Just One (Why An Only Child Is Enough For Me)

I never wore my Baby On Board badge when I was pregnant. It was in those early weeks when I felt really tired and nauseous but didn’t look pregnant that I really felt I needed it to get a seat on The Tube. But I hadn’t told anyone at work I was expecting and couldn’t risk bumping into someone from the office. And then by the time it was public knowledge my bump seemed so big to me, I would have felt silly wearing a badge that stated the obvious.

These days I feel the need to wear a “No Plans For Another Baby” badge.

London Underground Baby On Board Badge
They don’t make a “No Plans For Another Baby” badge that I know of (Nursery Whines/TfL)

With my daughter at almost 16 months and me still not back at work, people seem to think that having another baby is the natural thing for me to do. I am frequently asked if I am going to have more children. More often than not it isn’t even phrased as a question. It is just implied that now is the time to start working on expanding my family. Or people express mock horror that I am passing on my baby kit to an expectant friend, because I’ll be needing it myself someday soon.

Why does convention make me feel that I am being a lazy, selfish and inefficient parent for just stopping at one?

Magnetic letters spelling 'Back to work'
It feels like everyone else is a working mum these days (Nursery Whines)

I may be the only Stay At Home Mother of one that I know – all the other Only Child mums are juggling a career – but I am not lazy. It’s not my fault I got made redundant on maternity leave. I always intended to go back to my job when my daughter reached 12 months and I am working hard looking for a new one. But I am struggling to find a job that covers the cost of childcare and has the flexible hours I need to work around it.

Even if I don’t go back to work anytime soon, being a parent to one child doesn’t mean I am doing any less parenting. I don’t deny it would be harder work running around after my daughter if I had a second baby latched onto my breast, but I am giving motherhood my all. And it certainly isn’t easy.

It appears that a common perception of the parents of Only Children is that they are selfish. I am supposedly depriving my child of siblings. A brother or sister would be a playmate, companion and friend for life. I make sure she sees other children whenever we can. I play with her, her father plays with her, and she is actually very good at playing by herself.

Child playing at having a tea party with stuffed toys
Playmates come in many forms (Nursery Whines)

Now, I love my brothers and sisters, I cherish their companionship and I remember playing happily with them when we were younger. But I also remember doing a lot of fighting with them, and we often all played on our own, or with our own friends.

It has been suggested that being an Only Child puts a heavy burden on my daughter when I become old and the roles are reversed. She will have no one to help her when it is her turn to care for her parents. But if I am to become a burden to one child, I surely would be a burden to two, three, five. All I can do is put plans in place to lighten her load as much as I can.

Then there is the argument that being an only child will ‘spoil’ my daughter. Brothers and sisters would teach her to share, to be competitive and understand she can not always be the winner and the centre of attention – all important life lessons. But if I am efficient in my parenting, as I strive to be, she can still learn all these things. And for every spoilt Only Child out there, there are multiple spoilt children with siblings.

Three pairs of shoes, two adult and one baby
Three is still a family (Nursery Whines)

If I am truly honest, I would love to have more children. But we have our reasons for keeping our family small. Age, health, circumstance, finances, politics, personal issues. Why should I have to justify them to the world?

My daughter is not my only child, she is all we have.

That is enough for me.

So – enough.

This Mum's Life
The Pramshed
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9 thoughts on “Just One (Why An Only Child Is Enough For Me)

  1. You should never have to justify only having one child – these choices are personal and we each have our reasons for making them. Some people want more kids and can’t have them – others are simply content with their small family. I go back and forth on an almost daily basis about whether I want to have another child or not. And if I don’t, that’s not to say that our family of three (plus a badly-behaved ginger cat) isn’t a complete family, because it is. #stayclassymama

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  2. For 8 years I had to justify to others why we only had one child, asked by strangers on the street why I didn’t want a second. They had no idea that I did have a second, who had died, nor that we had lost 15 babies trying for a sibling for our eldest. I found those comments hurtful, upsetting and out right rude! We now have four children and the comments keep coming, but the opposite end of the scale – why do you have so many children?!! #stayclassymama

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    1. It felt the same when I reached my thirties, people kept asking if I was planning to have any children. They just don’t think about the reasons it might not be that simple. Thanks for reading. #StayClassyMama

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  3. My advice? Just stick to one lol. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone bit honestly I thought having two close in age would be such a great idea. I thought they could entertain each other and would be so close and protective of each other. If only I knew. I can’t leave them in the same room together out of fear they’d kill each other. Ok, my son has autism so my situation is a little different but I thought I’d add my two pence worth and say I think you’re doing the right thing sticking to your guns and sticking to one 😉

    #stayclassymama

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  4. The whole ‘convention’ thing really winds me up. The minute my husband I were married the baby questions started but we weren’t ready for another year, and then we had problems and it took another 4 years and a miscarriage before I fell pregnant with my son. Fielding all those when are you having a baby questions then was frustrating and heartbreaking. Within a year of him being born the questions started again. Knowing how long it took us last time we were already trying but it took another 5 years another 4 miscarriages and an ectopic before we had my daughter. After going through so much we actually put a time limit on trying and had already decided that we were very lucky to have just the one when there were so many couples who couldn’t have any. I make it a point of never asking when someone is going to have a baby, as you don’t know what their circumstances are and how your words could affect them. As for the sharing thing. My son has always been amazing at sharing (he was an only child till he was 5), my daughter on the other hand is terrible at it, so that’s that theory out the water! Doing what’s right for you and your family isn’t selfish, it’s the most important thing there is x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. I am so sorry about the troubles you have suffered to get your family and thank you for being so open. That is exactly one of the reasons I feel people need to think more before asking the, ‘Are planning to have kids/more?’ question.

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  5. I think a family is a family no matter how it is made up! Lots of my friends have decided to have one child only, and only a few have decided to have more than 2. We have 2 because we adopted them as siblings, but it never occurred to me to question whether I would have one or two or three – I just knew I would know when my family was complete! It is completely your choice – and well done for putting it so brilliantly in this post! Thanks for joining us #fortheloveofBLOG

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  6. thismumslife

    Good for you!! I see that someone above said that they had two close together in the hope that they’d play together/entertain each other etc-yep-my story ends the same way as hers…! The fighting is constant, and draining, and destroys my soul on many an occasion. My husband often says ‘why didn’t we stop at one again?’ And we really hadn’t considered it properly, I think we had always just assumed we ‘should’ have two, without actually stopping to consider stopping at one. There’s so many unwanted questions surrounding pregnancy-I’m always asked if I’d like a girl. Yes, I would like one, but I don’t want to go through another pregnancy that would most likely end in another boy, to have one. Then I feel massively annoyed with the person who asked the question. Similarly, with numbers of children, if people have one, or five, it’s nobody’s place to ask if they’re having any more, and it’s always one I make sure I never ask!! X
    #bigpinklink

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