This morning, after another night of challenging parenting, I texted my brother with the question of whether my being the oldest of six kids automatically threw me into the Advanced Placement parenting class. I didn’t feel qualified. I didn’t feel qualified to raise any kid. I didn’t feel qualified to raise a philodendron.

Not feeling sure in what I’m doing and doing it anyway is not a natural situation for me. I’m always the one at work that people call when a computer situation gets them stuck. Parenting is trickier. The spreadsheet doesn’t update in front of your eyes. How do you really know how you’re doing? But I always feel like I should be the expert.

I use my knowledge. I acquire new knowledge. I use my instinct. I get help. I set the boundary of knowing I cannot make the changes that only my daughter can make.

But when my brother said those magic words, it gave me permission to not always be the expert. To be someone who’s not supposed to always know just because of birth order. 

He put the “kid” back in the phrase “the oldest of six kids”.