To The Mother Of An Only Child
I hope this post helps any mothers out there whose heart is where mine is currently. These are simply words coming out on paper, or a screen if you will, that have been stored in my heart for so long now. I'm strangely nervous to share something like this, yet hopeful and comforted by the thought of it at the same time.
This topic is something that has strongly been on my mind as our sweet little one rounds the corner to her fourth year, still the only tiny love in our life. I have debated this for a very, very long time but as Kbug grows older and the reality of her "only child" label continues on, it's something I feel called to share. Not just for myself, but for so many other mama's and families out there who are enjoying life with their only little one.
I want to break down the barriers of some common myths and misconceptions of life with an only child. Life is so full with one child or three. Life is even full without any children at all.
I know, for us personally we have joked along about having (or not having) another child but as part of this post and in the spirit of transparency, most of the time it is easier to joke then to share a genuine response.
Sometimes, we find ourselves answering questions we don't even know the answer to and pondering things that simply are meant to be pondered. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and I for one am trying my best to improve on just taking it one day at a time.
So dear momma, if you are the mother of an only child then you know these things that I am going to share to be true. If you don't know them to be true, then I hope this will help to shine some light on this area of your life as you consider what things will look like moving forward.
You are not less of a mom
First and foremost, if you have ever had a positive pregnancy test, you are a mom. Why does having one child versus having four children suddenly make you less of a mom? Sure, life is obviously different with one child versus four. The painful comment of "Oh, just wait until you have two" always lingers in the air a bit after it has been made.
Your child is not doomed to be selfish
Our little one is three and is at a point in her life right now where yes, her world does revolve around her. And yes, we are trying to improve on her sharing her toys.
And then I'm around other three year olds - three year olds with siblings and guess what? Their world revolves around them. And they struggle with sharing their toys.
My husband is an only child, and I have many friends who were raised an only child and I couldn't think of any more self-less people. Deep down, we're all a little selfish, it's a natural reactive state in life. Your child is not at risk for being selfish more than any other child in this world simply due to their lack of siblings. My child may be be a bit protective of her favorite stuffed brown horsey, but I have watched her heart and I have seen her love and I couldn't be more excited for this extremely selfless soul we are raising.
It's completely OK to soak in all the one on one time
You have a permanent opportunity for one-on-one time, soak it in momma. Soak it ALL in. You do not have to feel guilty about this beautiful relationship you are allowed to develop with your child. The VERY same relationship that you would also develop with a second child were you to have one.
Whatever the reason you have a family of three, you do not have to feel guilty for being able to provide your child with your undivided attention. The mother of one does not love her child any more than the mother of three and the mother of three does not love her three any less than the mother of one.
I am a sibling of three and I can honestly say I have never once, nope not even for a second, felt MORE or LESS loved by my mother (or father for that matter) in comparison to my two sisters. So make me a deal, no more guilt, got it? Just soak it ALL in..
You don't have to feel guilty and you are not being selfish
You are not ruining your child's life. You are not making them miss out on friends. You are not taking away their childhood. You have ZERO reason to feel guilty about having one child. You are a mother to a wonderful, special child and the furthest thing from selfish.
"But isn't is selfish to only have one child?" Since when? Since when has carrying a child for 9 months, enduring sleepless nights in the newborn stage, praying for patience in the toddler years, and future worry as they continue to gain independence and grow ever been a selfish act?
You can't guarantee a "built-in" best friend
I struggle with this one myself, as I spent a childhood lifetime making amazing memories with my two sisters and continue to have two wonderful friends, confidants, and advisors as an adult. My sisters are without a doubt best friends in my life.
However, I also witness sibling rivalries and broken relationships amongst families on a daily basis. Therefore, I am beyond blessed in the siblings category, but as a parent, I cannot promise my daughter a forever "best-friend."
Your child will not be weird
Ok, this one is kind of a joke and kind of not. There is this belief floating in the air somewhere, that only children may turn out to be a little "different." Lack of social skills? Not even close, my daughter can chat up a stranger like they have been living next door her entire short life. Lack of energy? Wrong again. I wish I could take AWAY so much of the energy. And why does it always get worse at bedtime? Lack of creativity? Not even for a second. No siblings to play with remember, the creativity is never ending.
It's not too late to change your mind
Finally, just because your child is an only child now - who said things have to stay that way? It is never too late to add to your perfect little family. Well, technically there is a point eventually where you may want to reconsider, but my guess is your still young and vibrant.
Having more than one child is a BIG decision. It's not something to take lightly, it is something you and your spouse should both equally agree on, and it's definitely NOT a decision to let outside opinion influence you on. You life, your love, your family, your time money and sanity.
If the "only child" path is one you walk for now, then enjoy it, push the worries away and be happy for that one little blessing who calls you mama.