Growing Pains

This post has been started over and over again.  I can't get the words right.  I know what I want to say, I just don't know how to say it.  I have a type...well, I don't know what type it is.  I have a personality that is classic for the oldest child. 

The first born child is usually the child with the most attention directed at him/her. This common event is part of the reason this particular child turns out the way he/she does. There are two typical types of first born children, compliant and aggressive. The first born in your family can be either one of these two types, and have these typical traits:

Compliant traits

People Pleasers
Crave Approval
Nurturers
Caregivers
Reliable
Concientious
Cooperative
Team Players
"Grin and bear it" mentatlity

Aggressive Traits
Movers and shakers
Natural leaders
Perfectionists
Driven
Conventional
Always have things under control
Assertive
Want things their way

These two types of first born children may seem very different, but they do share quite a few characteristics.



Common Traits
Energetic
Logical
Ambitious
Enterprising
Scholarly

For many first born children, success is imperative.
Strengths V.S. Weaknesses:
Strengths 
Greater level of confidence, taken seriously, patient, organized, strong powers of concentration, confidence to dream and plan, feel supported, and feel they will be respected for what they do.  Often choose careers that require a high degree of precision such as: law, medicine, computer programming, or architecture, no gray area in work field, in control, often the boss or owner of company.

Weaknesses
Have an innate fear of being dethroned, perfectionists, overachievers, feel as though they are never good enough, tend to be selfish with possesions and attention.  Do not like to be told what to do, have a hard time with creative projects, do not work well with no direction, do not gravitate towards jobs such as: sales, advertising, art, or music, as there is no structure, or stability in these careers.


All of that being said, my life is constantly changing.  I think that those traits and characteristics described me to a tee years ago...in school, in athletics, in my profession as a physical therapist, in my role as oldest child at home, in my learning style.  Now?  Now, I'm a mom of seven.  I'm a wife of a wonderful man, who, by-the-way is a youngest child, but I'll save that for later.  :)  I'm a volunteer at school and at church and in the community.  I wear a lot of hats, as all moms do, that puts me in a position of possible scrutiny often.  I value my relationships with my family members more every day which puts me in a position of deep emotion after we spend time together and then they leave (or we leave).  I value my friendships with the other women in my life, probably more now than ever and I think it is because of the great comfort of feeling that they love me despite all of my faults.  That is so important for an "approval-seeking" person.  :)

My life has changed so much in the last 16 years.  I'm married, I have children, I'm not a fit, energetic size 8 anymore, my full-time job has gone from that of "respected health care professional" to domestic slave--I mean...well, slave!  LOL!  I mean that, but in the most positive way...I LOVE my job as a homemaker.  We all know that no one ever says, "Your toilet bowls are so shiny!  You are one domestic goddess!"  The gratitude is sometimes slow-to-surface.  And then there are the comparisons that Satan encourages to make us moms--or at least me anyway--start to go crazy.  Comparing my life to those of others in almost any realm that all of a sudden makes my life seem so much less grand.  That's where other peoples' expecatations creep in--or what I think are others' expectations of me. 

It has taken me years, but I'm finally to a place where I'm not as concerned about what other people may expect of me.  I try to focus more on what God expects of me and then ask His help to step up and do my best.  My life is in constant change...from day to day and sometimes minute to minute.  I have been given the responsiblity of raising little souls to love Christ and help my husband on his journey to Heaven.  Those are what I must focus on when I make decisions.  Sounds easy, but there is so much garbage along the way.  I am thankful to my family and my pastor and my friends for supporting me through all of these growing pains. 

I am raising a "first child"...and several "middle childnen" and a couple of "youngest".  While I think that those stereotypical personalities are innate, I also want to equip them with the ability to overcome the weaknesses of those characteristics.  Just because a personality test result say that my tendencies are:

Have an innate fear of being dethroned, perfectionists, overachievers, feel as though they are never good enough, tend to be selfish with possesions and attention. Do not like to be told what to do, have a hard time with creative projects, do not work well with no direction, do not gravitate towards jobs such as: sales, advertising, art, or music, as there is no structure, or stability in these careers.

...doesn't mean that I have to let those things send me to dismal places.  It's kind of hard to be a perfectionist and be sane all at the same time when you have a household of nine, and being an overachiever really adds a little drama to caring for a large family efficiently.  With a big family, it is difficult not to be in the spotlight sometimes...volunteering in classrooms, filling a pew at church, walking through the grocery store.  I feel often feel judged...and being a people-pleaser doesn't make that scenario any easier!  I find it interesting that a standardized test can tell me who I am.  It is uncanny!  For the most part, it is so accurate!  But it is also something that gives me strength in knowing that I have tendencies that could make life difficult and reflect on some of my biggest growing pains over the years and not be hurt by them. 

Now, all of this said, and I still don't feel like I've said anything at all!  I guess I'm just saying that in every aspect of my life there are things that change and I must adapt in a way that protects all of the good that I have in my life taking into consideration my personality and the personalities of those involved.  Lots of growing pains...but they're not always painful!  :)

Comments

Renee said…
I empathize, Janel. (I'm also the oldest child. Enough said.)

I thank God for my vocation as a wife and mother because it challenges my perfection-seeking-self (and I don't enjoy being a perfectionist). Each day, I can't get everything done perfectly. I just have to get it done the best I can with the time and resources I have. I've learned to let go of so so so much and I thank God for that.

P.S. I heard Tim's garbage bag bikini beat Phil's garbage bag matador costume. Smiling.

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