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Only Children: Little Things

Walker - 3 Days Old

It’s the little things I enjoy most about having an only. Of course, I don’t know any other way, so I don’t have anything else to compare it to.

But when I see a mother with three clinging to her in the grocery store, fighting with each other and my little guy is riding along in the cart, satisfied just hanging out with me, I’m secretly happy that I’m not her.

When I’m at the store and I can say yes to that toy, I know I can give him things he wants (of course, I don’t give him everything he wants).  
  
I can have a successful career and be a successful mommie. So many women I know have given up their lives to be moms and have lost themselves in the process – their lives are consumed with driving their child to the next practice or play date. I believe women can be mothers and have their own interests and life too. For me, one is the perfect balance and enables me to still be me, and not lose myself in mommie duties.

Yes, siblings have each other when they grow up, but my little guy won’t be alone. Hopefully he’ll have a wife, children, brother and/or sister-in-laws, cousins, best friends, etc. I know that with his personality, he’ll always have people around him. The definition of family continues to change, and I know that being an only, he’ll have to reach out to others and build bonds that serve the same purpose as sibling bonds.

I think some people have more than one child because they don’t want to operate outside of the norms of society. They believe having two or more children is what society expects. Well, society doesn’t help out in my house, doesn’t pay the bills and doesn’t get up in the middle of the night when my kid throws up in the bed. Society isn’t what I’m trying to impress right now. Society shouldn’t and isn’t going to make this decision for me.

When people look at me and ask, “Is he your only?” I smile at them and say, “Yes, and he will always remain my only.”

I know they probably then judge me as selfish, or pre-determine my child to be a brat, but neither of these assumptions are true. So next time you see an only child, think twice about judging or assuming. Maybe, just maybe, they are actually pretty cool people, living outside the norms of society, doing what’s best for them.
 

*Hans-Peter Kohler, a population sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 35,000 Danish twins. Women with one child said they were more satisfied with their lives than women with none or more than one. Kohler says, "At face value, you should say that you'll stop at one child to maximize your subjective well being."

Comments

  1. I couldn't have said it better myself! Thank you for writing this =)

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  2. I came to your blog from Twitter yesterday when I saw you were writing about only children. I currently only have one, and we're pretty sure that we only want the one. It's been a hard road to get our one, but now.. life is perfect with just her. I like reading that other people are okay with just one as well. We're already getting the "when are you going to have another?" and we're so not there.

    Love this post. You have a new reader.

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  3. Oh my goodness! I need this series of posts so much! Iappreciate your honesty. You have a new follower for sure!

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  4. Love this post !! I, too, am a member of the "One and done" club. I despise the questions of why we wouldn't want more or the talks of selfishness that we would deprive our son of a sibling, which is a topic he has only asked about once. A parents love of children doesn't need to be measured by the quantity they produce....I feel so blessed with the son I have who is well adjusted, unselfish, caring, social, and most days independent. Thank you so much for your point of view and the reminder that because we chose to have one child doesn't make us a bad parent.

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  5. Thank you again. Beautifully written. This past summer we were asked when we were having more and we said we weren't, and the lady went on and on about "oh my gosh, that is SO sad, he will be so sad and lonely".....yada yada yada.... I wanted to run. I was stunned that she was saying that. We should all be free to make our own choices and not be judged. I could go on and on about this topic, but you took the words right out of my mouth, completely. Thank you!

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  6. My friend Nicolle sent me the link to your post. LOVED it! I have an only child...and I am always on the look out for other blogs that have an only too. (there's not many out there!) So many people want to know what your "deal" is when you save you have just one child. My son actually feels lucky to be an only child...he sees his cousins fighting all the time and says he would not like that at all.
    I'm so glad Nicolle sent me over to your blog. I'm going to follow so I can come back often!
    I wrote about having an only child back in November.
    http://thepleasuresofmylife.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-are-family-of-three.html

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  7. I grew up an only child (I have a half-brother who was born when I was 18) and never once did I long for siblings as a little girl. As an adult, I've fostered sibling-like relationships with friends + a cousin. I don't have children yet, but because I agree with you that when children come I don't want to lose the essence of myself in JUST being a mother, I wouldn't be suprirsed if I have only one child myself. This is a great post, with a fresh take on motherhood so rarely touched in blogworld!

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  8. I love your comments. Walker is so lucky to have you as a mom!

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  9. Well said! I am an only child myself and I have to say, I've always loved it! I got to bring a friend on all our vacations and never had to babysit siblings or share a room. The only issue I've ever had with it is now that I am an adult and the reality is that I am the only one to take care of my parents someday. There are always pros and cons in everything but being an only has some definite perks!!!

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  10. "Maybe, just maybe, they are actually pretty cool people, living outside the norms of society, doing what’s best for them."

    I hope you don't mind me keeping the above quote for my journal Wendy. I'm mom to an only child and I struggle with the guilt of not providing siblings but for our family it works beautifully and I can't imagine any other way. Thanks for making me smile tonight!

    Kathy Beckett (from PPD)
    Mom to Gabe

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  11. I literally got chill bumps reading this post and honestly I'm not sure how I got to your blog (maybe RMS?)but I'm glad I did. I have an only child as well - she's 8 and a very happy child (other than the normal whining) and we're very happy with just her. It's soooo nice to know that there are other people out there who "get" the one child lifestyle. I once had a friend who has 4 boys under 9 ask me if I felt bad that my daughter didn't have any brothers or sisters and isn't it selfish of me to deny her of that(in a very judgmental way) and I asked her if she ever felt bad that her kids never really have one on one time with her and when her family is all together her boys all fight so much that they all look miserable! I also say to others "I have one husband, one child,one house and one job - I'm good." Thanks for a great post!

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  12. What a great post! I'm an only child and I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm very close to my parents, and I have an amazing extended family!

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  13. I had to say that I stopped following your blog because of this post. I was greatly offended!!! You said: "I think some people have more than one child because they don’t want to operate outside of the norms of society. They believe having two or more children is what society expects." What hog wash!!! And I think that the judging usually happens more with a single child mother than mothers with more than one child. When will mothers stop being so judgmental and comparative and begin to be supportive and embracing each other for what they are and realize that there is no cookie cutter mothering?!?!

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  14. I love this post! I'm struggling with this issue now - I feel guilty for not giving my sweet, delightful girl a sibling, but I feel very comfortable with our life as it is and can't fathom how we could make it work financially with another child. Thank you for your positive spin on this topic! We need more posts like these!

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