Almost immediately after my daughter Everly was born, it began. As soon as she popped out; after the obligatory “Oh, she’s so cute,” (she was) “Who do you think she looks like?” (me) and “Are you OKAY?!” (not really!) the inevitable question loomed large. I cringed in anticipation and pain from you know, a caesarian, hospital food and the indignity of needing assistance to use the toilet:
“When is the next one coming?”
Like all aspects of parenthood, everyone has an opinion. And usually it’s that you’re somehow wrong for wanting one child.
As of right now, almost all of the mums I know with kids Ev’s age are pregnant again. It seems like once your child is 1-2 years old it’s just assumed that you’re trying for the next.
“Why only one?”
Let me answer that question with a few of my own that I’ve been thinking about.
Why is it still socially unacceptable to want one child?
In Queensland alone, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, couples with an only child increased by over 15 percent between the years 2006 and 2015. So it’s not uncommon, and it’s actually becoming more common for couples to have one child.
Why did a GP say Everly needs a sibling to learn to share and interact with other children?
If I can’t teach my own child the importance of basic manners without another tiny human to help, what does that say about me as a parent?
Are only children selfish and bratty?
According to Lauren Sandler, “Only children test more favourably than ones with siblings on generosity and sociability; two traits with which they were thought to struggle. Also teachers found only children to have fewer ‘nervous symptoms’ than their sibling classmates.”
“Don’t you want someone for them to play with growing up?”
Everly has friends to play with. She has more friends than I do!
She has two loving parents who adore playing with her.
She can also play alone with her imagination. Everly plays with sticks/ face cloths/ pieces of paper. Sometimes she spends 12 minutes putting on her gumboots. She can sing the alphabet and count to ten (with a bit of help). She is not bored, believe me!
(If you’re not prepared to entertain a kid for 10 years + then you probably shouldn’t have had one, let alone have more than one.)
“But what about travelling? Two is perfect. You look after one and your partner looks after one!”
Umm NO. The perfect amount of kids for travelling is zero. Next best is one. You can take turns sleeping on the plane.
Another interesting fact that I’ve seen mentioned on my travels through life (and Instagram), is that many parents of multiple children say one thing not spoken about is the lack of time you have to support each child individually. One on one interaction is incredibly hard, if not impossible to do when you have 3 under 5.
Our thoughts on wanting one:
My husband and I have no immediate family in the same state/country. We have amazing friends who help, but it’s not the same as the unconditional support that grandparents seem to give. (I know that not everyone has supportive parents, but in my small world of interaction with mums, the vast majority do.)
Everly is a placid, happy, relatively easy kid. She’s almost two and is yet to have a full blown tantrum. So to be honest, I’m terrified that I’ve used up all my good luck with her.
I love giving her my undivided attention and it upsets me to think about halving that if we had another child. I know half the attention does not equal half the love, but for me, personally, I enjoy giving her my undivided.
I’ve never been overly maternal. I’m mother-ISH. I love routine, research, cooking, craft, playing with children, teaching, singing. But I’ve never felt the urge to have a big family. Until I met my partner I was quite certain that I didn’t want any kids.
Why do we even use the phrase “only” child? Talk about negative connotations.
We have ONE child. She is not “only” anything. She is one incredible, hilarious little person who is our entire world. She is wonderful, inquisitive, affectionate and kind. We don’t feel as though we are missing out as parents by having one child. We give her our entire, undivided attention (OK, yes, sometimes between scrolling Instagram or taking a great flat-lay photo, but you get the idea).
We are a family, and she is exactly what we wanted. We’re not missing out. We’re pretty close to perfect as far as I’m concerned. If you feel that way about your family, then however many children you have- that is the right choice for you.
For us, it was always “All About Everly.”
How many children do you have? Do you think there’s a ‘right’ number? Tell us in the comments section below.
This post originally appeared on All About Everly and has been republished her with full permission.