What I’d Like For You To Know: The Mom Of an Only Child

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Welcome back to the What I’d Like For You To Know series, in which I’ve invited some women to share some common struggles, misconceptions and victories about their particular life circumstances (for the complete series, click here.)  Last time we heard from Jenni, a mom of twelve.  It seemed fitting today to hear from a mom of an only child.  And I knew the perfect person to ask.  The Queen B, the mom of a delightful ten-year-old daughter, happens to be one of my oldest friends.  She is a wise and witty mother, and I know you’ll enjoy hearing her perspective.

I am so honored that Shannon has asked me to tell you a little bit about being the mom of an only child. I’m also a little bit bewildered. I know of many other moms of only children that could express it much more eloquently.

Though I do have to say that being an only child who is the mother of an only child, I might have a certain expertise in all things only child.

Oh, I’m kidding. It just means my frame of reference is rather small.

And normal sibling fights really freak me out.

I didn’t plan on having just one child. After two miscarriages prior to the birth of our daughter, my husband and I both felt that we would never “plan” another pregnancy. We were so incredibly grateful for a healthy baby that we didn’t dare ask for more. Knowing, however, that God is bigger than our fears, we left it in His hands. And almost 11 years later, we have one child.

Without hesitation I can say that I feel as blessed today as I did on the day our daughter was born. I am so thankful for her.

I can also say that I have really enjoyed being an only child. My childhood was phenomenal. I had lots of friends and never felt lonely.

(Did you hear the collective sigh of relief from only child parents across the World Wide Web?)

Now let’s get to the good stuff.

We must get this out of the way: An only child gets more presents than multiple children.

It is just a fact. Even though less money is spent on toys and books and clothes, all of the goodie goes to one person.

An only child’s toy box is often the envy of her peers. And the cause of great frustration of her peers’ parents.

There are a few other facts that must be addressed…

Only children get more one-on-one time with their parents.

There are only three people in the house. It is unavoidable.

It costs less to go out to eat with one child. Groceries cost less. Pretty much everything costs less.

An only child will never have to share a room…or anything else for that matter.

It is just simple logic, not a ploy for world dominance. (Though I think we have all known a few only children that were, in fact, making a play for world dominance.)

Those are just the facts. They can’t be helped.

Well, maybe that present thing can be helped. We’ll work on that.

I think there are some generalizations about only children and their parents, however, which are not always true.

We are not all raising spoiled brats. We do not want our daughter to feel entitled to anything. She is taught to love her friends. She is taught that part of loving her friends is showing kindness to their siblings.

In fact, our daughter really enjoys her friends’ siblings–sometimes more than the friends themselves.

But that is quite possibly due to 10-year-old girl drama.

Raising a respectful and conscientious child is just as important to me as it is to you.

Another assumption is that an only child is the loneliest kid on the block.

Not true. Our daughter enjoys spending time with children, but she also enjoys spending time with adults. And though it may seem crazy in a few years, right now she enjoys spending time with her parents.

I suppose that could go back to the presents…

There seems to be a theory that parents of only children are completely selfish.  They had their token child for a tax deduction.  They wanted a child but didn’t really want their lives to be changed.

Honestly, this is probably the belief that frustrates me the most.  The majority of only child parents that I know have very serious reasons for having one child. 

Many struggled for years with infertility.  A few had traumatic pregnancies.  Perhaps they’ve been widowed.  Or abandoned.  Some waited years for a baby and another child just isn’t possible.

And I even know a few that carefully considered what their life might look like with more than one child and they just knew it was more than they could handle. 

It is not always their choice and to insinuate otherwise is cruel.

Now I am stepping off of my soapbox. 

I’d like to mention a few other thoughts for your consideration.

Parents are their only child’s primary source of entertainment.  You know how you can send your children outside to get out of your hair?

Not so much for us. 

Nor can we send them to play a board game, hide and seek or catch.

(Just ask my mom about my imaginary friend and I playing catch.  There may or may not have been a shattered glass door involved.  Kelly was much better at playing school.)

Raising one child is 24/7.  Just as raising multiple children is 24/7.  All parents have the same number of hours in their day.  We all make good choices and bad choices of how we use those hours.  I think it’s best that we all encourage one another—no matter the number of children.

Parents of only children constantly worry that their kid has been ripped off. 

I recently spoke with a mother of an only child who shared with me her guilt over having one child.  She was 40 when her daughter was born, and was not able to have other children.  I could tell that her guilt was a very present part of her life. 

I totally understand that feeling.  Even though I’m at peace with having just one child, I sometimes worry whether or not it is best for her.

My child will never have a sibling bond.  She will never know the joy of being protected by her big brother or the laughter of two sisters.  She’ll never learn the give and take of sibling negotiations.

And what in the world will she do if something happens to us?

Assuming it doesn’t, my daughter will have to deal with two wacked out parents someday. Adult only children get the pleasure of being the go-to for their parents. 

I know of which I speak on this one, people. (Love you, Mom.  I’m totally talking about Dad.)

(And Dad, if you are reading this, I’m totally talking about Mom.)

It is just a guess at this point, but caring for aging parents will not be a fun solo activity.

All of our family’s firsts are also our lasts.  My daughter’s first day of kindergarten was the last time we had a child going off to school.

My first child will go to college and I’ll be an empty nester. 

But I’m sure her roommate won’t mind my rollaway cot. 

And I’m excellent with laundry.

All of the hopes and dreams that parents have for their kids? 

I’ve got one shot. 

I’ve also got just one shot to get this parenting thing right.

Bless her heart.

I hesitate to mention this, but here’s another big one… I’m not sure how a parent of an only child survives the loss of that child.

As I was watching the Chapmans on Larry King Live, I heard Mrs. Chapman mention that she had to continue living for her other children.

My heart just drops when I hear things like that.

Actually, my reaction is usually, “Honey, we’ve got to make some babies!”

Oh, I kid. 

Believe me, I kid.

I absolutely believe that God knows the number of all of our days and he has designed each of our families. 

Even little families.

I think that moms of only children sometimes feel a little unworthy.   I think we often feel like half-parents.  Like our experience doesn’t have quite the value of other parents.

I hear these types of things a lot:

“Oh, she can’t relate.  She just has one.”

“Put her down for that job.  She’s just got one child at home.”

“Her house is always perfect because she just has one child.”

My all-time favorite…

“You wouldn’t understand what its like.”

That’s true.  I will never understand what it is like to have a house full of my own laughing children.

But I do have a house full of the laughter of my one precious child.

And that is enough for me.

To read more of The Queen B’s posts, click here. 

153 thoughts on “What I’d Like For You To Know: The Mom Of an Only Child

  1. TransitionGirl says:

    Doesn’t matter how many kids one has. Only thing that matters is to bring up that child or all the children to become God-fearing and faithful adults, having fun and enjoying them along the way.

  2. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    Well said Queen B!
    I have two children and many of my friends have 3 or 4. I have often felt these exact same things. And many days, I feel like less of a parent because I only have two. I guess we all have insecurities and guilt regardless of how many children we have.
    Beautiful post!

  3. Colleen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful post! We like to refer to our beautiful daughter as our one and only, but it was not by choice. We beat the odds when we had her and we forever grateful for that blessing. We laugh when we ask her “who is our favorite” because we can actually ask that question out loud. But my heart breaks when she tells me sadly that her friend at preschool told her that
    “she is not a sister” and I have to explain why she is not. I worry constantly about her being overindulged by loving grandparents who have no else to spread their pent up grandparent spoiling on (although thankfully a sister-in-law is finally going to change that in Feb!!!)
    Thank you for this post. When I read wonderful blogs such as Rocks in my Dryer, I also feel a sense of lacking since I face the same struggles to balance family and life, but how could I have any trouble with only one when Shannon does it with 4? Or all the other mommies do it with 3,4,5 or more??
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. mimi2six says:

    Spoken eloquently! As a fellow only child I think you painted the picture quite accurately. No matter how large the family is, there will be both blessings and challenges. There is no perfect family size, just as there is no perfect family. You guys are doing a wonderful job with your lovely princess!!

  5. JanMary, N Ireland says:

    This is a wonderful post which I am passing on to a friend right away. As the mum of 3 I know there are issues you have raised here which I am guilty of thinking.
    And thanks Shannon for this great series.

  6. Ruthie says:

    I can TOTALLY relate to this, being the mother of an only child, our six-year-old son. I am so tired of hearing “when are you gonna have another one?…he’ll soon be too old for you to WANT another one…” blah…blah…blah!! Maybe we only want one! Maybe we’re waiting for something else before we decide…Maybe it’s NONE of anyone’s business!! Honestly, my husband & I have discussed having another child, and it is not out of the question yet. But seriously, I feel that I’m just as good a mom as any other mom, whether they have one child, three children, or twelve children!! I have nothing against (in fact, I think it’s great) families with more than one child. But for now, it’s just the three of us, and I’m loving our little family and enjoying my life!!

  7. bree says:

    I am a mother of an only child. He is 7 years old and seems pretty confident in being just that. My husband and I wanted children very badly and it took us 3 years to conceive him. After he turned 4 we decided we wanted another. Well, God hasn’t given us the final approval on that yet, because Drew is still our precious one and only. We are now both ok with that too. He is very connected with other kids at church and school and is functioning just fine. I know of a couple who dwell on that fact of not having another child and seem to forget the precious one they have been blessed with. I am for the here and now. I thank God for my ‘one’ little boy. Thanks SOOOOO much for posting this. It was very delightful to read.
    bree
    http://www.fromtheheartofbree.blogspot.com

  8. Billie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am an only child and I have an only child. Having just my daughter was not my choice but things just didn’t work for us to have another. I love her more than anything and I love having special moments with her. The most heartbreaking moments are when she asks me why can’t I have another baby for her. She wants to be a big sister. How do you explain infertility and miscarriage to a 4,5,6 year old? I agree she is never lonely and at the age of 6 she has more friends then she knows what to do with. Thank you again for explaining some of the things I think all of the time. I am not less of a parent because I have just one child even though I often feel people think that.

  9. Amy says:

    I am a Mom of an only. He’ll be 7 in October. He IS a bit lonely now because we’ve moved several states away from all our family and friends. That aside, he is wonderful and funny and very well adjusted. He can play for hours all by himself.
    We tried for 6 years to have more children but it is not to be. I’ve since come to LOVE my little family.
    You are right about being their only source of entertainment. I used to envy my friend who could send her children up to play in the play room together while I had to be Optimus Prime yet again. As he’s gotten older, it’s gotten much better.
    I do sometimes feel like I’m not a “real” Mom because I don’t need a fancy planner to track our activities and who goes where. I’m seldom rushing around. However, that is really one of my favorite things about being a Mom to an only. We’re almost never late!

  10. Mary says:

    Wonderfully put! I’m an only raising an only ( 12yo boy) and I certainly don’t feel that he is truly missing out on anything. He has lots of friends through school and Boy Scouts. He has 7 younger cousins that he sees often and loves to spend time with. We have all the time we need to sit and talk or watch a movie or read a book.
    He loves going to his Aunt’s house where he has 4 cousins. He finds it entertaining. Kids are arguing, chasing each other, wrestling on the floor and basically just being kids while my boy stands back and watches and laughs. He was staying with them once when Aunt Lori decided to take all 5 kids out to eat. It was evidently chaotic getting everyone out the door and my boy made note of the fact. Aunt Lori assured him this wasn’t chaos, this was her life.
    He’s okay with being an only and so am I. It works for us.

  11. Nichole says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am a mother of one child and due to infertility probably will have no more. I have struggled for so long with my son being an only child but am working through it with lots of prayer! Your post blessed me greatly!

  12. Blessed says:

    Beautiful post – I’m the oldest of 4 raising an only (she’s only a year old but my husband says one is absolutely enough – I’d like 2, we’re still talking but I have a feeling I’ll be the one giving in) I can relate to this post – I was 10 before my next sister was born and now I’m a mom – oh and the what would I do if something happened to her question – I can’t even go there I start to panic just thinking about it.
    Thank you for a well written post and for affirmation that I really am a mom too.

  13. Joan says:

    Well said. It’s sad that there is so much judgement out there from moms to other moms on the choices we make. There needs to be more love and compassion in the world and less judgement.
    Peace and Love,

  14. Catherine says:

    Wonderful post! I too am an “only” born to “only” parents. We had very small family gatherings since our extended family was far away! I have been blessed with 2 but it has been a learning process for me. I automatically put my 2 girls in separate rooms because it never occured to me to share a room! They share now by their choice. I also could not understand why thet could not just leave each other alone! They are 16 months apart and constantly messing with each other. I have since been informed that this is the sibling way. I loved being the only one growing up. I never wished for a sibling. i got my parents all to myself. (and got all of the presents) Sadly though I am now facing the aging parent dilemma with illness and it is terrifying. I think now that I am 40 I am actually wishing for a sister or brother that could share the burden with me. I have a wonderful supportive husband but I still think it is not quite the same. I just turn it over to God on a daily basis. Thank you for speaking up for us onlys.

  15. Lynne - The Clarkin Family says:

    Very well shared! Thanks! I am an only child and I can relate to a lot of those thoughts. I also only have 1 child.(age 3.5) Although we would gladly welcome more in the future – right now it’s just one. My all time favorite comments are- “When is the next one coming?” or “Do you want more kids?” or “Where’s #2?” -Like I need to be told or reminded? At my job everyone has a least 2-4 kids, many one right after the next. I’m always being asked. Honestly, I love the fact that I’ve gotten to “really enjoy” every first w/ my little guy. Instead of having to juggle things between 2+ kids! Thanks again for supporting all the onlys!

  16. Julie says:

    I’m an only child, and I was even the only grand child on one side of my family. My grandma had had only boys so when I was born I got a present on the 8th of every month in honor of my birthday. Can you believe that?
    But my folks raised me to be considerate and kind and teachers were often surprised to learn I was an only child. I wasn’t lonely at all, in fact, I think it taught me how to entertain myself without needing anyone’s help.
    I stayed home from sixth grade on all summer alone and did housework–a huge preparation for my life now looking back.
    I will say there are two disadvantages, though, for ME:
    Because I had no cousins on one side of my family, I only have one surviving relative on that side (my dad), which DOES feel lonely now that I’m older. I spent all my holidays with a “bunch of old people” and it’s been hard watching them get sick.
    Second, I feel somewhat smothered sometimes by my mother so I would caution moms of only children to be aware of that tendency. When all the attention is focused on you, it can make you squirm. I’m pregnant now with my fourth baby and I like that some of the attention is deflected to my kids now and not on me.
    So I feel like I’m blessed to have experienced it both ways 🙂 and one is NOT better than the other. Being an only child has been a distinct disadvantage when it comes to noise level in the house (why can’t they just play quietly like I did???) and sibling squabbles (I never did stuff like that to anybody!!)
    Great, thought provoking post. Thanks.

  17. catnip says:

    Wow. You’ve hit every point so perfectly. As the mom of one boy, but one of seven children myself, I certainly know the ups and downs of both both kinds of families.
    I struggle with the fact that my boy might be alone someday. As I watch my parents grow older I know I will still have my siblings. He’ll have lots of cousins, but it’s just not the same.
    Thanks for writing this.

  18. April says:

    My feelings exactly….we have only one child and I can RELATE to each and every comment you made.
    I have linked this on my blog for the day in hopes that my readers will soak it up and perhaps see families with only one child in a different light…..
    Thanks for a wonderful little goodie this morning…
    have a happy day

  19. shellie says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I have only one child. It took us 8 years and he is a miracle!!! Yes, everything you said, I can relate. I get it all the time…”you don’t know what it is like or you JUST have one.” My heart is just singing this morning knowing that RIMD decided to post a mother of one child. I needed to hear it this morning. OH…the “half parent” comment, I totally get it!!!!
    You said it so beautifully!!! Thank you Thank you!!!! God has blessed me with your words today!!!!
    Oh wait my favorite that I get…”oh, you could only handle one huh dear.”
    CAN you tell I am overly excited about this post???? I am rambling…love y’all

  20. Slacker Mom says:

    Here in my little bubble of the blogosphere, we are raising an ‘only’ in a world with many siblings. It can be hard – and you’re right about the idea that our firsts are also our lasts.
    My mother was an only child – she tells me all the time that she was never lonely and had a well-rounded childhood. The only time it seems to bother my daughter is when someone says “Oh it must be lonely…” Comments like that are not welcomed in the pre-teen horrormone world where we find ourselves.
    In a nut shell, well said 🙂

  21. rrmama says:

    Great job Queen B! I am not an only child and I also have two boys. But I have several friends that have only one child. I also have friends with several children. I truly believe it’s all in how you raise them. Thank you to Shannon for hosting this fabulous series. It has been very insightful!

  22. Mrs Lemon says:

    I have to say, I have been that judgmental person to say behind my friend’s back, “that kid is a brat BECAUSE she is an only child”
    Until I became the stepmother of an only child. Then I swallowed my pride and asked that friend for parenting advice.
    Well said. Thank you!

  23. Kari says:

    I can relate some. my dad is an only, when it came to the “go to” time, the neighbor got the task…because neighbors don’t move away! I have two precious ones, close together…so my home and chaos levels does not come close to a dear friend with 6….there is a gap because of these differences…but I ADORE the family God has blessed us with!!

  24. Beth says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I was a mother of an only child for almost 12 years. After pretty much deciding the Lord was not going to give us more children, He blessed us with our son. So in some ways with the big age difference we have “serial only children”.
    Something the Lord had to teach me was to not only accept having one child, but to ENJOY having only one child. He finally brought me to the point where I truly preferred that state over what I had planned for my life.
    Homeschooling an only child is super fun, BTW. I am so thankful for those early years God gave me with my daughter to work intensively with her with no distractions.

  25. Jennifer @ Here I Stand says:

    Love this! Until very recently (like, June) we had an only daughter (she’s 6). Ours is also a tale of infertility and years of “trying”. She is our miracle child. And, after 6 years and two (more) miscarriages, we have a second miracle daughter. Both were born premature; both births were life-threatening to me.
    The worst thing was fielding those “are you going to have another child?” questions. Because the circumstances around childbearing were/are painful–and private. The asker of the question doesn’t REALLY want to know the whole sad saga (because those who know us well already know the story, so the question is asked by relative strangers). I promised myself that I would never ask anyone such questions just to make conversation. Even if I was really curious…and given our experience, I usually am.
    Oh, and the best point you made? That the parents are the playmates of an only child. My daughter is highly extroverted, and I…am not. It has been quite a challenge to meet her social needs. (Oh, I so tired of being the wicked stepmother to her princess…every day, over and over.) Playdates are fun for all kids, but they are CRITICAL for only children.

  26. Renee says:

    Queen B,
    That was wonderful and beautiful. Thank you for sharing!!
    Shannon,
    Do you know any married couples who doesn’t (and won’t ever) have any children. I know it’s a very tender subject, but if someone would write about how they struggle and deal with that, it would really help out someone very close to me.
    Thanks!
    Renee@rightfootforward.wordpress.com

  27. Amy says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post.
    I, too, am the parent of an only child… a seven year old son. I can relate to everything that you said.
    It is nice to be reminded that there are so many other families like mine.

  28. Carrie says:

    I have to agree with Julie that being an only with no cousins nearby makes for very boring holidays 😉 Growing up I hated being an only although I didn’t care for the other children much either…they always destroyed my things. I wanted a sibling because I *thought* siblings would be like me…however, as a mom of 3…wow was I wrong…they destroy each other things 😉
    Wonderfully written, and I don’t believe that she picked the wrong person to write this!!

  29. Addie says:

    Thanks Queen B! You’ve given me a lot to think about. And if it every gets to be too much taking care of your parents, just tell them to call Kelly for a change. I hear she owes them for that glass door!
    Great series Shannon!

  30. PajamaMama says:

    wow. thanks for the personal perspective. as a mom of more than one…and in the process of adopting..i have to admit, I just didn’t and still really don’t understand couples with one child. i want to be sensitive, but probably have some misconceptions in my mind. thanks for your honesty and openness.
    -kristen

  31. Heather says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I too was blessed with only one child – my kiddo is fun and amazing and all boy and 6 yrs old and just so cool – despite the fact that it was not “the plan”. I can related to EVERYTHING you said. Thank you for putting it all out there – this is a post I’ll be passing along to others for sure.

  32. Melanie D says:

    Thank you for saying those things that everyone thinks that just need to be said! My husband is an only child, we have 5 children. I have had to deal with not assuming my mother in law doesn’t understand my “plight” because she “only” had one. His parents raised a wonderful son and he is a wonderful father to his children. Proof it works either way!
    I think you summed it up with the line about God ordaining all of our days and all of our families. Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom. We should all be more compassionate and supportive of each other, and careful with our careless words!!

  33. Kara @ Me-Moddy says:

    Loved everything about this post. I have been a parent of one child for 3 years and due to infertility and difficulty in adopting, I wasn’t sure if or when our daughter would have any siblings. I started picturing her life as an only child and felt that “half-a-parent” thing when I looked at my other friends who had 3 and 4 kids. It made me feel small and like I wasn’t really mothering, but that I just had a side-kick that was little or no work to me throughout the day compared to their situation. I am, in fact, adopting again very soon and will become a parent to two, but I will never miss being a parent to one precious and amazing child. She is more than enough and I’m still a mom – no matter how big the brood! Thanks for sharing this so well!

  34. A&EMom says:

    When we had one, I didn’t want another. Then I started thinking I was ruining her life and had all these romantic dreams of sisters holding hands through life. Now she has a sister and I think I’ve ruined her life.
    Mommy Guilt, you just can’t win!
    (Note: The parents in this drama are thrilled with the little one. She’s been a huge blessing to us, if not her sister!)

  35. Brianna says:

    Overall this was a great post. Being an only child, I WOULD like to add that NOT all parents give only children more gifts than parents with multiple kids. Or eat out more. My mom and dad actually purposely tried not to indulge me in those ways. We hardly EVER ate out. Also, they WOULD send me outside to play, and I would have to entertain myself (not be entertained by them.) I’m very grateful I wasn’t raised as a stereotypical only child.
    I wasn’t lonely growing up at all, nor did I wish for siblings. Though as an adult I wish I had siblings, people who shared my history and who would be here when my parents are gone someday. But I love our little family and have a very close relationship with my parents, so it’s good.

  36. Wheezer says:

    Well said…
    I can totally relate to every part of your post. The guilt, the questions, the worry are all part of my daily thoughts. Then, I see my well adjusted, bright, thoughtful, mature 10 year-old only and I know that I have done the best job I could and our decision makes total sense.
    Thanks!

  37. Sara says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I feel like I’ve been thumped in the head, but I needed it. I also think I need to apologize to some people….

  38. Julie says:

    What a beautiful post. I have two children and have thought some of those exact things. . . but your post put it all into perspective and brought tears to my eyes. Wonderfully written. Thank you.

  39. kelly says:

    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.
    i am an only child and i have put to rest far too many comments of “well, you must be spoiled rotten and get everything you want!”. not true in my house — yes, i was very well taken care of and yes Christmas gifts were all about me. but, i was taught the value of money, time, and respect. i earned many things that i received. and was brought up very well, i believe. [oops, was that my snotty only child syndrome coming out in that last comment… ;)]

  40. LeeAnn (AKA Frazzmom) says:

    My husband and I are both only children who now are raising three kids… Basically the whole sibling thing is a mystery to us, we spend a lot of time saying things like, “That’s normal right? Siblings do that?!!”
    Fortunately, our kids all get along well and seem to be turning out OK in spite of our ineptitutde! And for the record- I loved being an only child and turned out (almost) completely normal and well-adjusted 😉

  41. Nicole says:

    Thank you for this. I am an only child who lives with an only child. One thing that always frustrated me was the question, “What’s it like being an only child?”
    Well, duh. How detailed about my life do you want me to get? Isn’t that what blogs are for?
    I finally started responding, “Why don’t you tell me what your life is like with siblings, then we’ll talk.”
    And the thing about no sibling bond – does it matter if they’ve never known anything else?

  42. Nicole says:

    Great post! I love this series!!
    I have to say: as a mom of more than 1 I don’t know what I’d do if I lost a kid either, and all my hopes ride an each of my kids too. It’s not like by having more than one one of them became a throwaway. Every child is precious and I don’t think onlies are more precious than kids with siblings.

  43. Kim says:

    Wonderfully written. My 7 y/o daughter is an only child until her step sister and brother come every other weekend. This schedule just recently changed from every two days to just two weekends a month. I was worried that she would be so lonely but she seems to be adjusting and I know I have loved having her all to myself.
    What I really struggle with is what you expressed, how will I survive if I lose my only child? I truly do not know if I could but I don’t talk about it because it upsets my husband.
    Thank you!

  44. Tonyia says:

    Oh, Wow! Thank you so much. As the mother of a ten-year old girl (who is as yet our only child- not by choice), I can absolutely relate. Thank you for stating so simply what I often find myself unable to. Thank you for being a parent to an only-child and understanding the fears that are involved. Just, thank you.

  45. Katrina (Callapidder Days) says:

    Wonderful post, Queen B! We had an only for 7.5 years, primarily because of the postpartum depression I went through after #1. I got so tired of the comments from others, and I learned never to judge family size. And all the points you make are right on.

  46. lynn says:

    Thank you for this post. It was very enlightening to me. There are joys and challenges in any family – no matter the number of children – they are just perhaps different joys and challenges.
    Blessings!

  47. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    One of my close friends had her one and only child at the age of 46. She has said many times that raising a singleton is often more difficult than raising multiples because the only child has no “built-in” friends. And when I think back to the days when I only had one and she wanted me to everything with her, I know that’s true.
    So the notion that one child is less work? Thanks to her, I’ve never bought in to that.
    Great post, B, as always.
    (Oh! Wait! I was your imaginary friend?!? I feel so COOL!)

  48. AF says:

    I’m an only child, and never really thought about any comments or sideways glances my parents may have received. Maybe they didn’t? A lot of my childhood friends were from two children households, so it wasn’t that different.
    My mom is from a family of 16, so she surely knows what raising more than one child is like. Afterall, she helped raise some of her younger siblings. That’s probably part of the reason she only had one! LOL
    I think there’s a trend coming back in America to have more children…like another baby boom. It’s almost like a each generation rebels against the previous generation. Like mom had lots of siblings, so she had one child. Guess that means I’m in for a whole lotta kids!
    I loved being an only child, and while I don’t understand sibling bond I most certainly understand the love of a family.

  49. Kristin says:

    Not having children brings on stares and judgment. My husband and I are viewed as too self involved to have children. We certainly don’t have any problems or aren’t busy because we don’t have kids.
    Isn’t it amazing the judgments that are made about anyone who is different than we are. I’m sure I’m just as guilty, in fact I know I am.
    Thank You Queen B for allowing some of the “facts” come out about what it’s like to have just one child. As always you presented it with truth and humor.
    Have a great day!
    Kristin

  50. chickadee@afamiliarpath says:

    well said.
    i have several friends who have just one child and my kids often comment about their toys or how their parents play with that child. it makes me feel kind of bad but then i remember that they can’t say what i do, “go play with your sister. that’s why i had her.” 🙂

  51. Lisa@take90west says:

    A mom is a mom, no matter if she has 1 kid or 10, period. You are a great mother and you should never let anybody make you feel inferior or like your time isn’t as precious as theirs, just because you only have one child.
    This was such a great post, great pick Shannon!

  52. Florinda says:

    Fantastic post!
    I was mother to an “only” for 22 years (and then my stepchildren came along, so now I have three), and it actually WAS the plan. I’m one of the people you mentioned who “carefully considered what their life might look like with more than one child and they just knew it was more than they could handle.” That “only” was actually pretty happy with the way things turned out for him – and so am I.
    During those years, I’ve thought a lot about many of the things you mentioned here – thanks for speaking so well on behalf of us “only” moms!

  53. Haley says:

    Like someone earlier in the comments, I am an only child and only grandchild on one side of my family. I, too, have heard “I bet you got everything you wanted when you were little!” Um…Am I riding in Cinderella’s coach on my way to my castle? No. Therefore we must assume I did NOT get everything I wanted. 😉
    I was HORRIBLE at entertaining myself and we lived way out in the country(my poor mother!) but luckily had a (real live)best friend at a very early age.
    I also agree that aging parents are scary.
    My daughter is a semi-only. She has a step-sister who is 6yrs older that she sees every other weekend. I guess that’s a little like the best of both worlds for her?

  54. Diane says:

    Queen B I can totally relate I have one daughter who is also 10. I will be checking out your blog. I have tried to have more but after 9 miscarriages I felt my body was trying to tell me it is not gone to happen.
    Your article really touched me and many things I only thought of you eloquently expressed. I never thought of my first is my lasts too.
    Wow!!!!!! I have always worried what if anything happens. It almost did in Jk but I wont go there. She is healthy now !!!!!
    thanks so much for your article
    Diane

  55. lovedandamazed says:

    Thank you for sharing. As someone who grew up in a very large family (13 kids) and LOVED it, I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to only be blessed with a small family myself. With my positive experience I would prefer to raise a houseful, but God knows what is best and gives grace no matter what the situation. Even my current situation of being unmarried. 🙂 I appreciate your testimony!

  56. Nate's Mom says:

    Thanks for this great post! I am an only, and mom to an only, and you captured “our” situation so very well. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Nate’s Mom

  57. camila says:

    For a different point of view, I had a terrible first (and only!) pregnancy. I wouldn’t like to that again, but my husband is not yet 100% on board with the idea of adopting. I’ve found myself thinking that if we don’t have another child our daughter will grow up to be a brat, so it’s easier to just have another one… I know I’m terribly, terrbily, wrong, but I can’t help what pops into my head…

  58. jan says:

    At 57 I am an only child and the daughter of a dad who was also an only child. I can totally relate to what you have said from an “old only child’s” perspective. I was never lonely, always loved greatly, and knew how special I was. My dad did so much with me, possibly because he had been in the same position as a child. My parents’ decision to have only one was not medical, but simply because they wanted a little girl, got one, and life was perfect! The only downside to my “only” position is that now I have the duty and privilege of being the only to take care of my widowed mother. Her health is okay, but she becomes more feeble by the day. There are days I have wished for “Aunt Judy”, my imaginary sister, to help out, but I would otherwise not change anything in my life as the “only one.”

  59. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    Oh, thank you so much for writing about this! I had tears by the time I got to the end of your post. You have spoken so well for parents of only children. Everything was right on!
    I have an only son who just turned 9 – he is so precious to me. We hoped to have more, but have had 3 miscarriages. We feel that this is the family that the Lord planned for us, so we are content.
    I posted about it on my blog in an article called Just One Son…
    http://stopnsmellthechocolates.blogspot.com/2008/06/just-one-son.html
    I look forward to reading your blog!
    Lisa

  60. angela says:

    Not sure if anyone will read through these comments, but I am compelled to reply.
    I was raised an only child. My parents were married at 17 and I was the product of their love nearly 2 years later. I had a “normal” family until I was about 9 years old. Then there was a divorce and I was with my mom. Suddenly dad had a new wife and a new baby. There were some visitations, but they ended when he thought it would be best to just move forward with his new family.
    Mom and I were fine. She did as much for me as possible. Yes, I did get spoiled a lot – mostly because I was the first grandchild for at least 1 side of the family (mom’s). Mom was also a toy department manager at a retail store, so she got to bring home the displays and she got discounts.
    So, while I was technically an only child until I was 9 – but I was raised an only child and didn’t have any interaction with my sisters until I was in my 20’s.
    Yes, I got all my mom and dad’s attention those first 9 years, and then I had all my mom’s attention. I had all of my grandparent’s attention on my mom’s side until I was about 8 years old. I had much of my paternal grandparent’s attention since my cousins weren’t around much.
    I had plenty of friends too. My 6th birthday party was attended by my entire kindergarten class! I was very close with 2 sisters who lived 2 doors down from me. One was younger and one was older and they were like sisters to me.
    I was the envy of my friends, since they all had brothers and sisters that they had to share everything with. I had the toy heaven to them. I had the summer time hang out too – a pool.
    No, we weren’t rich. Yes, I did get spoiled – but no I didn’t expect or demand anything.
    As proof of that, my Spanish teacher in high school was taking a trip to Europe the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years. I DESPERATELY wanted to go, but mom said she couldn’t afford it. The teacher said she’d probably be taking another trip in a couple of years. I started babysitting and working the day I turned 16 and saving all my money. (literally, I started working at a summer day camp). During my junior year of high school, the same Spanish teacher announced the next trip would be between my junior and senior year. I ran home with the parental consent and my bank book. I said, “HERE is the form you need to sign and HERE is the money I’m using to pay for it, I’m going to Europe!”
    Now that I am 27, I still get spoiled by my mom. I have 2 half-sisters on my dad’s side thanks to his 2nd marriage. I also have a step-brother and step-sister thanks to my mom’s 3rd marriage.
    I have a very diverse, expanding, confusing family but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  61. Louise says:

    My daughter was born amidst a baby boom at church. At a mom’s brunch one afternoon, all the other new moms were talking about when they were going to have their next one. Finally one looked at me and asked when we were going to start trying again. I politely said we weren’t ready yet, but inside I was thinking: “Are you nuts? I was miserable for nine months, spent 20 hours in labor, and now have a colicky six-week-old, and you’re asking about MORE?”
    I still am not ready to think about more–unless it is through adoption. In about ten years. My husband wants to go to seminary soon, and I can’t imagine trying to support his schooling while raising any more than one child. Those other moms still smugly assure me that I’ll change my mind soon, but … we’ll see.
    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s okay for Christians to have one alone!
    (Oh–and siblings don’t always guarantee a built-in playmate, either. My sister and I are only three years apart, but we’re so different that the only thing we ever managed to play together was paper dolls. The rest of the time, we went our separate ways. We’re great friends now, but when we were kids … two completely different personalities.)

  62. Jess says:

    I have said many times that even though only children will someday bear the burden of caring for aging parents and/or family crises alone- their personalities are generally very uniquely equipped for this task. You very much learn to rely on yourself. When you have always had to make decisions for yourself, you learn to accept the consequences of them and make the best of it. There is no one else to take the blame (or the credit!)
    You get the full force of your parents. Both bad and good. So you are not going to wither away when the tough times come.
    Also, when you have to face those hard times, while it may seem sad that you have no one to help you with the big decisions- you also have no one to disagree with you. And who doesn’t want that 😉

  63. What About Mom says:

    Thanks for addressing some real issues here.
    I think it’s important for all of us who get pregnant from a hot look from the Hubs to remember that, even if it worked once for people, it might just not be in God’s plan for them to have more. And God probably knows what He’s doing.
    Probably you’re stuck (or can be) with guilt no matter how you parent — Only’s get no siblings, Many’s get less parent-time. Facts of life. But life can be beautiful if we make it so.

  64. Coralie says:

    It took 12 years and 2 miscarriages before we, too, were blessed to become parents. Now our daughter is a year old, a lot of people want to know when we’ll have another. My standard answer is: “It took us 12 years to get this one, we’ll see what the Lord does in the next 12.”
    Thanks for including this in the series.

  65. Melody from ~Pennies in my Pocket~ says:

    T H A N K Y O U ! ! !
    It took my husband and I 9 years to conceive our beautiful baby girl. She was born 9 weeks early and spent 7 grueling weeks in the NICU. That experience left a lot of fear in my about trying for another one. She’s now 15 months old and we’re getting questioned left and right, ‘Is your girl going to be a big sister any time soon???’
    Well, I don’t know the answer to that. Parts of me can’t even fathom getting pregnant again and possibly going through what we did and then other parts of me are guilted into believing we ‘have’ to have another one for our daughter’s sake.
    Your post helped calm so many fears. I do know that our family’s future IS in the Lord’s hands so who am I to believe my ‘plans’ will come in to play, heck, I don’t even know what ‘my plans’ are at this point. I just need to relax, give the Lord these fears and the guilt and enjoy our daughter.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You don’t know how needed this post was! Lord bless you and your family. 🙂
    ~melody~

  66. Heather says:

    My sister has a beautiful two year old daughter and doesn’t want to have another child because of health issues she developed after her pregnancy- people are constantly questioning her about when she will have another child and why wouldn’t she want one. It’s a personal choice to have one just as much as its a personal choice to have 12

  67. Ewokgirl says:

    Lovely, well-written post. I’m really enjoying this series. Hearing from different moms just shows how much we’re all judged for the choices or circumstances of our lives. I have no children, and I’ve been judged harshly at times for that. All we can do is our own personal best with the lives that God has given us, which often means drowning out the negative comments from people who will never understand our own circumstances.

  68. Ewokgirl says:

    Lovely, well-written post. I’m really enjoying this series. Hearing from different moms just shows how much we’re all judged for the choices or circumstances of our lives. I have no children, and I’ve been judged harshly at times for that. All we can do is our own personal best with the lives that God has given us, which often means drowning out the negative comments from people who will never understand our own circumstances.

  69. Daneen says:

    I had an “only” for 5 1/2 years until adopting our 2nd in March. I LOVED this post and can relate to all of it.
    Thanks, Shannon, for this series. It’s been eye-opening and, today, life-affirming.

  70. Natalie @ I AM (not) says:

    Well said. I’m on my third child but she is 8 years younger than her sister and almost 10 from the oldest. I feel like I’m doing this all over again and will have one kiddo in a about 7 or 8 years. Until, then I’ll be praying for when we become parents of one. Thanks for your words.

  71. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Wow- this was absolutely wonderful. I am about to have four children, but you really spoke to me and I totally get where you are coming from. I can’t believe some of the things people might say, because no matter if you have one or five, you are no less and no more a Mom than any other Mother.
    Steph

  72. Ann'Re says:

    I’m the mom of one and I so appreciate the post. All growing up I wanted a big, big family…it wasn’t meant to be…but I’m blessed big, big by my precious son. 🙂

  73. Lauren says:

    Thank you for this post!! I am an only child and grew up hearing “you’re an only child but you’re not a spoiled brat!” Yes, I’m spoiled. I never got everything I wanted (though I did think my mom could write a check and money would magically be in her account until she told me otherwise) and my mom made it clear that she was the mother and I was the daughter.
    I also liked hearing the mother’s perspective on this. My mom would have loved to have more children, but my parents weren’t able to after having me. She would have been a wonderful mother of multiple children, but she is a wonderful mother to just one. I especially loved it when she would fly across the country to visit me at college and then clean my room and do my laundry. This post really made me appreciate my mom and everything she did for me.

  74. Faerylandmom says:

    I have to admit, that with four children, there have been a few times where I wish I had only had one!!! Not seriously, of course, but still.
    I have to confess that some of these misconceptions have had a place in my mind – until I had my own kids. At which time I learned this:
    A mom is a mom is a mom is a mom. Doesn’t matter how many kids you have.
    Thank you for such a gracious, enlightening post!

  75. The Roost says:

    Excellent post. Very will said and you made me think about only children in a totally different way!! I stand guilty of many of the things you spoke about…..I will be changing that now though :0)
    My best friend, who is an only child ask me to sit with her today at her mothers funeral. It was one of the biggest honors I have ever had. Sometimes those friends can be closer than a biological sister any day.
    Thank you for taking the time to think through this so well & funny!

  76. harper says:

    I am an only, and this article struck home. As it happens, I was somewhat lonely as a child, but more because I’m a geek, so the other kids around didn’t like me. At the same time I was blessed with a SAHM and a father who worked from home, so I had far more time with my parents than most of my peers. My parents got to influence me with their interests and tastes in ways that most parents don’t, and they got to skip out on “teen rebellion” nightmares for their effort.
    My only regret, and the reason I hope to have multiple children, is that I also married an only, so our children won’t have any aunts or uncles (I have 7). And that seems really weird to me. So I kind of feel bound to make sure my grandkids do have an extended family, since my children can’t.

  77. Carrie says:

    You brought up a lot of good points. I was one of six kids, and loved it. I also have a good friend who was an only child, and she loved that.
    I don’t believe parental guilt over having one child is productive. There is no reason for the guilt. If parents choose to have one child, that is their business,and no one else’s. And, if they have one child because of infertility, once again, it is no one’s business but their own. I am always amazed at the way total strangers feel as if they have to comment on what a parent should or shouldn’t be doing regarding family size.
    As a teacher, I have seen many kids, both ones with siblings and ones without. They all turn out just fine.

  78. Amy says:

    I had the best of both worlds – tons of half/step brothers and sisters but raised as an only child. I LOVED being an only child 🙂 You have spoken for us so beautifully – I just wanted to thank you 🙂 No, we’re not all spoiled brats. Amen sister!

  79. cheri says:

    Thank you so much for this. It was ALL what I needed to hear today, knowing I’m not alone raising an “only child” for now. Our son will be 13 when we, God willing, bring home our daughter from China.

  80. Lizzie says:

    Thank you for sharing this. We have an only right now. I’m not sure if God will bless us with more.
    We’ve had extenuating circumstances that have prevented conception;).
    I appreciate your sharing the things people say that hurt.
    I get the “Oh you do such fun things in homeschool because you only have one.”
    Or that I’m not a “real” homeschooler because I only have one.
    Stuff like that is just not helpful is it?

  81. rebekah says:

    We have just had a child. our first. our only? it’s in discussion but the chances are she is our only. I’m savoring every sweet moment, every laugh, cry, shoulder snooze, and even laughing at every explosive poop, knowing it may not ever happen again.
    My husband is an only child, and like you, had a great childhood. The thing about taking care of aging parents is that we HOPE she will find herself in a living relationship one day where she will have a spouse to help her. so while she is “alone” she’s not really alone.
    We have chosen this, not because of fertility problems, but becuase we are thinking of hte kind of life we want her to have, and the kind of lives we choose to lead. we are simple people, in that we don’t wear fancy clothes (gap and old navy are for us) our home is “decorated” from ikea , and it is quite small. We realyl enjoy traveling and want our daughter to grow up seeing the world, and we know having more children would make the costs skyrocket, and in turn, reduce the opportunites we could provide for her. I think I’m about to make a post about this on my blog…

  82. Christina Z says:

    I once heard that you are not a true parent until you have 3 kids because then they outnumber the parents. As the oldest of 5 I kinda agreed with it mostly because I LOVED being from a (semi) big family. Now my husband and I have one precious 3 year old daughter (and may not have more because of health) and that statement comes back to haunt me all the time. So does the possibility of losing her (like Steven Curtis Chapman’s precious daughter’s death) But Queen definitely said it right that God has our days numbered. Thank you

  83. Kim says:

    If I had a dollar for everytime I got “the look” from other mothers when I say we are a “one and done” family, my 7-year old son’s college education would already be paid for!
    Our son is happy as a clam with his family size. When we ask if he would like to have a brother or a sister he looks at us like we are from Mars! He loves his life – and we do too. I don’t have an infertility story to tell. We just made a decision that was right for us and haven’t looked back since.
    Besides having siblings doesn’t guarantee anything. I know many brothers and sisters who have nothing in common and as a result, aren’t close as adults. We are doing our best to raise him as a respectful, fair, and emphathic young man. That’s the best anyone can do, so please leave the judgement and assumptions at home.

  84. Untypically Jia says:

    Wow. I can’t believe people say things like that to you! I was technically an only child growing up, and so sometimes I don’t really understand when my husband and his brother have little fights, but I guess I never will.
    Thanks for the insight on how it’s like as a parent!

  85. Mississippi Mama says:

    I’m an only child and grew up loving it. I don’t get the “lonely only” label. I was never lonely! Right now I have one son and I know I will be happy if he’s my only child. I don’t have room in my heart for another one yet, anyway!

  86. Nancy says:

    I have to say when I read this was going to be a post about the mother of an only child I thought “boring”….and I’m ashamed. It was beautiful and my eyes have been opened. Thank you for sharing your precious thoughts. I’ll never look at a family with one child the same again. Thank you.

  87. Anna says:

    This totally hit home for me! I have only one child, an 8-year-old girl. While I still might have another child someday (let’s hope!) this hit me in my heart…every single word of it.

  88. Inkspot Workshop says:

    I too am an oly child the mother of a 2.5 year old ball of energy. We would like a 2nd child, but only because I am an only child, but honestly I’m not sure what I’d do with another one;) My childhood too was fun and I credit being an only child for my vivid imagination and artsy side. In the cold of winter, I could not go outside and play with my friends so I became a master at playing board games, alone. I was all 4 players and it was great. Perhaps that also helped me to multi-task or contributed to my Type A personalities:))

  89. MegnTally@Lonesome Pine says:

    Great post, B. We were only able to have one child…God’s choice. We waited nearly 10 yrs for her!
    My now 16 yo only is a wonderful, articulate young lady. We had a foster-dd 2 years her senior for 3 years…so our dd has seen both sides of things–sharing a bedroom, having someone to talk to (or NOT!), sharing her parents and limited $. Those 3 years were great for teaching her a few hard cold facts of life. But now that we’re back to one child, she’s enjoying the peace of no-drama days.
    I worry for her in the aging-parent process as I watch my dear SIL (only child) dealing with this. We’ll just have to do some extra planning to assist her as we age.
    As a homeschooler, I suffered the “you’re not a ‘real’ parent until you have more than one” comments. Folks don’t really mean to be ugly, they just don’t think. A lesson that has reminded ME to think before I speak!

  90. Kathy says:

    Just another reminder that God gives us the grace sufficient for the children we have. I have the grace for 10 children and this woman has the grace for 1, Shannon has the grace for 4, etc.

  91. Rebecca says:

    My husband is 21 years older than I am, closer to my parent’s ages than to mine. (I’m 33. My husband is 54. My parents are both in their early 60s.)
    I sometimes say that I’ll visit my husband and my parents at the same nursing home. I’m only half kidding. It is entirely possible I could be in that situation.
    (SOB!)
    I’ll take care of my husband when he gets old. Who will take care of me? (SOB!) We don’t plan on having any kids.
    Should I not have married the perfect person for me simply because he was so much older than I? Should we have kids JUST because he’s so much older than I am, and it’s likely he’ll make me a young widow, and who will take care of me?
    But if we have kids, what if something happens to him while the kid(s) are still young? What if something happens to me when the kid(s) are still young? Even if we had a baby today, my husband would be in his 70s before the “baby” graduated from high school.
    Our age difference isn’t the main reason we’re not having kids, but it is a factor.

  92. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE QUEEN B!!! I’m so glad you had her on your site! I’m 10 weeks pregnant with my first child. While I do hope to have more, you are completely right that God plans even small families. That is something to always keep in mind. Thanks B!

  93. Becki says:

    Amen and Amen! I could have written this post based on our family, but certainly not as eloquently.:) Thank you so very much for posting this!

  94. Moon HalloranLeady says:

    wow what a great post. I am an only child born in the 60’s and the only child of a divorced mom — very odd for then. And the kicker is that I was also the only grandchild for the most part as my cousins didn’t live anywhere near us. While I don’t have just one child (I have two), I get what you say about worrying that your kid will be lonely. And I also just have trouble understanding sibling issues and I refer to their dad for that…we are divorced…and my fiance, who is the youngest of three.
    One thing I can say is I definitely was NOT lonely! I had friends galore and I made my own fun. I think it made me who I am today. Even now in my 40’s I get overwhelmed by too much interaction, even though I am a social person. I need my quiet time. I think parents get too worried about “socialization” ::shudders:: Honestly that happens no matter what.
    And you are right about only kids gettin’ all the stuff and being the envy of all their friends. I remember one Christmas when I got a TON of stuff (and srsly I was always really modest about it)…and I would call up my friends….on my OWN phone line, mind you…and ask what they got and they would say oh I got a sweater and a record…and I would be too embarrassed to say that I got 10 records, and 7 sweaters, and my own stereo and OH BTW a computer!!! (which was unheard of in 1980)..and yadda….
    I also got to travel all around Europe with my grandparents, which made for WONDERFUL memories and if I had had siblings I don’t think that would have happened.
    So yeah. I am glad to be an “only.” 🙂

  95. Stephanie says:

    I am the mom of an only child, though that wasn’t what we’d planned. DH had a catastrophic illness when DD was only 14 months old, and it became clear that there would be no more children and I would have to be the main breadwinner. To have more babies would mean they’d be raised by a babysitter or in day care, since he would not be able to handle a newborn, and that DD would have far too many responsibilities at a very young age. As it was, DH was the stay-at-home parent, and DD never had to be a latchkey kid. That wouldn’t have been possible with more than one child.
    We’ve always said that God knew there would be only one, and that He made her mighty near perfect. Her closest friends have been around since elementary school, and they are closer than most siblings. She graduated magna cum laude from college, and from law school–with a little financial help from mom and dad. She can converse with anyone from 2 months to 102 years of age. She is confident, loved, loving, selfless and responsible, a nuturer of living things.
    But she is pretty sure she will never marry and have children, and that eliminates our chance to be grandparents–a disadvantage to having only one child. We must be satisfied to have grandpets instead.
    On the other hand, as well tease her, when we die, she doesn’t have to split “the inheritance”.

  96. The Writer Mama says:

    I thought that this was very cool. I also have one child and it’s been the right choice for us.
    Of course, don’t ever write a book with the word “Mama” in it if you have one child because people will say:
    “So how many children do you have?”
    Me: “One…and too many pets.”
    Them: (silence)
    It’s okay. You get pretty clear pretty quick that the name sticks no matter how many you have. 🙂

  97. Cheri says:

    I have two kids, but I think it is supremely rude for people to just assume (usually extremely loudly) that people have only children as a choice. Sometimes it isn’t and it’s not right for anyone to presume to know what’s what.

  98. Kisha says:

    As a mom of one I know the looks and words, lol.I know that I get jobs because I only have one but now that I volunter at a preschool I get my fix of having several children at one time, lol.

  99. Antique Mommy says:

    Agree with everything you so eloquently stated. You covered it all. As an older mother of an only child, I also worry about leaving Sean with so little family when we are gone – no sibs, very few cousins, most of whom are old enough to be his parents. He will have to make his own family at some point. But I leave it all to God whom I know has his eye on this boy of mine.

  100. Melissa Eason says:

    As a parent of an only child, let me say I completly agree with you. We too have one child, not by our choice, but His choice. We’ve been trying for 6 years now and I think God’d will is for us to have one.
    It’s funny we have friends that have 3 and 4 children and at times it seems our 1 is as much work as their 3 or 4! It has Blessed us far more than we could have ever imagined. I am content with one, until He thinks otherwise!

  101. Andrea says:

    Y’know…
    I just brought this up to DH the other night – “Honey, I think that I could be totally happy with just one child.” DH IMMEDIATELY looked at me as if I had just sprouted antennae, and started sputtering, “But…but…I thought you wanted 4!I’d like to have at least one more, don’t you?” I just shook my head no…maybe it is because we’re in the process of moving right now, and it is hard with a bouncy one year old, but man oh man…I’m pooped!
    I think that depending on your stage in life, and your family situation, that can color your thinking about having children. Our son, who we love dearly, was a surprise. We weren’t trying to have a baby, as I’m trying to finish my Masters’ degree. But the Lord had other plans, and it has worked for us. But it is amazing what a difference one year makes. A newborn was hard work; toddlerhood is no easier! I give the moms out there who have 3,4,5 or so that are close together in age a lot of credit – I feel like I’m going to go crazy some days with just one!
    I think also, that our family experiences have really molded DH and my thinking – I have one brother, almost 5 years younger than me. I might as well have been an only child. DH has 2 siblings – one full blood, one half-sister from his dad’s affair. DH has the same situation with his half sister – she’s 5 or 6 years younger than him, and she was at his dad and stepmom’s house all the time (DH and I have been together 5 years, and I can tick off on 2 hands how many times I’VE seen her in the past 5 years). DH and his brother lived with my MIL, and they’re only 3 years (roughly) apart. They also had step brothers and sisters from my stepfather in law as well, so DH had a total of 6 siblings. He likes kids, likes the big family thing. But I also think that he wants to have a bigger family to prove (to himself?) that we can be different than his Dad and what happened with him growing up.
    Either way, whether one has 1 child or 11, they’re the same amount of work, they’re still a blessing, and it is nobody’s business but your own and your husband’s how many you choose to have. I just change the topic pretty abruptly if someone asks – it is pretty obvious then that I don’t wish to discuss my uterus with them.
    It is all in how you raise ’em, as others have said.

  102. Dragonflygirl says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post as a Mother to an only daughter who is 7. I find it funny when I pick her up from a first playdate with a new friend and the parents tell me how polite and well behaved she was and they always sound so surprised! Like they totally expected her to be a spoiled brat. When other children act out or misbehave, I never think to myself that it must be because they are a second or third child. I loved when you said that you want a respectful child just like anyone else and I always say the same, that even if I had multiple children, my expectation for their behavior would be the same for all of them. I feel so blessed to have so many one on one moments with my daughter and we have a very close bond because of it. I have many personal reasons for not having more, yes, I would have loved to have had more, but I don’t ever ask people why they decided to have two or three children, so why do they feel the right to ask me why I have one? Thanks for bringing humour and insight into your post, it was much enjoyed.

  103. Scattered Mom says:

    Thanks for such a great post! As Mom of an only child, I could related to everything you wrote too. I’ve said the exact same things to people when they’ve commented on our vacations, Jake’s toys, or how much time we spend with him.
    His friends often find it a little strange that we spend so much time with him, and at times they seem just a bit jealous.

  104. erin says:

    wow. i am an only child with an only child. she is 18 months and i could have another but not sure if i want one. although, my mom is sick and her cancer is making me want to have another baby bc of exactly what you mentioned: what if something happens to me or her dad? i want her to have someone who understands. i would really like a brother or sister right now to share the pain of my moms cancer. anyway i also wanted to comment, i have one child and my house is NEVER clean!!

  105. Wickett says:

    I, too, was an only child, and had an AMAZING childhood that I wouldn’t change for anything–it was truly wonderful! Thank you so much for this lovely post that brought back some much-loved memories!

  106. mamatutwo says:

    What a great post. We have three. I love having three. I’d love to have four. But I often wonder what I did to my second, and what would I do to my third if we had another. For me, as I struggle back and forth with pros and cons and did I mess my kiddos up, I have to see the blessings that they have. Of course, there are drawbacks. I can’t just pick the great stuff out of live without having any of the negatives. It all goes together. I guess I have to tell myself more, “Bloom where you’re planted!” Thanks for the great post.

  107. Sally says:

    It seems that no matter how many children you have, people always seem to think they have the right to “judge” your decision or your circumstances without knowing all the facts of why you may only have one child, or why you may have 6 children….they think that one is not enough and more than 2 or 3 is “too many”…….people just need to learn when to keep their mouths shut, but unfortunately, I do not ever foresee that happening….

  108. Vikki says:

    We husband and I have only one child together, a wonderful 12yr old boy.
    Five years ago though, another wonderful boy came into our lives. My husband has a 10yr old son born to another woman. We have had this son week on, week off for 4yrs.
    I love him as if he were my own, because he is my husband’s son and my son’s brother.
    I think my son would say he gets the best of both worlds…he is an only child for a week, getting the undivided attention of his parents and then for a week he has a brother to play, wrestle and fight with.
    God ways are so mysteriously perfect.

  109. Jennifer, Snapshot says:

    You hit the nail on the head. My children are widely spaced — aged 10 and 4 — which has many of the perks of one child and the benefit of a sibling.
    We thought that my 10 year old might be an only child (by our choice), and so I questioned every only child I ever met about their upbringing.
    I hated it when people said, “Oh you can’t just have one! That would be a horrible thing for her!”
    Much like your experience, the only children I talked to were mostly happy with their experience. In theory, they wanted brothers or sisters, but in reality that had it pretty good.

  110. Tracey says:

    I am the mother of a beautiful 23 year old daughter. She is everything I ever wanted. Happy, healthy, fun and courageous. I had one child because I knew I could raise one child well. I could afford to give one child opportunities and experiences that I couldn’t have given two. I could let her be what she wanted to become because I could afford to send one child to the university of her choice. I could give one child the world and in turn I have given the world one incredible woman who will make the world a better place.

  111. Laura says:

    I have an only child; I am an only child; and my mother was an only child. Thank you so much for your post – it perfectly articulates what I feel so often!

  112. Barbara says:

    My 4 yo daughter has a 31 yo sister and 27 yo brother, so it is like she is an only child. Sometimes I do wish I had had another, but I think that is more for her than me! Family isn’t about just living in the same household, it’s about building a bond with each other. How many siblings do you know that won’t talk to each other for one reason or another? My husband’s brother and sister will never speak to each other again. Sure, they had each other growing up, 3 boys and 2 girls, but one boy has died and the others could care less to see each other, even on holidays. The next time they will all be together is when they attend their parent’s funeral.
    Also, there is no mention of adoption in any posts. There are so many children of all ages that need a home, wouldn’t an adopted child make a great sibling?

  113. Erin says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have written a post about having an only child on my blog in the past, but you said it much better. I have one child by choice, and my heart goes out to the women who had miscarriages and infertility problems.
    My choice is dictated by my life. When we would have been thinking about baby #2, Sept. 11th happened. My husband was deployed Oct. 11, and has since been deployed five more times. I made the conscious decision that one child was what I could handle, especially living with depression and anxiety.
    I’m sick of people telling me I need to have another child. I won’t even get into how pissy that makes me because I could write another million paragraphs.
    Thank you again for telling our story, the moms of singletons.
    P.S. We tell my son we didn’t have more kids because he was perfect and we didn’t want to risk having a bad kid. Not the best parenting, but we did luck out with what we think is a pretty cool kid.

  114. Sarah D with an One and Only says:

    Thank you SO much or this article! I am the mother of an only – not necessarily by choice at first but we fully embrace that it will be just the three of us.
    A lot of what Queen B said rings true to me!
    Thank you SO much for putting it out there for everyone to read! I often do feel like a “half parent” or left out because even though our only is 4 we will not be adding to our family (unless it’s a furry animal lol).
    Thank you so much!

  115. Stephanie says:

    Your post rang so true. I am an only child. My son is the only child of only children (his father and I are divorced). As much as I long for another child, that may never happen, and that scares me. I don’t want to be the only one to deal with my aging parents (even more enjoyable for me is the fact that they also are divorced- what happens if I have to take care of them both simultaneously? The logistics of that are nightmarish); I don’t want my son to be the only one to care for me or his dad when he’s older. I’d like for him to have the support of siblings when that time comes. I often feel that my mom’s infertility gave me the short end of the stick, and I don’t want to pass that onto my son. He has very little biological family. His dad plays peekaboo with his life- first you see him, now you don’t. What happens to my son when I’m gone? And if my mom passes on before her abusive husband, I get to deal with that mess, alone.
    It’s a scary thing to think about. Often, I try not to.

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