Country Living...Island Dreaming

January 17, 2014

Birth Order Thoughts

A few years ago, I was hosting an event at my house.  During a conversation about birth order, one of my new friends assumed I was the second child in my family.  I wasn't sure if I should feel insulted or flattered.

I should start by telling you that I have a younger sister and have always thought of myself as having the typical first-born personality traits.  But I must say, part of me envies the carefree stereotypical traits of a younger child.

This was why I couldn't decide if I was flattered or insulted.  I wasn't sure which way I preferred to be viewed.  The first-born (insulted) part of me immediately felt defensive and thought - maybe I am not being that attentive of a hostess, maybe this breakfast doesn't seem very well planned or put together, maybe I don't seem organized...

And then a flattered feeling came over me and thought - Wow I am pulling this off so well that I actually seem relaxed and carefree.  I actually appear to be the second born.  I must be amazing - lol!

I just came across this article about birth order - Huffington Post - How Birth Order Affects Personality and I started thinking how my two boys fit into the birth order stereotypes...

My older son is the organized, planner.  He is a rule follower and even a little bossy at times.  He wakes up early almost every day; even on weekends.  He needs to know everything and likes to be in control.  He is sweet and polite and likes to do things the right way.
 (My older son - getting the kite ready to fly.)

My younger son is the party kid.  He could probably be considered the "class clown" and sometimes fools around a little too much.  He is the late sleeper and doesn't worry about anything.  He makes me laugh every single day and loves "performing" for a crowd.  He is smart but doesn't get stressed out about school or anything for that matter.
(My younger son - running around after the kite)

A couple summers ago, both of my boys were taking a week of golf lessons.  I remember dropping them off one day and as I walked back to my car, I noticed their group heading out to the driving range.  Walking first in line, in fact way ahead of the group (and way ahead of the golf instructor), was my older son.  He marched out there like he meant business.  He was there to learn golf and he was ready to get started.  Behind him followed the instructor, then one or two kids.  And behind them paraded a cluster of kids bouncing along without any urgency.  You could tell they were laughing and having a great time.  Yes, that was my younger son's group.  I stood there observing and thought to myself how this little display completely summed up the personalities of both of my boys.



That is just one example of the many times both boys have demonstrated their birth order.

I know deep down inside that I have a first-born personality even though I may be able to fool some people some of the time.  First of all, the fact that I had to analyze the whole conversation from years ago speaks volumes!  And since that day, I have managed to pull off some pretty involved school events, proving my first born status to my friend - LOL.   Seriously though, I know if I don't have a plan for almost everything I do, I get pretty stressed out.  For example, it took months for me to decide to get a dog.  I researched breeds, interviewed breeders, got recommendations from many friends and didn't proceed until I had every question answered and every supply purchased.  My younger sister on the other hand, announced one day that she might get a dog and a couple days later - she had one.

I am not saying that I don't envy the relaxed attitude of a second born child, I just know where I fit in.  Yet now that I am in the midst of working on another school event scheduled for the spring, I am hoping I can channel just a little bit of of my younger sister's second child mellow attitude and not be so stressed out!

Does your personality reflect your birth order?
What about your kids?


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6 comments

  1. Oh birth order. I think about this topic all the time! And that Huff Post article was great - thanks for sharing it. It nailed my firstborn child to a tee - he dominates and sucks up all the oxygen in the room. My sister in law and her husband are both first borns and she is a mild and sweet version of the description, but nonetheless a HUGE rule follower and do-gooder. I'm the youngest and my husband is #3 out of 4 and what a difference between us in our parenting style to my sister in law and her husband! I wonder how much that plays into a person's personality too - the birth order of their parents' families. I love how you can so clearly see the traits in your kids - and in you and your sister - it's really so interesting isn't it??? And while you wish you could be a bit more relaxed about things, I wish I could be more like you and be more of a planner!!

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  2. I think my family must have gotten things mixed up because my sister the middle child was the rule follower and I think I was more like a middle!! FUnny!
    Have a good Weekend!!

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  3. You could have been describing my boys! And me (first born) for that matter. There is a parenting book I've thought about getting a couple of times that is based on birth order. Fascinating!!

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  4. I am a totally first born and so is my daughter. It is interesting with the boys though because my middle son (eldest boy) exhibits both eldest tendencies with his little brother and youngest with his sister.

    Very interesting post:)

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  5. Shelley I loved this post! First of all, your honesty is so refreshing. That entire conversation that played in your head after someone mistook you for a second born--could have been thoughts in my own head hahaha. But I think you got it right. It is a compliment when people see your wonderful talents and enjoy the benefits of your accomplishments and think you're a relaxed, cool type of person at the same time. And it actually might say more about the person who made the comment too. Because usually type A- first-borns can recognize other ones. We are the ones to notice all the tiny, coordinated details and the ones to know how LONG a certain project takes too...
    Also, isn't fascinating to see your boys with such different personality styles? Although I have to say that my first born does NOT fit the profile one bit. He's more like your second born and by-the-way I blame him for a lot of gray hairs in my head. (As a mother of two college age boys my first advice is to find yourself a great hair colorist).
    xo
    Leslie

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  6. Interesting post. Our oldest son has been a rule follower since he was born! Our middle son always lived as though rules didn't apply to him...especially at home. Not sure how birth order applies to our daughter who is our youngest. Even though she's the baby of the family, I'm not sure she has those characteristics...maybe because she's the only girl. Anyway, I'm thankful they've all grown to be responsible adults, working and living on their own.
    Mary Alice

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