Mamas, look after your middles.
Those babies who are born second, third, fourth or so in the birth order. The ones who are sandwiched between the idolized older sibling and the teeny tiny baby who stole everyone’s hearts.
They need you more than you know.
They need a little extra love from time to time. A hug and a “good job” here and there just to remind them that nobody has taken their spot in your heart since you added to your family.
Try to remember they weren’t given a choice of their place in the lineup. If given the choice, they might have picked to go first or last instead. We all know that being stuck in the middle kind of stinks sometimes. Like on an airplane, in a bed, or on an off-ramp on your way home from work. The middle limits them, with little room to push forward or fall back. Half grown and half stuck in childhood.
It gets complicated in the middle.
Keep in mind that they sometimes feel lost in the shuffle. They will behave as not to be a bother and also act out to get attention. Living life in the middle means being a bit of the baby and a bit of the big kid.
Encourage them to find something they love, and not just what they think they should be into because you, their dad or their older sibling is into it. Nurture their interests like a piece of fine glasswork, because if it’s not nurtured it will break and won’t be picked up off the floor to be glued back together again.
Keep watch of their tender hearts as they learn to navigate life in the middle. They might seem wise beyond their years, but people pleasing is hard work and sometimes they just need room to be a kid a bit longer.
Allow them the freedom to spread their wings as one of the older kids in the family, but also be there if they need a soft place to land if plans don’t turn out the way they would have liked.
Don’t box them in with birth order expectations. If they are the first to decide to get married, let them. If they are the last to graduate from college, let them. They might not follow the path you have laid out for them, and that’s OK.
Bear in mind that they might not fit the stereotypical middle child portrayed in movies and on TV. They might be more like the eldest or an only child as compared to other middles. Hollywood likes to toss them to the side as the extra child, or assume they are equal parts jealous and people pleasers, when that’s just not always the case.
Look after your middle children mama. They are just trying to find themselves and their own unique person without being compared to big brother or big sister, but also trying to look out for baby brother or baby sister.
There’s something special about the middle. It produces adaptable, capable, sweet, snarky, and compassionate kids who turn into adults with these redeeming qualities.
Keep your middles at the center of your heart so they may never feel anything less than a necessary part of your family and your life.
Another mama who happens to be a middle herself
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