If you are reading this article, you’re probably a mom. A Working Mom. Or you might be married to a mom, or friends with a mom. Either way, you have a kid or two. Or three. It’s almost like a ridiculous social norm. You’re supposed to graduate high school. Then go to college. Then get married. And then pop out 3.14 kids (according to the last U.S. Census).
3.14?! Are you kidding me? So even three isn’t enough?
But seriously, why do you have to have more than one kid? I had just barely birthed our son, came home, went back to work, and it wasn’t long before, family, friends, and coworkers were asking me the question- So, when do you think you’re going to have another one?
How long do you want to wait? Do you want another boy, or are you going to shoot for a girl?
OK, wait, hold up. That last question- as ridiculous as it sounded- was asked! As if we have a choice!
So where does this all come from? Why do I feel stigmatized because of it? When I’m at one of his many activities, or any time I am mingling with other people, this question is asked. Is he your only one? I answer yes. Then the follow up question- do you want another one?
Now he’s nine. Do the math. Even if I started working on it now, and I’m definitely not, that’d be a pretty big age gap.
I don’t think I want, nor will I ever have, another one.
Besides, there’s plenty of plusses of having only one child. Let’s take a look.
1. When he was younger, his daycare fees were almost the size of an average mortgage payment. Take that for what it’s worth, because we had a somewhat fancy (expensive) daycare, and our big city mortgage payment wasn’t anywhere close to average.
But childcare is overpriced no matter where you take your kids. For you parents with two or three kids, you probably are spending more for childcare than you are for your mortgage.
2. Another plus. He doesn’t have to share his toys, has no one to fight with, and no sibling to pick on or tattle on. Sometimes it made it a little tough in his younger days. He was used to sharing at daycare. But when he was at home, and it came to sharing his own personal stash of toys with a guest, he wasn’t always so generous.
On the flipside- he plays so incredibly well on his own.
3. I don’t know how parents of multiple kids do it- but we have one schedule of activities to keep track of. Birthday parties, Summer camps, sports activities, there are all kinds of events we have to keep track of on our schedule. And I’ll be the first to admit, we’ve let the random dentist appointment or early game slip through the cracks.
If we had 2 or more kids- I would probably lose my mind.
4. We only have one college tuition to save up for. Only one. And that’s huge. With the rising costs of a college education, a 4-year degree costs almost as much as a house. Or so it seems.
Having multiple kids would almost guarantee future student loan debt for them (or us).
5. Less money to spend on birthdays and Christmas presents.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some down sides to having only one child as well. We could call this the section on how we screwed ourselves over.
1. He has no one to play with at home. So, we are expected to be his source of entertainment. If I hear the phrase I’m bored one more time, I will probably scream.
2. He asks for a pet relentlessly.
3. He has no siblings to grow up with or create memories with.
4. He makes more requests for playdates.
5. He expects to be treated like an equal in the house. I’m not kidding. He requests to be involved in major decisions, and wants to be included in conversations about our work. He’s nine.
I know that having more than one kid can multiply the joy, and the potential number of future grandchildren. But despite the downsides, I’m still comfortable with our choice to only have one. It felt right for me when we were younger, and it still feels right for me now. I don’t think negatively of parents who have more than one. So why does everybody always assume that once you have one, another one will be on the way?
What are your thoughts? Is having only one child a good way to go? Or are you from the crowd that thinks all kids need a brother or sister? Let me know in the comments below.