The cries of middle children everywhere have been heard for years now: how this group of offspring suffers from not being prized like the eldest, but also are not loved like the baby. How they often are forgotten, ignored, and hopelessly left to fend for themselves. Then there are the older brothers and sisters who claim to have paved the way for their siblings. Oh the countless hardships they’ve endured so that their younger siblings we able to have easier teenage years. “Mom would have never let you do that if I hadn’t asked years ago.” Or what about the baby of the bunch? Understandably by the third or fourth child, parents have got to be exhausted. You can only ground so many kids in a year, and after working 9-5, asking “can you grab me some wine while you’re out” when someone borrows the car is a reasonable answer.
But what happens when you are the eldest, the middle child, and the baby all in one? To all the only children out there… This one is for you.
As an only child myself, I’ve faced the stereotypes, weighed the pros and cons, and narrowed down the truths and lies to compile this list (consisting of all of the above). Here are some of the signs that you are probably suffering from only child syndrome (and yes, it is a thing):
- Your parents (and admit it… so do you) consider you dog/cat/fish/ferret to be your sibling.
“Alex, apologize to your sister, that was her new chew toy,”  my mom yells as she cuddles my dog and ignores the 18 other toys scattered on the floor.
- Holiday shopping is really not that stressful when you have 0 siblings to shop for.
Mom: “So what are we getting Dad? ”
Dad: “So what are we getting Mom?”
ME: “Crap… what am I getting them?!”
- Yes, you had an imaginary friend who was your eternal soul mate as a child.
Maybe the imaginary friend was a stuff animal… Or a doll… Or 3 dolls… Maybe they still are your friend? Who’s judging? NO ONE, because you didn’t have any siblings to pick on you.
- Only children are spoiled.
I mean if parents only have one kid… they must just spend all their money on that kid, right?
Ha . Ha . Ha. Ha.
Like most only children, I would like to say I had my first job at the age of 13, and have had at least two jobs (usually three) ever since then. So yes, I have been spoiled… With SO many jobs that is.
- Mature is your middle name.
So when all the other kids and their siblings had babysitters watch them while their parents went out on the weekends, you were dragged along for the ride. As a result you were discussing mergers in the concrete industry at the age of 10 and reciting the Duke starting line-up for this year’s NCAA championship to your Dad’s leading customer. You were surrounded by adults at a young age, so naturally you like to think you became one just a tad quicker.
- You’re negotiation skills are second to none.
Why? Because when your parents made a ridiculously unfair decision, you didn’t have any backup.
Mom: “No you can’t go to Sally’s.”
Mom: “Because I said no.”
Me: “ But everyone else is going!”
Mom: “That’s great.”
- The spare bedroom became your closet.
By default. BUT WE AREN’T SPOILED OKAY.
There was no one else to contend with for that prime real estate, and honestly your parents haven’t had any guests over in the last decade anyways.
- Sassy, spontaneous, feisty, and witty are probably common personality traits used to describe you.
You have most definitely been told, probably on a daily basis, “God only gave me one because he knew no one could handle two of you”. Love you too, Mom.
- Nothing was worse than those awkward aged years when you weren’t old enough to “stay home alone,” BUT you didn’t have an older sibling to stay home with you. Off to grandma’s you went…
- You eventually moved on to the years when you were old enough to be home alone… but also petrified of being in a house…alone…late at night . Back to grandma’s you went.
- You probably excel at cleaning.
Why? Because while all the other kids were assigned a fraction of a weekly chores list, that bad boy was all yours.
- By the age of 10 you had established who the go-to friend was for all invite events.
4 tickets to a hockey game? Yeah, I’ll ask Sally.
Theatre tickets for tomorrow? Already texted Sally.
Invite a friend for dinner? Sally will have a burger.
- Unfortunately, everyone always remembered your name at family functions.
One kid = only one name to remember. That can’t be such a bad thing right? WRONG. You became the go-to niece for attending lunch at the local Italian club, or leading the family reunion in saying grace before meals.
14.You are probably honest to a tee. Why? Because there was no getting away with anything growing up.
Some of Dad’s whiskey is missing? Well who am I going to blame…. Mom? No.
- Your parents are probably your best friends.
I mean, you had no one else, and genetically you were bound to get along so…
Some may argue that being an only child must have been lonely and boring, and sure it had it’s moments. But I like to think that my a large portion of my determination and work ethic resulted from my battle with only child syndrome. Tiger Woods, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alicia Keys, and Drew Barrymore are all celeb-only-children, and they seemed to turn out just fine! So sure, we only children may not have any biological brothers or sisters but one thing is for sure: we have each other!
Featured Image via Screengrab of Toddlers & Tiaras