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I Have an Only Child Because It Makes ME Happy

Posted by on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:41 PM
  • 26 Replies
1 mom liked this

I Have an Only Child Because It Makes ME Happy

by Jeanne Sager

When we talk about only children in this country, we spend an awful lot of time talking about their happiness. Are they lonely without siblings? Are they miserable stuck at home with only adults to play with? The answer -- to both questions -- is maybe, maybe not. It all depends on the kid.

But what about the people who create the only children? Doesn't ourhappiness matter? At least a little bit?

I am the mother of an only child, aone and done, as we're called.

My daughter just turned 8 years old, and after a whirlwind birthday weekend, we sat on the couch and I asked her how she was feeling.

As she snuggled into me and launched into a litany of reasons her day was the "awesomest day ever," I felt ... content.

I was happy.

My girl was healthy. She was happy. And my husband and I had made that happen. 

I don't often have time to look within. I may be a mom of "just one," but she still keeps me running, as does a fulfilling job, a spouse I love, friends ...

It's at times like the quiet end to a loud weekend with her that I find what author Lauren Sandler calls "the freedom of having an only child." The author of the new book One and Only is both an only child and mother of one, and she's delved into a verboten topic: a parent's own joy at stopping at one.

If you ask many folks out there -- I should point out that I don't, but they're more than happy to give their opinion anyway -- we're supposed to want more kids. Some do. Some parents stop at one because of fertility issues or finances, because of divorce or devastation.

But for women like me, men like my husband, sometimes one is exactly what we wanted.

Our children aren't accidents; we specifically tried to have kids. Or rather, kid.

My husband and I tried for our daughter. She was born. And then, we stopped. We stopped for dozens of reasons, some I've blogged about, some I'd prefer not to share publicly.

But one I share unabashedly is our contentment with our only child.

She makes us happy, and we are happy to be able to do the same for her thanks to the finances of having just one, thanks to the patience of having just one.

Getting pregnant again, we realized, would have put a strain on our finances that would have created a lot of stress, stress that I can't imagine we could have hidden from our kids. Parenting two would have created stress too. I'm not the most patient of people; I work hard to ensure that I "bear with" my little girl and accept that she's just a kid. I accept that my patience is limited and know that I'm a better mother to one than I would be to two.

I accept that I can be a nice mom to one but might be a mean mom to two.

I'm happy that I know my limits. She has a mother who is calmer than I would be with more than one. She has a mother who smiles and laughs.

I'm happy ... because she can have a happy childhood.

Do you feel like your happiness matters in choosing how many children to have?

by on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:41 PM
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by Barbara on Jun. 15, 2013 at 8:43 PM
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We have an only child, and it has been by choice. It's probably the most questioned (by family, friends, and even strangers) parenting decision I've had. But I know it's been the right decision for my husband and I.

Since this article was so close to our situation and point of view, I wanted to see what others thought of it too.

by Emerald Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 9:11 PM

 Yes, I think that your happiness is very important when deciding how many children to have.  My husband is one of five children, three of his siblings have four children each.  His twin brother has no children, isn't even married.  We have two children and are very happy with our two boys.  However, my husband's family can't understand that.  They are constantly asking us when we are going to have another or asking us why we aren't trying for a girl, like that alone would be reason enough.  It can get very upsetting at times having to deal with this, especially since my husband and I are beyond done with the baby stage.  So I can totally relate.

by on Jun. 15, 2013 at 9:40 PM

I think that if you aren't happy it is hard to make others around you happy. Like when you are on a plane-take care of your own oxygen first. I think that can be used as a metaphor for most other aspects of life. 

by Bronze Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM
I think one is very desirable and we where happy with that. God had a different plan and sent another, what a surprise! I guess one can plan and it works, but many try and can't have, so I think it's a surprise when each child comes because they are so different and very individual.
by Bronze Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 9:54 PM

The part I don't understand is this -- who does ANYONE think they are to question anyone else's decision on having one or any number of children?

If having one is what works for some people, then awesome!  Me on the other hand, I mourn for children I will never have when I already have 3.  When I pack up too-small baby clothes I get really emotional and imagine "one more last baby" wearing whatever outfit I have in my hand at the time.

by Silver Member on Jun. 15, 2013 at 11:03 PM

I have one child and it's what's best. Does he want siblings? Yes. But I know having one child is best for our family.

We need to worry more about our won families and less about other peoples.

by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 1:38 AM
I come from a family of 4 my dad comes from a family of 15 my husband he has a twin sister n an older brother. We have 3 children and that's enough for us our family is complete. We were done at 2 but birth control failed but it was in Gods hands he had other plans for us. I never wanted to have just 1 child. But it has to fit ur life style if u just want 1 then so be it. Having kids is not cheap.
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by on Jun. 16, 2013 at 1:50 AM

I am completely happy right now with just my son! I would love for him to be an only child but S/O would like more... atleast one more. I am willing but only after we get other priorities out of the way, like buying a house, getting another reliable car, getting our schooling done, etc. I told my S/O that maybe in 10 years (I'll be a little over 30) we will have another one. But we'll see how things go from now til then. Of course kids are blessings and if it happens, we will love them no matter what. But plans for my fam right now are to get other things done before I even think about bringing another one into the world. I am a single child with 3 half siblings I barely ever met. I was always happy growing up and although I did ask my parents for a little brother all the time, it was awesome always having their attention and never having to share LOL My older half sister did come to live with us eventually after I turned 11 and it was fun having someone else to play and talk to. But since I have experienced a bit of both, I know what I'm doing for my son and know that either way he will be loved and feel special =)

by Laura on Jun. 16, 2013 at 2:01 AM
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Love this!!!!! I live in Utah now. Love it, but, we have 2 kids and have been told sorry only 2, like we want more. Lol no, 2 is great for us. We have a ds, 12 1/2 mos older than our dd, who was conceived on bc, 1 time deal. Lol ds was conceived the 1st mos we tried. We adore our close family of four. I have family, and numerous friends, one and done. :)

Fwiw, dd wasn't planned, but, I've never, ever, ever, uttered 'accident'. I hate that word. No child is ever an 'accident', just, perhaps, not planned. :)

My hatred of this stems from college. A close friend, she and her mom joked and ridiculed her tween 1/2 brother how unwanted, and what an accident he was. I can only imagine how scarred he is today, closing in on 2 decades. Yes, it was so bad, I remember.

by Platinum Member on Jun. 16, 2013 at 2:54 AM
I agree each couple decides how many kids they want for whatever reason and it is no one's place to question it.

My Dad had 4 kids with his first wife and was snipped. I was my Moms only child. She would have loved to have more but it wasn't in the cards. It would have been nice to have a sibling my age since the others were all older and lived with her. It was like being an only child. However, it wasn't I'm the cards and I'm kind of glad now that I'm older.
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