So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Today, my son officially became a big brother. Well, technically that happened one night about ten weeks ago, but today the ultrasound tech showed a picture of our new family member and we heard his or her heart beating

I stared at one baby cooing beside me as I looked up at a strange little bean moving around inside of me at the same time. It was definitely an extraordinary moment. But then I thought my baby is officially a big brother. What have we done?

The new baby is due 13 months and a week to the day after our first. I’m not worried my husband and I can’t handle it—we absolutely can. I’m not fearful if we’ll do it well—I know we are great and loving parents. But what I am fearful for is my son. Is HE ready to be a big brother yet?

We’ve always wanted more than one child, so I knew technically he would be the oldest sibling one day. Being the oldest sibling myself, I know what this role entails and I’m not sure I am ready to thrust him into that position just yet.

I’m sure all family positions come with their own set of obstacles and advantages. Being the firstborn for me has come with its share of ups and downs. There is an early sense of responsibility bestowed upon the eldest that I know all too well. As you are immediately assumed to be the person who helps take care of your siblings; for me at least my role could many times feel like second mom and less like a child. There is also that pesky way you have to be first for everything. There is no one before you to smooth over the bumps and cut a path out for you to at least have a little bit of a direction to begin heading. There is the responsibility of it all, too. And the need to always get it right, because you are the example to those younger siblings. It’s an honor, but it can be difficult.

But here is what I plan to tell him about being the oldest sibling one day:

You have to be brave to step out first. The majority of the time, you are the guinea pig, the tester, and the new kid in the activity. As your mom, there will be plenty of days when I send you into the world and have no idea how things will turn out. You are my first, and therefore we have to work out all the fears and kinks and growing pains together. You may have to just take a deep breath and leap out there into the unknown for the both of us. That takes some courage, to always be the tester. But I promise I will never let you fall too hard. And I’ll try hard not to smother you with my own fears and insecurities.

As you pave the way, pave it with kindness. You have the tremendous burden of having to create the path your siblings will likely follow. It’s a blessing and curse at times to have your sibling trailing on your heels. Sometimes it will be annoying because they will have a wide open route to drive down after you have done all the legwork. But try not to let jealousy or frustration get the better of you. Be kind to them. Be open to them. Show them the way and love them through their own journeys.

Remember you are now and forever a teacher. Teach with love. From the time your little siblings come home from the hospital, through all the days of your life together, they will be watching you. The way you smile and laugh, cry and hurt, play and walk and talk, the way you hug and especially the way you love. Each moment will be looked at and a little lesson will be ingrained in their heads. So my hope for you is that you will embrace your role as a teacher and even when the burden is heavy, find a way to impart the lessons with love, patience, and forgiveness. Live your life toward all people this way and you will be an exceptional teacher.

Just because you go first doesn’t mean you have to be first. This is a big lesson I want you to learn because it has always carried the most weight for me: you do not have to perfect. You do not have to win first place every time. You do not have to always be the light that shines the brightest. You do not have to worry that I will be disappointed in you if you fail from time to time. And I promise when I find myself putting my expectations on you, I will work hard to catch myself. If I could have you achieve one thing in the world, it would be that you love unconditionally, live courageously and be kind. That’s what I expect from you, my sweet baby—nothing more.

Originally published on the author’s blog  

Nicole Schoolfield

Nicole has gone from marketing to mommy-hood! She has one little one and another one the way! She loves all things that inspire each of us to live our best life possible. Her blog, The Extraordinary Day, has more on self-improvement, spirituality, and mommy life. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.  

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading