I am a mother of one and proud of it.
There, I said it.
For some reason, some people just can’t seem to accept that we don’t want another child. They are convinced that secretly I am desperate for another one and its all just a matter of time until I come to my senses. Top five responses from people who, when asking the question “So, when are you giving him a little brother or sister?” and receiving the answer “Actually, we’re not.”:
1. “You’ll change your mind I bet”
I will not be changing my mind. I absolutely love being my son’s mum, but I really enjoy the life I have made for myself and our little unit of three as well and don’t have any intention of ruining it for any of us a year shy of turning forty. I have a very, very long list of reasons why I like our family numbering three. Not least that holidays and plane journeys – well everything in fact – is significantly easier to manage, less expensive and far less stressful.
2. “Ah that’s a shame, to leave him all on his own.
There is plenty of research as well as anecdotal evidence to suggest that ‘only’ children thrive in exactly the same way as an ‘older child’ in a family of siblings do. They simply continue to enjoy the attention lavished on most ‘older children’ for the rest of their lives instead of being ousted by younger brothers and sisters just as they reach an age where they might most benefit from it. Parents exert the same pressure and expectations on an older child as an only child. The difference is that parents of only children have more time, attention, energy and money to spend on a single child, so they may have an advantage in terms of their education as well as their social and emotional well being. Only children will not be told they can’t have help with the homework until Mummy’s finished feeding the baby. Or that they can’t go to the bowling alley for a birthday party on Tuesday because their brother has soccer practice. Only children will not bicker and brawl with their siblings either, so that you are tearing your hair out trying to make them like eachother. And they will not feel ‘lonely’ for a brother or sister that they have never had. Their lives, like anyone’s, will be filled with friends and peers to talk to and share things with when family is not enough.
3. “Don’t leave it too late to start trying”
I love this one, completely ignoring my opinion as if it’s so abhorrent you can’t acknowledge it. Also suggesting that I’m old, which may be true but it is a little insulting to me and my ovaries which I’m sure still have a few years left in them yet. Although my OBGYN was one of the people that said this too me, so maybe there is some truth to the rumour that I am getting on a bit.
4. “They grow up so fast though. Don’t you miss having a little baby to cuddle?”
No, I don’t. I’ve thought about it a lot and I really don’t miss it. I missed it the first time around, in a sleep deprived haze of panic, if truth be known. ‘Missing it’….missing what? You could say that about any age, not just the baby bit, and having another one does not make you miss it less as it passes, because if anything you are mourning the loss twice over. To make up for all the things you miss as your child grows up you’d have to keep on breeding forever. Also, like any mother if they are truthful, there are significant chunks of baby and toddlerhood that would absolutely not make it onto my list of ‘things I miss’.
5. “Really? Why not?”
Because it’s OUR CHOICE and there is no law that says you have to have more than one child. ‘Why not’ is a decision that we have made carefully and with some consideration, for many reasons related to health and happiness, and isn’t just some rash or selfish conclusion we came to in a few seconds flat. These are the same people that ask when you are getting married, or when you are going to start trying for a family…thoughtless, embarrassing and nosy, unless you are very good friends and don’t mind hearing about the inner workings of my womb or my time as crazy baby mum.
But the main reason? I will never have to sit through the Teletubbies again.