Parenting is no small task and no one does it perfectly—but there’s something especially hard about parenting siblings. Between attending to the needs of the oldest and the youngest, there’s always a middle child who tends to accidentally get left out. It’s a common enough effect that parents are usually aware of this, but it doesn’t make it easier to overcome, or even manage.
Claire Treacy, who has been running the Irish parenting blog Mammysbrightside since August 2016, knows this, and the feeling of guilt that tags along with it, all too well. After missing her middle daughter’s time to shine—a trophy ceremony for camogie (a popular Irish women’s stick-and-ball sport)—she took to Facebook last week to explore her feelings in a post that has since gone viral. Though she was in the emergency room with her youngest son, Treacy admits that this wasn’t the first time she missed one of her middle daughter’s celebrations. Of her three children, her middle daughter’s are missed more frequently than she cares to admit. She admits this is due to attending to her first and third children, whose birth order makes them quite needy and demanding, and the happy-go-lucky, yet easy-to-pass-over personality of her second born. But instead of wallowing in the guilt that comes with the accidental neglect of parenting a middle child, Tracey used the opportunity to instead write an emotional ode. She lets her middle daughter know that she “sees” her and she is wholly appreciated and loved.
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“I see you never fighting over what's on the television - always just happy if their happy, I see you share every single thing you own without question, I see you always thinking of your brother and sister, no matter what you get you always make sure your not empty handed for them coming home, I see you sometimes get anxious before school or in crowds, I see you breathing with me and taking me in, I see you watch me wipe your tears, I see you then bravely walking in. I see you worry when your sister once again slams her door, I see you negotiate with your brother when he’s […] crying and kicking on the floor, I see you dance and sing... you actually have no idea of the joy you bring,“ she writes.
See Tracey’s entire note below:
Parenting a middle child yourself? Mark August 12th, National Middle Child Day, on your calendar to celebrate the remarkable, incredible, but often picked-over child in your family.