Why We’re Confident One Child is Perfect for Us
I recently had a conversation with another mom about family size. Well, her family size. She talked about how many children she planned to have and how far apart she wanted their ages spread out, all the while I smiled and listened. Then came the natural question “So, when do you plan to have another one?”
My response, “we aren’t planning to have another one,” quickly led to a look of disappointment and disapproval followed by reasons why having only one child is a bad idea. After having this conversation, I was a little flustered on how quickly the tables turned. Here I was, listening to and supporting this mom’s decision to have four children, yet she had nothing positive to say about my decision to have one child.
Honestly, this exchange was not surprising to me at all.
When I tell people my husband and I have taken the “one and done” route, I usually hear something along the lines of…
“He needs a brother or a sister!”
“What will he do if you or your husband (or BOTH) die?”
“He’s going to be spoiled!”
“That’s selfish of you.”
“I know/I am an only child and it did not turn out well.”
The only time it seems excusable for me to have one child is if I have fertility or financial reasons. Surely someone with *just* one child cannot physically bear another one. If that’s not the case, then they probably can’t afford to take care of another one.
Unfortunately for me, I do not fall under either of these categories. I do not have fertility issues nor am I in financial distress.
Simply put, my husband and I have decided we are happy with one child.
Sure, I can list the benefits of having an only child, but that seems to perpetuate the “how many children is ideal?” debate. I could go into the pros of “I’ll save money/have more time/options to travel” but that feels like I am trying to justify my reason to you. I don’t have to justify my decision to have one child because it’s a decision my husband and I made together.
Yes, a child’s life will be different if they are an only child compared to a child with siblings. But, a child’s life will also be different if they have younger parents or older parents. One sibling or five siblings. Single mom or single dad. Older siblings or younger siblings (or both).
The point I’m trying to make is there’s no ideal number of children. It is all about what you and your partner decide is best for your family, and, quite frankly, it’s really no one’s business what you decide or why you decided it.
Want four kids? Great!
Three? Go for it!
Two? Sounds good to me.
One? Join the club.
The next time a conversation comes up about family size, let’s try to be supportive instead of pushing our opinions because I’m confident one child is perfect for my family, and I’m confident your number is perfect for you, too.
I feel like the perfect response to the other mom in this situation, although I’ll probably never be brave enough to say it, is “You’d be surprised how little your opinion on this matters to me.”
It is absurd to me how other people think they get a say in what you do with your uterus. And it goes the other way too. A friend who is pregnant with her third is telling me about the absurd things people say to her. “Was it planned?” “Were you trying for a girl (she has two boys)?” “Is it twins?” People!
I so needed to read this right now, Jaime! Thank you for sharing your story and your opinion. I am facing a similar decision myself and while my husband and I have not yet made a 100% decision either way, we are currently leaning toward the “one and done” camp because of a number of issues. But I agree with you, the issues are no one’s business! Sometimes it’s just what’s right! I appreciate you sharing this and hope that as you continue to get the “really, you’re done?!?” question, you are met with more positive responses!
My husband and I also decided one and done. It’s the family members who have been our harshest critics on the decision. I was an only child and sure, every now and then I wanted a sibling, but I’m just fine. When I opened up to my father in law about whether or not he thought my son would be missing out by not having a sibling, he pointed out that not all siblings get along and they are not guaranteed to play together the way you may picture it. That actually made me feel a little better. Maybe we will change our minds later on but I’m not too worried about it anymore. I just want to enjoy my family!
I am the mom of a 24 year-old only child. She is NOT spoiled and people are often surprised that she is an only child. I did not want a spoiled only child so I did not raise one. She has occasionally expressed a longing for a sibling and just often said that she is glad she is an only child. My husband’s siblings all get along but I do not get along with mine. You cannot predict a situation. When people ask about more children ( and they STILL do!) I always tell them that once you’ve achieved perfection why would you need anything more? My daughter didn’t understand that for the longest time. She thought I was being sarcastic (happens a lot) and that I meant she wasn’t perfect. I reassured her that I thought she was perfect just the way she was and that I have never felt the need for any more children. When people hear my reply to their rude question they are usually taken aback and don’t know how to respond. I like that because I shut them down, point out their rudeness without being rude myself and don’t get in trouble with my mom. I think as a society we have lost the knowledge that just because you want to know something does not mean you have the right or need to know something. Make your family what you want it to be. I won’t comment on your family and please don’t comment on mine.
It’s “unfortunate” that your family size was not limited by infertility or finances? Really? I’m sure that families that are so limited feel anything but fortunate, and find little solace in the fact that they have an “acceptable excuse” for having one child. You should never have to defend your number (or lack) of children, but next time you are called to do so, perhaps take a second to appreciate that you have the luxury of defending the family you chose.
Thanks for sharing. There shouldn’t need to be a “reason” rather the ability to do what feels right in YOUR heart for YOUR family. My husband and I are both only children, and we feel one child is what is right for us. We sometimes question our decision and the comments from others do not help. But we are happy and love our family of 3.