Since I was 7 when my youngest brother was born (and because of course I was the most responsible, and a girl), I got the ‘privilege’ of helping Mum change nappies, being ‘Mum’s Little Helper. It’s not that I was made to do it, but more the fact that I liked being the ‘responsible one’, so I saw changing nappies as just a part of my role as oldest child, it made me feel special. Looking back now, I should’ve known better. Changing nappies at 7 is never okay, but it’s just part of what you do sometimes.
You’re the test run
Your parents always go harder on you because, let’s be honest, they have no idea what they’re doing. Consequently, for the rest of your life at home (before you move out) you will be constantly faced with situations where your younger siblings are allowed to do something, buy something, go somewhere, anything, before you. It’s just the way it works. I just learnt to get over it.
Being the oldest is great, but it’s also hard. There’s pressure to set an example, to always do the ‘right thing’. If you ever do something stupid “you should’ve known better” because you’re the older one, and that’s when you get the “Saskia, I’m not mad at you, I’m just disappointed”. That’s the worst one.
You’re the family babysitter
The flipside of being the most practiced babysitter is the fact that you have to babysit all the time. Why pay someone to babysit when Sask could just do it for free? See ya later plans with friends, it looks like I’m staying in tonight with siblings who are going to take advantage of the fact that Mum and Dad aren’t home. Woo!
The spying and teasing
If you were hanging out with your friends at home your younger sibling/s and their friends would follow you round and try listening in on conversations. If you had a crush on someone you would get constantly teased and eventually your parents would find out because your siblings don't understand what subtle is.
Since I had no older first cousins, I would always get brand new clothes for my wardrobe. However, because I always wrecked my clothes as a youngster my younger sister would never get my hand-me-downs anyway. I guess it could be fair to say I was somewhat of a tomboy during my early years in life.
The likelihood of being successful is high
According to research by the University of Essex, since you were once the only child (before your sibling/s arrived), your parents spent more time devoted to you and therefore you are more responsible, which corresponds to a higher likelihood of being successful. In fact, it’s even 13% more likely for first-born girls than first-born boys to be successful. Take women like Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, J.K Rowling and Saskia Whitelock (I mean what?), each of them are successful in their own right.
You’re the most practiced babysitter of all time
All those years of babysitting the sibs make you the best babysitter ever. You’re an expert at bribing your brothers to go to bed, or being sneaky and letting them stay up and telling them to fake sleep when Mum and Dad come home. After all, practice makes perfect they say.
You get the front seat privilege
It is your right, as the eldest sibling, to get the front seat, end of story.
You get to be that occasional annoying and embarrassing older sibling
Spitting peas at your siblings like a machine gun, yeah, super immature, but super fun. I should add that I didn’t do that recently; it was ages ago (haha). In recent years I like to embarrass my siblings by going into their rooms and dancing crazy, or better yet, doing it in public. It’s all about seizing the opportunities when they arise.
You get to be that ‘cool’ older sibling
I’ve always loved picking up my brothers from school with the music blasting, and seeing their face as they realise the girl in the ‘cool’ car is their ride home. You see them say goodbye to their friends and stroll on over to the car like they’re being picked up in a mustang, when really it’s just because you’re just a cool person. Haha. I love big sister duties too, e.g. teaching your siblings how to drive, this year I got to take my brother on a few driving lessons, I loved it!
You get to be your siblings’ protector
I know a few times when I’ve got to stand up for my brothers or sister in the face of bullies and tell them to back off. I remember one time in the playground there were some boys bullying my wee sister, so I went over and scared them off, I was her number one that day, still am in fact (haha).