remember much need to be reassured by my parents, maybe because I didn’t become a big sister until I was 10? I had a VERY long period of time as an only, which maybe colors my experience a little differently. By the time I really had to “help out” with my sister, I was already at babysitter age, you know? Ironically, my husband’s family has the same sibling spacing, only he is the baby. And I can definitely see differences in how we parent or sympathize with certain feelings based on his being the baby and my being the oldest (both of us with siblings spaced 10 years from us).
    My oldest stepson is 15 and has siblings 13 and 11, and he was EXACTLY like Eloise as a younger child. I could have just interchanged the names when you described her. We became pregnant with our first daughter (who is with Jesus now), he was six and said: “Great. Another baby to take MORE attention from ME.” He was a VERY sensitive and almost bitter child at times. 🙁 When I became his stepmom, I tried to do a lot of one-on-one activities with him just for ressurance. His mom had and has a lot of problems, so I don’t think he ever got much stability whatsoever there and I think that just added to his issues. But his 2 younger siblings also have had to deal with the issues of their mother, and they are amazingly resilient and well-adjusted children.
    Goodness, I just wrote a book here. Sorry about that!
    LOVE the pics of you ladies with your mom. She’s so beautiful!
    Amanda M. recently posted..The Packed Bed

  7. says

    I am a middle child, that itself holds certain personality traits that define you.
    The same can be said for the first born, or the last child.

    I’ve heard what Eloise said through my children when they were younger. Now as adults themselves, they know it to be not true.

    Children.. the innocence of them, their unique personalities. God love them all.
    jamie recently posted..Musings of This- That and Other Things

  8. says

    I am a classic first born, always feeling the need to take care of everyone else, as that is how I was raised. To be the responsible one, and set the standard, and never, ever, make a mistake. I can completely empathize with Eloise, and think maybe I should spend more time with her, one on one, ’cause I completely get her.

    No matter if you are the oldest, youngest, middle, or only, they all have their special challenges. And just asking other moms about this (great topic, by the way) shows that you care enough to figure it all out. Eloise is a very lucky girl.
    kp recently break

  9. says

    OMG I totally get your post!! My firstborn makes me want to beat my head against a concrete wall daily with this!!!! And as a firstborn I quite likely made my mother beat her head against a concrete wall too 🙂 It goes with the territory and like you told Eloise, I always tell mine you are loved because you are YOU!
    Leah recently posted..Bird Watching

  10. says

    I was born first and have one sister and I LOVED it. My parents were awesome and we both always felt super special and I think it’s part of the reason I’m the bossy/take charge person I am today.

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  12. Sahnya says

    I’m the oldest of three girls … being the firstborn, like any position in the fam, has its highs and lows depending on my mood, my hair, the day, coffee intake, etc. There will be times when Eloise will see how much Ester and Astrid look up to her and she will follow her lead anywhere and she will burst with pride at who she is…. she will find her tribe and flourish!

    She and Holden are similar … maybe it is the firstborn niche?!

  13. says

    Oh my…This post made me so teary. I am a first born too, and I freely admit that I’m very sensitive & need a lot of praise. I didn’t really realize those were first born traits, but I can see why they are. In my oldest, I can see that he also needs those things desperately. I’m usually happy to comply, but sometimes…you know how it is. Anyway – I just wanted to let you know I think you handled that beautifully.
    Stacey recently posted..Reunited

  14. says

    I love Eloise. Right now I want to hold that sweet thing. My own first born is so aware of the world around him that he can’t help but be sensitive in much the same way. He would have been that way even if we didn’t have the girls. It almost literally broke his heart when we had Maggie. He still resents it. But I have the advantage that we are peas in a pod. Morgan is my partner in crime in an almost unhealthy way. (Like in the I can’t believe he is going to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with his friends and not me..pout…pout way.) All I can do is reassure him every day I have left with him.

  15. Jenn says

    I keep on coming back to this post because the sentiments ring true for my firstborn as well. I teared up on the first read and continue to think about the depth what you captured. Eloise is a gem and you are too. Thank you.