Ok, so it’s real talk time. I want to address something that’s been quite the hot topic on CNC lately: Whether or not Mal and I will have another child.
It’s funny how when your making one of the most important decisions of your life, everyone else seems to have an opinion – and I mean everyone. From our own parents to the waitress, who served us at dinner last week, people feel the need to tell us why they think having one child is either a fantastic decision or an absolutely horrible one.
Rather than be evasive or beat around the bush, I’m just going to say it right here – we probably will not have another child. While I’ll “never say never,” Mal and I have had countless conversations about this and have gone back and forth, and every time we ultimately agree that we’re happy with our little family as is. And that’s ok.
I think there tends to be more shame and judgement over the decision to have one child than there is to make the choice to have multiple children – and part of that stems from the assumption that parents who consciously choose to have one child are selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth! We did not take this decision lightly. Even clearing the air here with all of you wasn’t easy, but many people don’t realize just how hard making the choice is because while there are many positives, there will still always be negatives. If you’re in a similar situation or are just curious, I’d like to give you a little peek into the pros and cons we weighed that ultimately led us to decide to remain a single tiny human family.
One of the biggest pros for us is travel! It’s way easier and cheaper with one child. We can visit places that might be off limits to larger families, and since we only have one kiddo’s schedule to adhere to, planning out our days is simplified and we can generally fit more into one trip.
Quinn also receives more attention as an only child because our time isn’t divided between caring for multiple children. I don’t mean that we spoil him with material things or give into every tantrum – just that he gets more of our energy, which translates to more playtime and more snuggles.
He’ll have the independence that many “oldest” kids have, but he won’t have to assume the role of responsible caretaker that the eldest child often does when there are younger sibling to take care of.
He will be able to self-entertain and self-soothe, both skills that can translate into his adult professional and personal life. Research has actually shown that only children have higher IQs! 🙂
Quinn will miss out on the sibling experience, and this was truly the hardest part of our decision. Mal and I both grew up with siblings and step-siblings, so we know how important those bonds are. It makes us a little sad that Quinn won’t have a built-in playmate. Plus, as he progresses into adulthood, he won’t have the opportunity for a larger biological family with nieces, nephews, etc. But hey – not all siblings get along or have healthy relationships as they get older, and we certainly don’t believe that to be “family” you have to be blood-related. We are blessed with a large friend group, our friends’ kids, extended family, and Quinn’s cousins are absolutely part of our lives. When we see them all hang out together, we know that Quinn is getting the feeling of having siblings, and we will make it our priority to maintain and encourage these types of relationships as he gets older.
Another con that we face having a by-choice single child family is the judgement from everyone else – and that will probably never go away, even when Quinn is well into adulthood. I get it – everyone thinks their opinion is the right one, and I’ve just learned to grin and bare it through the comments. It really used to upset me, but now I just let it roll off my shoulders. It’s our family, and the only opinion that counts is mine and Mal’s.
While there are pros and cons to keeping our family small, we feel that we’ve found ways to move past the more negative aspects of it. And yeah, as Quinn gets older, he won’t have someone in the next room to complain about Mumma and Dadda to – but isn’t that what friends are for? 🙂
Question of the Day
Are you a single child family or do you have a few kiddos? What are some of your pros and cons for each?
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I have three children. I am an only child and I wish I had a sibling or two. So when our daughter was two we started trying for another. Seven years later and a round of IVF we had twin boys. It is not how I wanted it (a large gap between them) but it’s how it shook out. They will have each other after my husband and I leave this earth. I saw what my mom (also an only child) went through when her parents got sick. It was hard to watch her make all the decisions by herself. I like to think that will always be close but who knows. I look at my father (he’s one of 5) and I hope my kids will be close like them.
Hey Susan- your comment is part of the problem. Congrats on you using your judgement to determine what is right for you- that in no way infers it is right for everyone else. And I’m sorry for what your mom went through- but I’m not sure those decisions are guaranteed to get easier just because there are other people involved. And yay for your dad having a close family w/ 5 siblings, but the closeness of a family is not determined by the number in it. That is a product of family quality- not quantity. I validate you wish you had siblings growing up, but I think most adults look at the families they grew up in and can say, “I would have been happier if….” In conclusion, your experience and judgements are yours and they are valid- but you probably shouldn’t extrapolate that to be some type of standard by which you judge other families.
I think actually your comment is part of the problem. Susan was just sharing her experiences. Her pros and cons. Exactly like Tina did in her post and ASKED people to do in the comments. You are reading a lot into her comment and making assumptions. You should probably think about why her experiences and feelings triggered your defenses so much.