Blended Family, Blog, From Her, Parenting

[Don’t Forget] The Middle Child

She’s a shy, smart and quick-witted 10-year old girl. 

She is my first born – my first love. For 4 years she was the center of everybody’s attention.

  • The first grandchild
  • The little princess
  • The cutest one of the group at all times.

Just a Little Background

During my first marriage, I had become pregnant with my little Emma. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last through the pregnancy and I separated from my ex-husband. Shortly after Emma was born we officially divorced. It was a hard time in my life, but fortunately, I had my beautiful girl to keep my heart full. I can’t tell you what a JOY it was to be a single mom of the best kid in the universe.

She was spoiled and loved by so many. Emma and I were living with my parents, whom of course, relished in the joy of living with their grandchild. To this day, my parents miss when Emma and I lived with them – sharing her first words and her first steps. Her first everything.

Let’s Fast-Forward

When Will and I first got married we were SO excited for our little girls to have a built in best friend, after all – they’re only 2 years and a week apart.

Little did we know we’d have a honeymoon surprise, Billy, who would join us in February. Taelor, Greta, and Emma were super excited to be big sisters to a little brother.

birth announcement
Billy’s Announcement

A year after Billy was born we had another surprise – Clayton! I am always the first to say, I seriously cried when I found out I was pregnant with him.

Birth Announcement
Clayton’s Announcement

 

 

All this to say, Emma is smack DAB in the middle of them all.

middle child

Taelor, Greta, Emma, Billy,  and Clayton.

Yes, Emma is quite LITERALLY the middle child.

As she’s grown, I’ve noticed a few characteristics and tendencies of this little lady of mine. She’s growing up and with growing up comes changes in attitudes, a shift in personality and certainly some challenges for us parents. So how do we deal?

I realized a short while ago that Emma went from being the only child, the loud child, and the spoiled child – to the quiet, overlooked middle child. It’s not that she’s intentionally ignored or overlooked, but she does not demand the attention that the rest of the kids demand.

With Taelor grown up and out on her own, we only have the 4 kids at home.

First off we have Greta who is certainly an attention grabber. I’m sure if she’s reading this she will be agreeing with me anytime now! She loves to be the center of attention, and it’s just a natural thing for her. She loves making people smile,  she loves to dance and entertain, and she LOVES to talk.

Then there’s Billy and Clayton – they’re 2 and 4 so they are not just attention-seekers, they’re attention dwellers. The moment you focus away from them to go about your day, it’s “I’m hungry! Can you help me? I want toys. I’m hungry!” Over and over again.. they are in that stage that demands attention.

boy mom

Then there’s Emma. She finds herself perfectly content reading a good book, watching Minecraft videos on YouTube or being off by herself playing a video game. She doesn’t demand anything. NOTHING.  In fact, I came to realize that quiet girl who doesn’t seem to mind zoning out or being alone is not the same girl I went into this marriage with. She’s changed.

I’ve allowed her to dive into this little family, without paying her much attention at all. I’ve been so busy with:

  • Having babies
  • Changing diapers
  • Feeding babies
  • Playing with toddlers
  • Worrying about being a good mom in general
  • Cleaning the house
  • Paying attention to my step-children
  • Being a good mom to my step-children
  • Working
  • Being a good wife
  • Being involved in church
  • In the midst of all, trying to get some sleep…

While all these things are important, I seem to be missing out on a significant part of my life.

preventing my middle child from feeling like a middle child

Lately, I’ve felt my relationship with Emma begin to drift apart. That close tangible connection that we once had seems to be slipping away. Is it too late? Has Middle Child Syndrome ruined our relationship? I came crying to a close friend and this is what she told me.

 

“She just needs attention. That’s all she needs.” 

Really? Is it as simple as that? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is. 

After the conversation I had with my friend about how to be a better mom, unloading all of my guilty-mom feelings and mishaps – I went home determined to make sure that I don’t let all of my attention go to just the littles or my stepdaughter – but I’ve been focused on paying more attention to the little girl who was first to ever call me mom.

Some areas that I’ve been mindful about with my middle child are:

  • Randomly telling her how much I love her (which I have done all along, but I make sure to make eye-contact with her. She acts like it’s no big deal… but I know she loves it)
  • Involving myself in the little things she loves. One night we stayed up for a few extra hours playing Minecraft – her favorite game EVER. She LOVED IT.
  • Involving her in my daily life by asking her input on the days routine, decisions I’ll be making, etc
  • Never leaving the house without giving her a kiss (yes, I kiss ALL of my children ALL the time)
  • Always telling her how proud I am of her – even if it’s just the littlest thing that she’s accomplished
  • Recently requiring her to volunteer with me for events at church or around the community

With that said – our relationship is rebuilding itself, and becoming closer and closer. I no longer feel like she’s just hiding in the shadows, but I’ve noticed her become more proactive in conversation, get in less trouble at home and she’s become a bit more open regarding her feelings.

See, this blog is designed for blended families, and those with step children, natural children and a mixture of it all – and with blogging, I’ve come to realize it’s hard to remember to pay as close attention to your biological blessings as it is your inherited ones.

Do you have biological children that are the middle child? If so, I’d love to hear your stories below! Or follow us on Facebook and leave a comment there.

1 thought on “[Don’t Forget] The Middle Child”

  1. Oh Laura I just bawled reading your blog. So proud of you ! What a beautiful mom you are! To all of your children.. I love Em so much she has that place in my heart that no other has. While I love all my grand-children. Love your blog and I am sure this will help so many with blended families!!

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