I have three siblings: an older brother, and two younger sisters. We’re all parents, and we all make an effort to get together as often as possible even though we’re spread across the country.
I never dreamed growing up with them that they would become an integral part in helping me be a better parent. No, we aren’t giving each other advice all the time (although that does happen, too), but we are there for each other. And, there is something special about that sibling bond in adulthood that helps you survive the trials of life. Especially the trials of being a parent.
It’s fascinating to see my sister who has two older kids experience things before I will. As she calls me and we talk about her struggles raising two teens, I can imagine scenarios with my own kids before they happen. And, she’s got the best been there, done that attitude that helps me with my current struggles raising kids that are not too far behind hers.
My other two siblings have both become single parents recently. I admire their strength and abilities watching them parent. They are both a lot more laid back than I am, and it helps me to watch them parent their children and know that I could chill out a lot more. Also, if they can do it alone, I can certainly get through parenting with a husband that is my partner in all decision making and discipline.
But, the thing that surprises me most is the resolve that we all have to do better and be better. Growing up with the same set of parents gives us all a perspective that is similar. Of course, we all experienced a similar childhood under the same roof, but we all turned out taking away something different from the experience. Those small (and big) differences impact my own parenting.
It’s so nice to be able to call my sister and have her completely understand why yelling at my kids makes me feel like a horrible parent. It’s something I struggle with, and something I know she’s struggled with, too. We get each other in that sense, and understand why it’s both an incredible thing to overcome with our childhood, and yet so important for our own families. We have girls almost the same age, and I am constantly calling to hear the words, “me too” as it relates to the struggles we face with our girls.
My brother offers me a unique perspective on patience and not getting so worked up over the small stuff. I am the queen of getting worked up over the small stuff, so his laid back attitude helps ground me, and realize that we can do anything we set our minds to as parents, and that our history does not define us.
And, my youngest sister is a hard working business owner. I admire her constant determination to do hard things for her daughter. And, she has a way of letting her daughter just be 100 percent who she is already at 4-years-old, and blossom in her own creativity and uniqueness. I can learn a lot from that, too.
There is just something special about having other adults, with the same background as your own, raising kids with you. We try hard to get our kids together for some quality cousin time, and we’re all committed to the same goal. Trying our best to be better than the generation before us.
Without their insight and support, I’m not sure I would make it. After all, who else can you call to cry in the bathroom at the end of a long day and complain about the kids without judgment? My sister.
Who else could teach you how to cut your kids’ hair to help you save a little money? My sister.
And, who else would let three crazy sisters invade his personal space and run his house like a personal motel for a week just so our kids can play together? My brother.
I love my siblings, and while I didn’t always like them growing up, I’m so grateful to have them in my life as an adult, and feel like I have a tribe of people behind me that totally get it. And, that’s something to truly be thankful for.