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I am Muttering

The First Son Curse

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9 min read

Did the title already give this out? Well, I’m sure you’re no novice to the trendy saying “Everyone is going through a lot”. And how hilarious can it get when you stumble on a further read… “Go through it, it’s your turn, dont disturb us”? While this statement has a way of cracking at least a single rib of mine and in fact serves a not literal consolation hug when I’m walking the shadows of what the society reckons as a pedestal for success, sometimes I pause to think. Is it just a phase for everyone? Of course not! For some, the struggles only ascend different phases, a light at the end of the tunnel is but a mirage. Success to these ones have become a necessary evil… and you know what their first crime is? Being the first son and to add salt to injury, the first fruit of their parents. A mantle whose glory shuffles amid a biological and societal curse. 

As it is naturally impossible for me to follow in the wake of experiences meted on first sons and narrate from a first person’s view, I decided to invite three over to reveal their raw share of the burden ever since they kissed mother earth welcome. I categorize their submissions as a blend of the seemingly privileged, the early disadvantaged, and the race as seen even in teenage hood. Together, they give a varying exposure of what first sons are burdened with. Let’s proceed from the middle. 

The first son curse

The Early Disadvantaged (Henry)

“I’m sorry, but my mum advised me not to date first sons because they have ‘too many’ responsibilities” This utterance formed part of the pixels that lead to the fatal end of Henry’s first love affair, and as much as persuasion could have bought him some time, how much longer could she keep up with cuddling empty promises? 

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Deep down, I knew she had a valid point, cause my siblings would always call me to attend to their needs financially. Any sane thinking lady would ask herself questions like; how soon would this man be able to stand without staggering on both feet? Can he give me the life I want knowing his family’s burden? Would this still be our reality when we get married? 

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It’s a cold world for men and an utterly frozen one for first sons like myself. I don’t come from a rich family. We are not rich, neither are we poor. We are trying our best. My late father never regarded education, he was a driver before he died, and likewise his other brother, except his twin who stands out as a businessman. As God would have it, I am the first graduate in my family, not just my nuclear family, but my extended family too. Since I lost my dad, I’ve multitasked being a father & brother to my siblings and husband to my mum. The reason I haven’t started living on my own is because I live for my family. Any revenue I get from whatsoever business I do, I channel it to my family. I’ve been hustling since age 11 when my father died, I recall in Jss2 how I always went to school with a hammer and nails to help my classmates fix their broken lockers at the rate of N150. I had no choice, if I didn’t do it, I’ll be hungry and likewise my siblings too. Mehn leave talk o, the hustle don tey. 

kids hawking to cater for family

My mother has made herself a promise that all her children are going to be graduates and as God would have it, our last born, my only sister, is in her first year in the university. Coupled with the numerous challenges living in Nigeria brings my way, the burden of the first son seems unending especially for a young man like myself in his late 20’s. It’s rather ironic how my siblings see me as an answered prayer not minding how the shoes pinch. I always give in to their demands, maybe not everything but at least to a percentage. I’ve had to make strange sacrifices just to put food on the table, for instance, last year I drove a car from Lagos to Asaba just to earn small money. I mean this is not a bad thing, but I drove it at night , I left at 12 am and arrived in Asaba at 6am. We drove in a convoy. Normally I wouldn’t take the risks knowing the epileptic security situation in Nigeria, but thinking of what problems the money would solve in my family, I’m moved.

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As the leader of the pack, how I behave also affects my siblings, which is why I strive to be well behaved. They look up to my achievements and dread making mistakes I made. Sometimes I wish that life played out differently, not in a way that avoids me being the first son but in a way that I was buoyant enough to help one person to financial liberation and that person helps another, and before you know it everyone would be okay. Unfortunately the dice doesn’t roll in this direction. 

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My mum often tells me to calm down that what is meant for you would come . But she has no idea how it is to be set as a yardstick for success when you’re not successful even a bit. I live for the day when my mum would be greeted with the question “How is Henry? Does he have a job yet?” and there goes my mum, responding with pride and utmost happiness. I know I’m not supposed to pay no mind to the pressure, but personally, I feel the need to. I want to shoulder these responsibilities. The title of being the first son pressures me to succeed. I just want to succeed by all means. 

The Race As Seen Even In Teenage Hood (Oluwole)

It’s how I’m always expected to be the smartest one among my siblings, albeit I’m still young and under my parents’ care. “You are not meant to be this densed, you are the first child”, I often got this remark from my teachers and peers at any slight misbehavior I projected in college. Whew! The last time I checked, no man had all the answers, so why me?? Oluwole screams. 

emotional damage for kids

I have two siblings (male and female), my Mum works as a medical staff of TCN and my Dad works from home (well IDK what he actually does). Both parents are not strict, meaning I have some freedom, privacy and love from them but I am introverted and that means I do not share anything in detail with my parents aside from academics. Now you see the root of my own pressure. According to my parents I am supposed to be great at my academics, better than everybody. But unfortunately, my brain can only take what it can, thankfully, their expectations have been lowered to “at least, do not get less than a C in any subject”. 

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My parents do not compare me to my siblings but I am expected to take care of the house well while my siblings can slack off. I must show great leadership. As the first, I am automatically responsible for myself and my siblings behavior as long as I can control it. My siblings can be infuriating sometimes but my parents encourage me to take full responsibility for their misdeeds. If my brother wants to beat the shit out my sister I have to separate and vice versa. It is not always easy because I could get hit too and I might have difficulty not slapping the hell out of them. 

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I loathe the fact that people assume that because one is a firstborn child, he has a higher IQ than the later born siblings or peers. Another assumption is that it influences personality traits and is less likely to be rebellious. I’m yet to find the correlation between birth order and IQ ratings and also being less rebellious is not true as I question absolutely anything.

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I don’t really know what I want to do with my life but I dream of becoming a pro football player but I study computer science. I just want to be successful at any path life takes me. I have struggled with academia for a long time and the improvements I have made with my studies have been as slight as the improvements of FIFA games since 2016. I also can be insolent or nonchalant about serious issues sometimes, plus some social awkwardness. The firstborn “title” is nothing to me.

is the first son title relevant?

The Seemingly Privileged (Uche)

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Growing up with three siblings (two male & one female), we had everything we wanted. My dad is a trader who frequently travels. When we were kids, he would appease us with lots of latest toys and other goodies. I didn’t know there was a thing as pressure until I journeyed into the university and blended with different kinds of people. I wouldn’t have believed if anyone told me at 20, they had to cater for their own fees and meals. These experiences as well as interactions  I witnessed changed my perception about life, I knew I had to level up. 

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I desire to surpass my father’s achievement. He started trading at age 17, made a lot of money and by 21, he had gotten his first car, renovated his family house and progressed well in importation of Jewelries and clothes, and good sales in Engine Oil. I’m in my mid 20’s and I haven’t scratched the chronicles of his achievement, ain’t I a joke? Truth be told, my parents do not care. My father always advises me to calm down and says that the economic situation in our era is way different from his.  

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The pressure comes from knowing that we are both getting old (My father and I). I feel like I need to make my own money to take care of him and my mum. You may say isn’t his wealth a fall back plan? Well anything can happen, and I would want to be prepared financially. 

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Guess what?! as the first Son, I’m expected to marry from my village, not just my state o, but from my village. It’s a price I must pay. I spoke to my mum about this and she’s not open to me marrying outside my village, let alone outside Anambra state. Yes, I’m from Anambra, guess my statement seals your belief on the speculations/statements on the timeline about Anambra men being mummy’s boy lol, that’s not true o. I feel it lacks spice to marry someone from the same village, we would see how it goes though.

Arranged marriages for first son

Is It Truly To Live?

Like I said earlier, to some, the hustle gives room for no breather. A first born who is equally a first son is like an octopus with many legs, shouldering different tasks at once. Talking to these men, I could not relate 100% and I am sure quite a number of you reading cannot relate vividly too. That’s because it takes experience to relate vividly.  

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On this note, I’d like to rub minds with you. In your opinion, how can first sons feel invincible to the pressure? How can they navigate it better? Do you agree that to truly live as the first son one must shoulder responsibilities? If you’re a first son/child reading this, I’d like to hear of your share of experience too. What is it like and how are you able to put your head above the water? If you do not fall in the aforementioned category, your opinion matters too. Consider this an opportunity to recall sacrifices from that pillar of support sibling in your family. How have they impacted your life in the past years and what advice would you give them? Leave your comments below 🙂👇👇.

 

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Elohe
Elohe
1 month ago

So sad because I can relate to this. I’m the first daughter and first child. In Igbo land we’re called Adanne. I have four younger ones, and a widowed mum, this story hits home. On some days all I can do is cry, not because I hate the responsibilities, it’s something I would do again and again. But where is the money? I’m only 24 but I feel like a granny on most days. No matter how people tell me to look away from my family and put myself first, it’s hard.  You know the saddest part? When I am … Read more »

Onyii
Onyii
1 month ago
Reply to  Elohe

Feels like my story.
But unlike you, I have learnt to put myself 1st. Of course, I’m there for my family just as much as I can. Left for me, I just want to take care of me and my mom alone. My siblings (the boys) are just 😑😑😑

Elohe
Elohe
1 month ago
Reply to  Onyii

Same here. The boys make me so angry. I’m trying to see how you can get a bright future but you decide to have a girl friend or want the latest phone. This is someone that just took jamb. I wish i can stiff my heart

Onyii
Onyii
1 month ago
Reply to  Elohe

😂😂😂 want the latest phone! On whose expense? Definitely not from me.
If you work to buy for yourself, that’s fine. That also means you have money to feed and take care of your needs while in school. Atleast, my siblings understand that much.

You never chop finish na latest phone and girlfriend dey hungry you.

Ebuka
Ebuka
1 month ago

This shit is even worse in a family with an absentee or nonchalant father, the first son or the bread winning son automatically becomes the father. I am not a first son, but I perfectly relate to this story. I am the 5th child in a family of 8, and also the 3rd son. However, I got exposed to business earlier than some of my older siblings..and as soon as I began to show interest in catering for Mama’s needs, the first son who was already playing dad for about 8years, hands off and left me with the burdens. I… Read more »

Ebuka
Ebuka
1 month ago

The last one has 4 kids..Two from two different ladies. And he’s living with none, so he dumped two with our mum and took off. So I placed Mama on a 30k stipend monthly, which was never enough for her because she is raising my little brother’s two kids. A day before before passed on, I sat by her hospital bed and promised her I would cater for thos kids till they come of age. That was the only time her heavy breath dropped, she squeezed my fingers and let go. Next day she passed on. Someone might say “GET… Read more »

Nkechi
Nkechi
1 month ago

Im the last born and I have four older siblings,I know it’s totally off topic but I think lastborns edition should be premiered too last Borns and first Borns have similar pressures you’d be surprised loool. That being said,the eldest in my house is a guy followed by a girl(ada) I’ve watched both my siblings shoulder the pains of responsibility in ways I’ve Neva imagined, sincerely? I don’t wish to be them. My brother like Henry started hustling from early days,making paintings and art works and trekking all the way to the market round about to show his works in… Read more »

Cherechi
Cherechi
1 month ago

I’m a first born son and an only child and I can totally understand and agree with all three. It isn’t easy navigating this thing called life as is because of the unconscious pressure put on us. It affects practically every single aspects of our lives from career to relationships to business, there’s always the drive to succeed to be better because of the responsibilities we know await us ahead and it’s that same thing that drives us to make decisions on who we date, where we work and what to do to get better. It’s an arduous journey we… Read more »

Cherechi
Cherechi
1 month ago

Lol 😂 Yeah I get it a lot. It’s crazy to be very honest. It was one of the reasons my last relationship ended, her Dad was skeptical (Tbh I still don’t understand) but I mean it’s life. I’ve always told myself I’d get married to the lady that wants to understand me as much as I her but as an only child not everyone understands what you go through, the needs, the emotions; it’s a lot and it’s hard finding that person that would take time to understand the whole picture. So it’s a struggle, It’s painful sometimes because… Read more »

Cherechi
Cherechi
1 month ago

Your weird reason may very well be the right reason. The world is weird 😂 but yeah, I’d focus on being better as a person in all areas till I find the right lady.

Tai
Tai
1 month ago

This topic is a really sensitive one and I’m hoping we have a larger house who can relate. It is indeed a menace in our society. As it is with first sons, we experience this with first daughters too. Whilst some people carry around this weight and pressure, some have found a way to unmount it(either consciously/unconsciously). I wish I can share a deep personal story to explain this… But I just know this… when we, first sons, first daughters really look at life, and how it is so fickle that in 1 second, one might not matter again… You… Read more »

Onyii
Onyii
1 month ago

I can relate to this story to an extent. As a first born daughter with a widowed mother and 4 siblings….oh boy! I have the most amazing immediate younger sister. Sometimes I forget I’m the 1st born; without words, she’s like “sis, you can rest now, let me take it from here for while”. My brothers on the other hand, I’ll like to know what goes on in their heads because their nonchalant attitude to life is just something else. The 1st son still dey try small but does not even care for the family except himself. See, after watching… Read more »

Bubu
Bubu
1 month ago

I’m here to send hugs and kisses to all the first born sons and daughters, especially those under so much pressure to satisfy both their families and society.

Most times I look at my elder brother and see how exhausted he is, the worried look around his eyes, and how often he gets lost in thought. Whew! If I had half the responsibilities he has, I for don enter street dey do hookup 😂.

Mia
Mia
1 month ago

It’s not easy to be a first child,all the reasons uche gave the absurd reason there was where he stated he had to marry from his village really who does that? Just putting yourself under pressure that’s not necessary.a grown ass man of all the worry it’s the marrying from your village that’s an issue. what if the lady that can be a helper to you is a youruba lady,all this mummy boys ehn..I am sure you will end up marrying a boring virgin lady and later start sending your sad stories or the ones that will still make you… Read more »

Mia
Mia
1 month ago

Lol okay I hear you o,I have actually been a relationship where someone gave that as an excuse so it’s always vexing me when I see such,but asides that it’s not easy been a first child.i am a first child but no much pressure we are just two and the age difference isn’t much so we are more like classmate’s..the only pressure with me is the levelling up to my mates and sometimes whewwwwww.but we move regardless

Cee
Cee
1 month ago

So sad but absolutely a fact in most families. I am not the first child neither do I have an elder brother but I could relate in certain ways even as a lady. My parents are financially buoyant enough to carter but in certain areas they would be nonchalant to help especially my dad. I learnt early enough that his money and properties isn’t for anyone but his, imagine having a less supporting father. My siblings all look up to me in certain ways not really financially like defending them whenever they had issue or things to sort out from… Read more »

Femi
Femi
1 month ago

I’m a first born son, and maybe I kind of relate with all that have been said above. But wait, you guys don’t get compared. Like I’m clocking 29 soon and I really don’t like going to my parents’ because there is always that one family member that has done better. Or is making waves. Waves in quote. It’s worse if you are introverted too. Oh! The sacrifices, that comes easy. I was brought up that way, so to me it doesn’t matter much. I get really tired and depressed on some days. I can’t count the number of times… Read more »

Anonymous **
Anonymous **
1 month ago

Ok, this is a highly sensitive topic. I am a first daughter and tbh, it hasn’t been easy. I had learnt to always take responsibility of my two sibling (guy and lady) since I was 7. My late Dad had always taught me how to be responsible. My Mum won’t let me out. I had to stay in her hair salon by force. I didn’t have the opportunity to go out and play or have friends like the others. It was more like a familiar prison. I mustn’t express negative emotions like anger. I had to bottle up every emotions.… Read more »

Mirian
Mirian
1 month ago

Omo !!!!!…….. I definitely cannot relate .
However, having gone through the stories and comments all I can say is that some first borns are having it the hard way . Whew! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️….. sending them all the love the need.

Henry
Henry
1 month ago

To all the first born out there struggling to make ends meet. May God bless us all. A lot of thoughts running through my mind reading this story, I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. To every sacrifices we have made just to make our family comfortable, it will be repaid in hundreds folds , God will send angels in form of humans to uplift us to the height we have always dreamt to achieve. We will sit among kings and recall on this days when we are putting much efforts just to see that things… Read more »

Nana
Nana
1 month ago

Omoooo I can relate to an extent, I feel there should also be an article on only child’s cos omoooooooo hmmm ,at a young age you are already pressured as the only seed of your parents the only eye and what not , you have no choice but to do well and trust me its a lot of pressure.

Lizzie Maxb Ihie
Lizzie Maxb Ihie
1 month ago

Being the firstborn is so challenging. People automatically expect you to have the answers to all your family’s problems, expect you to marry first or live up to one yeye goal, without thinking of what you may be going through. I have a little family history that makes me the firstborn and first daughter, and at the same time, I also have an elder brother (that’s a story for another day). Sometimes I almost run mad from the pressure, both external and internal. I feel automatically wired to step up and be there without even the resources to do so.… Read more »

Cmkcouture
Cmkcouture
1 month ago

Phew
this is so relatable on many levels. Well, it got the point where I had to learn to put my needs and myself 1st cause at the end of the day I cannot be trying the next person’s cup while mine is still empty.

Dante Onwe
Dante Onwe
1 month ago

Life in general is unfair regardless of which side of the spectrum you are at. Just know that this responsibility saddled on you will only make you strong and better equiped for the world. With that said, to whom much is given much is expected, first born boys are the jewels of there mother’s eye, even in poor homes the get alot of attention and care. I am the last child of six children I am in my early thirties and my dad is about 87. Most of my siblings got the best of what my father and mother could… Read more »

Winnie James
Winnie James
1 month ago

Interesting story. I can relate to it because I’m the first born and first daughter (Adiaha). As a girl, it’s tough because girls have a limited time to get their life in order in this part of the world. You have to finish school, at least be financially stable, settle down and blah blah blah before a certain age. When it’s not working out as planned, you’re under subconscious pressure which is so depressing. You try to live right, not make mistakes when you choosing a partner because your sisters are looking up to you, you automatically become a mommy… Read more »

Winnie James
Winnie James
1 month ago

Ibibio tribe. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are alive and doing but there’s just this pressure of being the first and a girl for that matter with limited to achieve everything and still be the best. Lol.

Orgostinah
Orgostinah
1 month ago

I can’t relate to this at any percentage though, because the one I look up to is my immediate brother who is the second son and the fifth child. I was never close with the first son who is the second child for reasons I Don’t know myself, but you would always see me call my other brother. We are like 5&6, he’s the only one that knows about my relationships and all but that lasted till he got married, had to take a step back so he can focus on his family. He complains about not hearing from me… Read more »

Haikyuu
Haikyuu
1 month ago

I can relate to this..
It’s an unspoken rule here in Africa.
You are expected to be a provider but at what cost..
The burden becomes so heavy at times.

Pretty Kay@Adeyeye Kayode
Pretty Kay@Adeyeye Kayode
1 month ago

I am of the first son of the family , but I shoulder almost all the family’s responsibility because I have a well paid job. Even the first born seff no dey send anybody , baba just dey hustle for himself. IF the 2nd , 3rd or last born can be financially stable, the pressure will be off the first born , but the first born can’t help it by being the yardstick and role model to the younger ones in our traditional African Society.

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