Sibling Rivalry: It's Not Fair!

BlogHer Original Post

With three children in the house (and two of them twins), sibling rivalry is inevitable. It's rampant. And it's exhausting to referee. I don't keep a tally of how many birthday parties and playdates each child has or buy presents to make up for any shortfalls, but I do what I can to even things out, keep the accusations of favoritism at bay and generally preserve my sanity domestic harmony. I've become an expert at dividing things into three and pouring equal amounts of juice into a fat mug, a tall, skinny tumbler and a commemorative sippy cup shaped like Buzz Lightyear's head. I've thickened my hide and overcome shame to ask the guy at Trader Joe's if we could possibly have an extra balloon for the sibling who stayed at home. I've managed to sound convincing when I say that two extra blueberries one cereal bowl are the same as an extra blue horseshoe Lucky Charms marshmallow in another.

Mathematical magnets

But these ungrateful kids, they still keep complaining. No matter how much we try, they will scrutinize our best intentions and put our every action through infrared scanners, searching for any hint of: "You love him more". This quest for fairness reached new levels of absurdity the other day when I poured out glasses of milk for my three kids. Jammy inspected his glass, looked over at his siblings' glasses and whined,  

Their milk has more bubbles than mine. It's not faiiiiiiir!

Fair? Oh please, kids. I've had it with fair. I happen to have a litany of grievances that make your rants about bubbles disappear into thin air. But do I complain? Well, actually, in this post, yes:

  • Is it fair that my kids' social life is ten times more active than mine?
  • Is it fair that I have to find wrinkles and acne at the same time?
  • Is it fair that I gain five pounds just by looking at cheesecake while my friend Peach can inhale two cups of rice every time she eats burn it off by the time she walks away from the table?

I could go on and on. But I'm a grown-up, and I have to replace those questions with some others:

  • It's not fair that Alfie and I can make babies practically just by hugging each other, while other couples try for years and years without sucess.
  • It's not fair that I can jump out of bed in the mornings while Alfie has to inject himself twice a week just so he doesn't feel like he's been run over by a bus.
  • It's not fair that all you have to worry about is how many Starbust Chews you got in your Halloween buckets when other kids worry about how many meals they're going to eat that day.

Sorry, kids, life doesn't always divide the good stuff into nice, equal parts. I don't expect my kids to quit competing with each other entirely -- they are kids, after all -- but it would be nice if they stopped squabbling once in a while and realized how lucky they are, and how we love them all. Maybe if I threaten to give all their milk bubbles to the starving kids in Africa they'll shape up. Maybe I need to let them resolve things on their own more often. Or maybe I need to sneak in more hugs and kisses here and there while siblings are in the bathroom or otherwise occupied to make each kid feel special. Or maybe I ought to do all three. Would that be fair?

Read more of Bonggamom's whining over on her personal blog, Finding Bonggamom.

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