This is the often used sentence of the firstborn female child in every family. These harsh words summarize the pain of every first born female child.

You might sit down there shaking your head and condemning outright the extremity of these words but I implore you, sit back, put on your glasses if you are visually impaired, your cloak of objectivity and prepare to be submerged in the ever working life of the first female child.

Constantly, is she bent over doing one house chore or the other while every other person lounges around and when it comes to sharing the limited food she must have slaved to cook, guess who gets the lion share? Of course, never she! She has to be considerate by giving herself lesser than her siblings.

Always finding herself sacrificing for her most often than not undeserving siblings. They find themselves answering to the irrational and oftentimes illogical whims of their younger siblings who have not only stolen the limelight from them, displaced them from their rightful place but now make many demands of them which they, in all their selflessness cannot help but listen to and satisfy.

The firstborn female child is held to unreasonable standards of maturity and responsibility. In trying to adapt to the presence of a new child and re-evaluate her position within the family constellation, to stand the chance of still being loved and appreciated, she becomes the good girl, eager to help her parents. She develops an eye for what needs to be done and then she makes sure it is done by doing it herself, taking on more roles than is possible.

First, she takes responsibility for herself – ‘Don’t worry, mama, I can dress myself’, and then for her siblings- ‘Don’t worry, mama, I will look out for them’. Taking responsibility, being diligent and dutiful thus becomes second nature to them. And not so long, they are drowning under the quagmire that is household tasks, ranging from cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, soothing their siblings, getting them dressed and ready for school, helping them with homework, giving out medications and so much more.

She is that one entity who never seems to tire while there is still work to be done. Even when she can barely see the next step before her, she is still trudging on because everyone, her siblings and parents alike are counting on her, relying totally on her to deliver.

I really don’t relate to the afflictions borne by this rather unfortunate lot but I see their pain which admittedly I have intentionally or otherwise inflicted. Let’s start today by appreciating our elder sisters for their ingenuity and start being useful siblings.

Till next time, stay grateful!

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About the Author:

I am Ginika, from a family of three girls and I am the middle child. I am a proud graduate of European Studies (French & German) from UI, Ibadan. I read lots of books and trust me there are no bad books, except you mean poorly written ones. Call me a Dan Brown Fanatic, still you will catch me getting lost in the feminist world of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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