If you've been following my blog or Instagram then you know that I have an only child- my daughter A. When we got married and started our family, we didn't think we were going to have an only child. The early years of motherhood flew by and our attempts to get pregnant were unsuccessful when A was younger. We didn't try alternative methods to get pregnant and now here we are- 5 years later with an only child.
If I was in my 30s, I would still try and seek other ways of getting pregnant but I'm not so it's a bit more difficult and complicated. Alternative methods of getting pregnant are expensive and emotionally taxing so we just didn't even go there. Some of you may disagree and think I should still try. Thank you for your concerns and opinions but I think that chapter of motherhood is over for me due to my age. It would seriously have to be a miracle of science and God for me to have another baby right now.
As nice as it would be to have another child, I would rather spend my life enjoying the family that I have. I'm not going to lie- sometimes when I see a friend announcing another pregnancy or see pictures of siblings, I get a little sad. But I push those feelings aside because when it comes down to it- I'm very thankful and happy. I love our family of three and the life that we have. The only time I cried about it recently was when I saw a video pregnancy announcement on Youtube. I saw my friend's young daughter touching her mommy's pregnant belly in the video and it just made me cry.
But Sally, you might say, A needs a sibling. Or as the Korean ladies at the grocery would say with a disapproving look- you only have one? And as my aunt would say- you need to have another child. You can't just have one. No, having kids isn't like eating potato chips. Yes, you can have just one if you choose to because everyone's families are different. Instead of making judgments, I wish people would just let it be. You should have however many children you want and can afford without worrying too much about what others or society says.
If I could have another baby right now, I would love it but I can't so I'm letting it be and enjoying the life that we have made. Life is too short to not enjoy the moments you have by wishing for something else. But I will admit that having an only child has some pros as well as some cons which I'll address below.
Pros of Having an Only Child
- It's less expensive. Having kids is expensive whether you have one, two or more. But if you have only one, then it's relatively less expensive because you have to buy things for just the one. Saving for college, weddings, etc will be just for her so it's technically less than if we had multiple children.
- We can do more. This goes with the previous pro. Because we have just A, we can do more and take advantage of more opportunities because it's just her. If we want to travel, we can because it won't be as expensive. If we want to send her to a private school or put her in certain classes, we can because it would be for her.
- Things are "easier." Raising kids is hard but when it's just one, it's easier in that we just have to remember her schedule and needs. There are no sibling fights because there is no sibling. If we need to pick up and go, we just have to get her ready as opposed to two or more.
- We have a strong relationship. Because A is our only child, we spend a lot of time together. Some might think that's a con but I LOVE spending time with her and taking care of her. I'm able to give her my undivided attention and there's never a doubt in her mind that we love another sibling more than her because that's not even an option.
- We can do other things. A is now 5 years old so we are out of the trenches of motherhood/parenthood. The sleepless nights are over. The diapers are gone. Potty training is done. The tantrums are not as frequent and we can reason through them. We have more freedom to have our lives back beyond being mom and dad. Personally for me, I am able to focus more on blogging and spending time with friends. It was a lot more difficult when A was younger because I was just tired. But she is now more independent and it gives us, the parents, the ability to pursue things that we maybe have put on hold when she was first born.
Cons of Having an Only Child
If there are pros to having an only child, then there are also some cons. These are the main ones that concern me. Other people may have opinions about only children being spoiled, awkward, and selfish. But those things don't concern me because I've met plenty of adults who were not only children growing up who had those traits, and plenty of adults who were onlies but were well adjusted and generous adults.
- The future. One thing I worry the most about A being an only child is about the future. When we are old and pass away, she will be the only one left. Sure she will have her cousins and friends but the burden of burying us will be upon her. There will also be no one to share memories of childhood with.
- I'm her play companion. A is a pretty independent child but she also likes to play with others. If I don't schedule a playdate, guess who gets to play with her? Me. Sometimes I don't want to play but I know for her sake, I will. If she had a sibling, then I could tell the kids to play together. She does like to play by herself too but when a game or activity involves another person, her dad or I have to play with her since she doesn't have a brother or sister to play with.
- Scheduling. I have to be very mindful about putting her in activities or scheduling play dates with her friends. When she is older, she can do those things herself and hang out with her own friends. But as a 5 year old, I am the one that is responsible for who she plays with and when. I have to fill up her social calendar with enough activities to make sure she gets to socialize.
- Character. Regardless of whether we had one child or multiple children, my hope for my kids would be for them to be people of character. That they would grow up to be kind, intelligent and successful contributing members of society. But since we have an only child, some people assume she would be awkward or spoiled. I try to instill a heart of gratitude in A by trying my best to be a thankful person myself. I've always believed that actions speak louder than words so I try my best to teach A through my actions as well as my words.
Having an only child is right for my family right now. More than the number of kids in a family, it comes down to what values you instill in your kids and how you parent them. If having an only child is what is best for your family, then that's what you should have. If having two, three, four, or more kids in your family is right, then more power to you! (And I bow down because I don't think I could do it!!)
How many kids do you have in your family? Did you grow up with a sibling?
Photography: Avenue Mama Creative
Check out my other posts on how I became a stay at home mom.