- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
10 Reasons Why It's Awesome To Have An Only Child
Only children have had kind of a bad rap over the last several decades, which is most unfair. From selfishness to social problems to pig-farmer-turned-serial-killer certainties, the stigmas attached to the term "only child" are varied and negative. She'll be weird, they say. She'll be socially awkward, they tell you. You should give her a sister or brother - not to do so is child abuse, I'd wager!
To your face. Rude, by the way, to do this.
And, it's unfortunate, because the truth is having an only child can be a wonderful thing for both the child and parents, if it's what they want. The list of pros is so long that I am certain I could wallpaper my only child's (large) bedroom with it - and then some.
To save time and paper, let's start with 10:
1. I Get To Have More Money
This is not necessarily my own number one reason, but it's definitely up there. Children are expensive - my single, teeny little child costs an additional $1000 a month, and she's just one person who eats like a bird!
Having children is sometimes a vicious cycle of financial woes - you have to feed, clothe, house and generally care for your child or else people come and take him or her away! In order to meet these needs, you need to work to make money. In order to make money you have to pay someone else a bunch of money to watch your child all day while you're off making money to afford the person you hired to help you make money. It's a nightmare!
Financially, only having to pay for this childcare once is certainly the lesser of two evils, but what's more is that my child is getting an education. Yes, she's learning various new skills, but that's not what I mean. She's getting a social education, which is very important because at home there are no other children - nor will there be with no siblings or even cousins on the horizon - so the only company is that of adults and the furry variety. Time spent with other children is money well spent. Financially, of course, it benefits us as a family to only have one childcare bill to worry about every month. Especially since our added finances look a little something like this:
- Childcare: $750
- Whole Milk: $20
- Diapers: $65
- Toddler-approved food fit for consumption: $50
- Education Savings Account: $50
- Clothing: $30
- Outings/Play dates: $50
- Total = $1,015
My mind can't help but look at that amount, double or dare I say even triple it, and mentally double over in financial pain. Oh, the pain.
2. Actually, She's Never #2...
She's my priority and always will be. I will never have to tell her to wait while I feed/change/calm her brother or sister. I will never have to try to cram her activities into an already crammed schedule to make sure that someone is there for her. I will never have to decide if she gets to go to college.
We get to spend a lot of time with her, we're 100% there for her, and I feel so good about that.
3. She Knows How To Keep Herself Entertained
As an Only Child, she'll have plenty of experience entertaining herself because there won't be siblings around to do it for her. There also won't be siblings around to annoy her or break her toys, which is equally nice for me.
Her imagination will be a wondrous thing as well because she'll have to dream up all kinds of fantasy worlds to play in and no one will be there to tell her it's stupid.
Because it's not stupid; it's delightful and beautiful.
4. Siblings Are Not Always Your Best Friend
I have siblings and I love them. They are wonderful, caring people and, wow, do they love my daughter. But when we were younger they mostly just annoyed me, and even as adults we are not all that close. We all live our lives quite separately from one another and the only time I feel particularly close to either of them is when something crazy is happening in our family. But when it comes to my own, personal experiences in day to day life, good and bad? It's not them I call.
I have friends who spend a lot of time with their siblings and call them their best friends. I also have friends who barely speak to their siblings and feel that they have nothing in common with them. The one similarity is that they love them. Sometimes though, they love them because they have to love them.
My daughter will never be forced to like or love someone else based on their blood relation to her. I am not sure that's something I want to teach anyone, to be honest. I think it's natural to just hate the heck out of someone's face, especially when they are demanding or mean or take something away from you. She may not have a sibling, and she might ask for one some day. She'll probably also ask for a unicorn. But it's okay, because no matter what she will be free to decide for herself who she is going to be close to.
5. My House Is Gloriously Quiet
Okay, it's quiet-er.
Because there is just one, the house isn't as noisy as the houses of my multi-child friend's houses; which by the way I rarely visit because yikes. To be clear, she makes exactly the same amount of noise as any other kid but there's just ONE.
Beyond just the actual noise though is the figurative noise. Our lives are relatively quiet, especially considering her father and I are quiet, introverted people. And when she goes to bed, awesome little sleeper that she is, we don't hear a peep until the next morning. It's just quiet. And it's perfect.
6. I Am Still Me
I have the time and the freedom to be someone other than "Mommy." I had a life before her - a great life, a full life! And while she of course changed me, right down to my core, and I have an even fuller life now that she's in it, I still crave that time to be anything other than a mother. I am still a real live person underneath all of this; under the copious amounts of laundry and the peanut butter in my hair and the not completely faded stretch marks and the peeing a little when I sneeze.
I still have passion and real likes and dislikes (for example I strongly dislike Caillou.) I think being a mother is amazing but there are things I dislike about that too. The absolutely wonderful thing about being the mother of an only child is that I still have some time to be that person that I used to be.
6. I Can Have a Career
I love my job. LOVE it. And I love writing, too. With just one child, it's easy. I can do it. Currently, I am working full time, which is okay because I only have to pay for one child's care (see #1 up there.) I am also taking full time university courses, and writing part time. That's a lot of things. I don't want to add anymore things to my plethora of things.
If I had more kids, financially it wouldn't be possible to work and be a mother. I admire stay at home moms because Oh. My. God. I can't. I just can't handle that much time with kids! I love my daughter so much but I also really like conversing with adults whose diapers I probably won't have to change or whose lunches are really their own responsibility. I like that I can go pee without little fingers under the door demanding more "anana."
I know it's not possible to "have it all." But so far, I kind of do.
7. My Husband Gets To Have Me Too
Too often, marriages fall apart. I know first hand of 3 marriages that have ended recently, and for one of them, a large factor was the kids. Not the kids themselves of course - they are very much loved. But their disputes started with how many children each half wanted to have when they got married, and one of them only wanted one. He wanted to placate his then-wife and agreed on another. It was certainly not the only reason, nor was it the biggest reason, but it did play a part.
I could barely find time for my husband before we had my daughter, so I already have to schedule it in just a little bit with just one child.
The most important thing to mention here though is that he only wanted one. I did too, so how lucky is that? But if I wanted more then I would be in a bit of a sticky situation. Marriage is hard as it is, and having children can be (and was for us) extremely taxing on your relationship; having more children, especially when you're not on the same page about it, can be detrimental.
8. She'll Be Brave & Confident
She'll have no other way to make friends than to walk up to strangers at school and introduce herself. She'll have to be open and available. She'll have to be brave.
Social skills are skills you have to learn as you grow up - many kids already have the ability to do this because of their siblings but I actually think it prevents them from being brave and meeting new people, because they just don't need more people in their lives.
My daughter will not have that luxury, but the upside is that she'll be a friend-making pro. And she's already fearless in that - and every other - respect.
9. She's One Of A Kind
This is true for oldest siblings as well I think, but she'll have no one to copy or mimic as she grows up so she'll have to become her own awesome little person. She will develop her own style, her own tastes, her own sense of humour and will be a unique person.
As an aside here, I want to just say that when I was in high school, I was consistently known as my brother's sister. My brother always kind of overshadowed me with his accomplishments, especially because he was involved in sports and did better in school than I did. Being overshadowed by a sibling is pretty tough on an already fragile sense of self, so I'm really happy that my daughter won't have to experience that.
10. Only Children Kind Of Rule, Actually
This book. Read it. If you ever waffled about having more children but weren't sure why you wanted more, this book might just help you stick firmly to your darling only child. I know some only children complain a lot about how they didn't have siblings and how unfair that was - for every good egg there are bound to be a few rotten ones, right? I think that sure, some only children are spoiled and have never understood what it was to be denied something, but honestly I think it comes down to parenting. Teaching your child that the world does not revolve around her (even though, in your eyes it actually does) and teaching humility and modesty and compassion is how you avoid those kinds of stigmas sticking for only children.
Because, honestly, having just one child? Kind of awesome. One little kiddo to play with, one to feed at supper time, one to bathe, one to read bedtime stories to, one to run around with at the park, one to love and hold and grow with - truly amazing.
There will be nay-sayers. There might be some judgement. I even had one person tell me that I was barely a mother because I had only one child. I don't really care, because my life is so awesome with my child, my "just one" child, that I don't even get angry.