Wisconsin: The Midwest’s Petulant Middle Child

by | Jul 1, 2023 | Her Story | 5 comments

Midwest States as Family Members: A Unique Comparison of Birth Order Dynamics, featuring Wisconsin as the Midwest’s petulant middle child

  1. (of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered.
    “he was moody and petulant”

Synonyms: cranky, fractious, irritable, sullen, perverse, testy, whiny.

John and I went out to dinner for a pre-mothers Day celebration a few months ago.  We headed to Belfre in Delafield which to those not familiar with SE Wisconsin, is considered Lake Country.  Delafield sits on Lake Nagawicka just south of Lake Okachee and Oconomowoc and Pewaukee.  (In case you’re not from Wisconsin, this state has been and continues to be the home to some amazing Indigenous tribes, hence the names of the cities and bodies of water).

As we were enjoying a spectacular meal, I commented to John that this is why we stay in Wisconsin.  Though petulant in nature, when the state decides to cooperate, the weather is nothing short of glorious! It’s why we Wisconsinites stick around when everyone from out of state questions “Why the hell do you live here???” The short answer is this;

The State of Wisconsin is a Punk

bitch please, i'm from wisconsin This little bitch of a state teases us for months, hinting at the weather to come, just long enough to hook us into not throwing in the towel and moving everything out all at once.

The state of Wisconsin is a punk;  She snows one day and then like those stupid sour patch kids commercials: “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet….” She shows up in all her glory: 68 degrees, soft breeze, the smell of people grilling outside, The smell of lilacs blooming, flowering crab trees, everyone outside all at once, breathing the fresh spring air, outside dining, beautiful sunsets, and the sound of the Harley Davidson motorcycles roaring to life.  There truly is no better place on earth to experience late spring and early summer.

Alternatively, I like to think of Wisconsin as a down-to-earth sort of gal.

She can drink beer with the guys at the Brewers, Bucks, and Packers games, But also put on a sundress and hang out dancing on the picnic tables at Summerfest.  She can wolf down a brat and beer at the local Parish festival and still get all artsy at the Milwaukee Lakefront of the Arts festival and pretend she knows all about various art mediums.  She can play ring toss at the mustard museum in Middleton, and still show up at the Calatrava art museum for the latest art exhibition.   Wisconsin is your “girl next door” state.  She can definitely be a bit temperamental at times, but eventually comes around and shines bright.

But all of this got me wondering; If the states in the Midwest were siblings, where would Wisconsin fall in the birth order based on her personality

Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio make up the East North Central division of the Midwest.  While there’s some debate about Minnesota, for the sake of this post, I’m lumping it in with the Great Plain states since it’s west of the Mississippi.

I started researching and exploring the Impact of Birth Order on Child Personality Traits and below is my comprehensive research review

Firstborns: Firstborn kids are often very confident, they believe there’s a right way to do things and they lean toward perfectionism and are often rule-following leaders,  and high achievers. They are take-charge people and type A.

Middle children: Middle children are naturally inclined to strike out against whatever behaviors their older sibling has established.  They are often the peacemakers in the family, are psychologically wired to be flexible, and are capable of rolling with the punches, but this makes them sensitive to inclusivity. The middle child likes to wheel and deal and while they like to rebel at times, they are, for the most part, agreeable, diplomatic, and compromising and handle disappointment well

The baby: The baby of the family has a rep for being incredibly social, engaging, entertaining, and the life of the party. Because parents are exhausted by the time the baby comes along, the babies tend to get away with more. The baby of the family oozes charm and is often adventurous

So where does that leave us with ranking the states?

Given we have 5 states, I thought it would be easiest to rank the firstborn and baby first, and then rank the three middle children.

The OHIO STATE: While it actually pains me to say this I have to say the firstborn would be OHIO.  Why is that, you ask?  Well, to me, anyone who deigns to put the wordOhio state logo emphasizing THE as the prefix to Ohio State “the” before the name of the state’s largest university, much less go to court to trademark the definite article (the) is putting off some serious self-important firstborn vibes.

So who’s the baby?

ILLINOIS. But only because it’s home to Chicago. I mean, even this loyal Wisconsinite cannot deny the appeal and charm of Chicago. It’s where Wisconsin goes to eat, shop and play.  I’m not saying Wisconsin doesn’t have some decent restaurants, but it just doesn’t compare to Chicago.  But know this Illinois, if you didn’t have Chicago, you’d be the step-kid who no one wanted around at Christmas!

So, Where should we position the last three states?

MICHIGAN:  would be second as they too give off some pretty big firstborn vibes during the Big Ten Football games (which is part of what I looked at when determining personality)

INDIANA: Sorry Indiana, but you’re just the middle, middle child.  There’s nothing all that vibrant about you, and aside from the INDY 500, you don’t have a ton going on. But you do seem pretty agreeable and you’ve got nice freeways so that’s something to be proud of.

WISCONSIN:  Wisconsin epitomizes the middle child in that, despite our petulance and unpredictability, we are agreeable, compromising, and can handle disappointments fairly well (I mean, How many NFC championship defeats did we endure before Rodgers was finally let go?), but we’re also close to being the baby of the Midwest.

representation of illinois people traveling to wisconsin in the summer to vacationLet’s face it, all the other midwest states vacation in Wisconsin in the summer, (especially Illinois, the “baby” of the family!)
Just go up to Door County or Minoquoa any weekend of the summer and count the number of Illinois license plates you see.  It’s nuts!

But at the end of the day, all of us know that the Midwest is the Best!

We are a family of awesome states and though like any family, we argue about who’s the best, we can all agree that collectively, we are the best.


The South can keep its ocean and sandy beaches and BBQ.  We’ve got our “Up North”, our beautiful lakes, and forests, “Friday Night Fish Fry”, Church parish festivals, The Blues, and the best college sports ( BIG TEN) in the nation!!!


About Me

In February 2022, I was diagnosed with brain cancer and it changed my whole life perspective. This blog is dedicated to my Journey through cancer diagnosis, recovery, and finding the humor in life.


  1. Stephoí

    Yay! I had to go in and say I forgot my password to CREATE a password. Sheesh!
    Anyway, didn’t you do birth order stuff in college? I don’t know a lot about it, but I feel more like a middle child based on your description. I think this blog could be so great for so many people. How do you get followers??? Can’t wait for the next post!

  2. Julie Kurtz

    Share my posts stephoi…. That’s how people discover my blog ☺️

  3. Donna Rivard

    Your descriptions of birth order are spot it! I’m the baby of the family and that description is totally me! I really enjoyed your creative descriptions of the midwest states. We have a lot to be proud of Wisconsin and so much to offer! Love this, Julie!

  4. Faye Analla

    Hi Julie , I am the middle child . What do you think?😍

    • Julie Kurtz

      To me, you seem more like the baby because you’re so much fun!!!


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