Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oldest vs. Youngest

I'm the youngest of a few kids in my family. My siblings always used to complain that I wasn't made to do any work and I was so spoiled. This is a widespread misconception. The youngest has it just as hard as the oldest.

The reason behind this view, is that when you're a kid, you don't have any concept of how much responsibility should be given to someone based on age. Usually this is evidenced by children's whining about their lack of freedom. That's why you always complained about adults staying up late, and you were forced to go to sleep early. But this also works the other way. When you're 12 years old, you can handle setting the table. Me at age 5...not so much. But the 12 year old thinks-hey why do I have to do this and he doesn't? Well the answer is that when you were 5 you weren't setting tables either. And when I'm 12 I'll be the one setting the table.

Now that all my siblings are married, guess who all the chores go to? That's right. The youngest. Mr. Spoiled. We end up doing more work in the long run.

But to parallel that with shidduchim- I don't know who has it easier. I think it depends on the family. If you're siblings are normal, healthy people, people will think of you as a well-established commodity. On the other hand, if you've got a brother who went off the derech, and an unmarried sister who doesn't leave the house... then it's going to be more difficult for you. (B"H I'm the former.) But an oldest sibling doesn't go into shidduchim with any preconceived notions, as to what type of person they will be. They're their own man.

Additionally, the youngest, as in my case, might not have any siblings to hang around the house with, and it can be just a bit lonely. But their are benefits like going to siblings' houses for meals, asking them advice, etc.

My point is, everyone has their own unique challenges. And don't call us youngest ones spoiled. 


  1. I'm so curious - how old are you? You seem to have been dating for awhile, but yet you sound very young.

  2. I'm the youngest.

    My siblings show up with their kids and think they're on vacation. I'm up nights with toddlers and cleaning up after yet another pantry raiding incident, because my parents aren't as spry as they used to be.

    I've already decided my parents will be living with me when they're creaky.

    And yet everyone thinks I am the coddled baby. Hah.

  3. nope! spoiled! LOL

    I'm the oldest of 6. The babies were put in my room and I got up to do diaper duty and bring the screamer to my mother for night feedings. I babysat and gave up nights out with my friends. i did more laundry, dishes, sweeping, and table clearing than my little sibs will do in a lifetime. I still have to shoulder the bulk of family responsibility even though a few of us are marred with kids even. My youngest sib is at home. she is a great person, and helps out a lot, but definitley "spoiled" in comparison to what i had to do and what I still do for the family. I am not a martyr, I actually am ok with the responsibility so this isn't a vent, just another perspective for you.

  4. I am the youngest of five and I completely agree with you. I may have had it easier when we were all kids living in the same house(but then again, I was very young) and was a bit "spoiled" but now? Now when they all come over for shabbos I am the one setting the table and cleaning up while they don't bother to get up from their seats. Now I am expected to go from house to house helping out my sisters with their kids because apparently that is my role as an aunt. Funny, when I am married with kids I doubt any of them will come running over to watch the baby or take the older ones to pizza, or buy them expensive birthday presents, or babysit at a moment's notice free of charge.

  5. Another youngest. I agree with you even though the olders had a point - yes, I probably did get away with more than they did. But I missed out on being part of the young, growing family that they were. I didn't have fun outings with grandparents because they were older and more stationary by the time I came around. Similarly, when their children were younger my parents had the energy to do a lot of things that they won't be able to do for mine. Lest you think this is starting to sound a little spoiled ("You got xyz and I didn't, boo hoo") I'm not just talking about money and vacations - I'm talking about being the one left at home to care for grandparents who don't necessarily age gracefully while the other siblings have moved on in life. I'm talking about losing parents at a younger age. I'm talking about having to divide your focus between building your own home and caring for aging parents/grandparents at a more formative age.

  6. I'm talking about losing parents at a younger age.

    Well, yes, since when your parents reach 120 you will by definition still be younger than your older siblings.

    However... just be happy that they had you after they'd already had a bunch of kids. They didn't have to, they probably felt a bit worn out, but here you are.

  7. As the youngest you're definitely left with the most responsibility once the older sibs have moved out, but I'm sure it's different for every family. I don't think my older siblings ever had to take care of me or do extensive chores except for the occasional babysitting… but in bigger families there is probably more work that inevitably gets handed off to the children who old enough to be capable.

    Because I'm the youngest and the only girl people are always assuming that I was the most spoiled- if anything it was my middle brother who got away with everything. Neither the oldest or youngest, he never had to help out around the house and always charmed his way out of trouble! Now that everyone else has moved out it's very lonely being at home alone, with sometimes too much attention from my parents.

  8. Im the middle, i get it from everywhere. I do not envy my younger siblings, nor my oldest, its a long lost cause!!!

  9. 2nd Anonymous: Amen, sister! I thought I was alone! Everyone tells me, "So don't do it." Right. Tell my sister who's in a bind that I won't babysit for her on principle. Tell my mother to clean up the messes herself while I sit there and flip through a magazine. Tell my niece that I won't get her what she really wants because her mother won't get it for my kids.

    It's a Catch-22. Although there are some side benefits - when I have a kid I won't have fantasies that it'll sleep through the night and "no" should be said all the time.

  10. I got here through bad4. I just wanted to say so far the blog looks great, keep it up!

  11. @anon1- I'm going to leave you in suspense for now, but I'll give you a ballpark of 20-30.

    @Princess Lea- Well said. While I love my nieces and nephews, I'm usually the one who ends up looking after them at family functions.

    @shaya g- Obviously every family is different. However, it doesn't make that much sense that you would end up doing more chores than your sister. See my post for the mistake I think you're making. And as for babysitting, see P Lea's posts.

    @guyinla- Thanks!