Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

My rush to pack lunches and prepare breakfast was interrupted by my little one wailing, “Mommy, he said that I can’t ride on the bus!” I looked into the family room to see my two sweet boys—brothers— sitting side by side on the couch. Only now they weren’t being so sweet as they snarked, poked, and screamed at one another.

Disregarding the fact that my youngest, a preschooler, can’t ride on the bus, I sternly scolded my oldest son for pointing out this fact after firmly telling his little brother to stop his fit. Then I promptly made them apologize to one another, which they did—reluctantly and half-heartedly. It was momentarily enough to satisfy my fear that they hated each other.

My fear is, of course, unfounded when considering the evidence of their boundless love for each other. My oldest is quick to teach, protect, and indulge his little brother’s want to learn, follow, and copy. And my youngest freely shows his affection for his brother with hugs, kisses, and proclamations that is the best older brother.

Yet when they fight, which they do, I hurt. I am quick to defend one or the other, to settle the dust, and make peace. I suppose it’s because I love each of them so much that when they feel sad or slighted, I feel the pain of it. And that pain doubles when the source of their hurt is their sibling.

Rationally and from experience, I know that their squabbling is normal, natural, and even necessary. Growing up with three older brothers, I am very familiar with screaming matches, endless teasing, and desserts being licked (a tactic to steal the last piece of cake).

My parents rarely interceded, believing we would—and should—work it out by ourselves, which we did. Yes, I lost out on a few cookies and cupcakes but I also gained some serious debating skills and a sense of humor. Co-existing with three people who shared my space and parents taught me compromise, loyalty and love.

The bickering between my brothers and me was in many ways an important, and necessary, part of our lives together. Fighting with one another meant we would also fight for each other. Taking out our frustrations on one another meant that there was trust that the other would understand and forgive. Teasing meant we knew each other enough to push the right buttons.

So, should you stop sibling rivalry?

Unless there is imminent danger then no you shouldn’t stop your children from squabbling. Why?

Sibling rivalry serves a purpose. It allows us to find our place and position in our family and sometimes in the world. And, most importantly, it teaches us that love can survive much more than a childish spat.

Moments later, my boys who are playing nicely together again interrupt into shouts and shrieks. Heading quickly towards them, I stop and wait. One scolds the other for snatching a car. The car is handed back with an apology and their play happily continues.

Standing there, my intervention and subsequent lecture unneeded, I realize that siblings will snatch from one another, get jealous of each other, and fight with one another. But in spite of it—or maybe even because of it—they will still care about and love each other.

So before you step in to stop it, step aside, wait and watch because your children will work it out together in their own way.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Sherry Parnell

A full-time writer, personal trainer, and professor, I am the author of Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain. An alumnus of Dickinson College and West Chester University, I live with my husband and sons in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. I am currently working on my third novel entitled The Secrets Mother Told.

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Raising You Right Is Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
little boy walking in sunlit field

You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.   And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” I had my first inkling that day when you were five...

Keep Reading

Are You Watching?

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl playing goalie at soccer practice, color photo

I brought a book to my 7-year-old daughter’s soccer practice. To be honest, I was looking forward to one hour of time when I didn’t have to do anything but sit. No one would be asking me questions, and no one would need anything from me. I wasn’t in charge. So, I set up my lawn chair, got cozy, and opened the book. But then I happened to glance up as it was her turn to run a drill. The coach was passing each kid the ball for them to kick into the goal. She stepped forward, kicked, and made...

Keep Reading