Monday, August 8, 2011

Rival Me This

If you have a sibling, then you know exactly where this post is going. 

Sibling Rivalry…as a mom it has become a riddle to me.

I have a younger brother so I know all about the typical sibling rivalry.  It’s simply part of growing up and now that I’m an adult, I can see that it actually can help you deal with others later in life.  Imagine that. 

But as a mom of three boys, there is another side of the story…the mom side.  First, I must apologize to my own mother for putting her through all the sibling rivalry stuff back when I was a kid.  I had no idea how frustrating, and pull your hair out crazy it could make you.  Now I do, and I’m getting my payback (not that you would ever wish that on me) in full.

My two older boys can fight like dogs, about anything.  I’m not kidding…ANYTHING!  It usually all revolves around who gets to do something first.  It’s all about being first.  Be the first to come in the house, the first to walk upstairs, the first to wash up before dinner, the first to get into the car when we are going somewhere (there have even been skinned knees as a result of this one).  The simple act of getting to the bathroom to wash their hands for dinner can turn into an all out brawl.  Don’t get me started on who gets to the red swing on the swing set first!  UGH!

Fighting over equality is second in the running.  They have to have the same amount of everything.  I really try to be conscious of keeping it all fair but I have to say that I simply don’t have the time to stand over them counting out every single fish cracker to make sure that one child doesn’t have more than the other.

Believe it or not, even though the constant day to day battles to be first or to have the same make me want to bang my head against the wall, I can say that I’ve been there as a child and can somewhat understand (somewhat…I said somewhat). 

The one thing I don’t have experience with is the fighting over toys.  I can guarantee that my brother never wanted to play with my Barbies, or My Little Ponies, or Care Bears, and he definitely didn’t want to play with my baby dolls or my Strawberry Shortcakes (uh-oh…I do believe I’m dating myself now).  I without a doubt had no interest in playing with his GI Joes, or He-Man, or army figures, tanks, and bazookas.  So we had a break from each other when we wanted to play with our toys.  But with three boys, there is fighting over toys.  Who is playing with what, who is touching what, who has a specific car that the other needs to go off his newly built super duper racing ramp.  Who gets to play Batman (because there is only ever one Batman mommy…there can’t possibly be two), or Spiderman, or Superman. 

There is simply no break in the rivalry.  Which is why I’m convinced loony bins were created!  Well, loony bins and wine.  

But I have to say, when the stars align and the boys play nicely together…there is no better sound or vision in the entire world.  They are a team working together to build a great castle or to fight the bad guys together!  It may be short lived, but it is those moments I conjure up in my mind when they fight over who gets to pee in the toilet first!

I would love to hear how other mothers do with this aspect of parenting, so I have to ask……

How do you handle the rivalry between your children?


Natalie said...

Oh I have no idea how to stop that. LOL I have a feeling it doesn't get much better as they get older!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

JDaniel probably thinks the computer is his rival. He tries to climbing all over me when I am on it.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


I'm sure you're right. They have to get older and move out of the house so they have their own space. But I would love some new coping techniques, because my head is starting to hurt from all the banging against the wall I've been doing lately.

I'm sure once the older kids get back to school it won't be so back because they won't be around eachother 24/7

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

JDaniel4's Mom,

Oh my 14 month old isn't at the age where he has any rivalry with his older brothers. But just like your son, he has chosen my laptop as his rival. Everytime he sees it on my lap it's like a beacon telling him to come over to try and knock it down. When it is closed...he doesn't pay any attention. Stinker!

Anonymous said...

This post made me feel better that my son is an only child. :)
I can't imagine listening to the rivalry, as they fight over toys. I have younger sisters and I don't know how my mom & dad survived.
I don't have much advice to offer so I will just wish you luck!!

By Word of Mouth Musings said...

Mine are 9 and 13 plus they are 4 and a half years apart - so far so good.
So I will just recommend wine
(and thanks for the well wishes, seeing me in your blogroll made me feel better too!)

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

Optimistic Mom,

I am completely in awe of how my parents made it through raising us while hanging onto their sanity. If I do half as well, I will be happy.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

By Word of Mouth Musings,

You have to tell me your secrets. My oldest is 8, middle is 5, the baby is only 14 months. But the 8 and 5 year old fight like oil and water! They are 2 years 10 months apart. Maybe that's the issue?

And you are so welcome! I truly hope you feel better soon. I had the coughing crud a few weeks ago and it sucked! I took to drinking juniper berry treatments (aka gin and tonics...don't judge it helped to settle my cough..LOL). And I'm proud to have you on my blog roll because quite frankly I think you're awesome!

Shell said...

I try to ignore it unless there is bloodshed. :)

No, really. I let them try to work out most of it- b/c they seem like they are fighting just to fight.

Sandra said...

I have two words for you: i-Pod.
If you turn the music loud enough, you don't hear a thing!

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


I really really try to let them work things out themselves, but that usually ends up with someone hitting someone else. Or they come to me every 5 minutes to tattle on eachother.

Like your boys, mine seem to fight just for the sake of fighting! Drives me BATTY sometimes!

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


I've definitely done that a time or two, but you wouldn't BELIEVE how loud my 8 and 5 year old can get!!! Well I'm sure you could, but let me just say it is at eyelid twitching decibels.

Jessica said...

My youngest is 2 and the fighting between them has just started. It's annoying and I have no idea how to stop it so I just ignore them unless they start screaming.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


I would dearly love it if the boys left me out of their fights. But somehow, one or both of them always come running to tell me what the other was doing. And the screaming...ugh! There's got to be a pill I can take so I just go deaf whenever they start screaming!

Reese said...

I'm taking a page out of your mom's book, Hopes, and having the children sit down in a room together and stay there until they can work out their differences and emerge as friends. My two oldest had a blow-up on Sunday and I tried this approach: it's Wednesday and they're still getting along well. Cha-ching!

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


I do that for the really big things. If I did that for every little tiff, we'd all be sitting in a room for the whole day! LOL Glad the technique is working for you though! My mom is one smart lady!

Cha-ching is right!

Christine Siracusa said...

Horribly. I handle it horribly. I try to let them figure it out for themselves but can only handle so much so then I try to get whoever is being loudest to get what they want so they will be quiet. I'm only kind of kidding.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...


The screaming and fighting is like nails on a chalk board isn't it? It gets to the point where you will do just about anything to get it to stop!