Saturday, September 22, 2012

What to Expect...when you are the parent of an only child

Here's a humorous/snarky list about my life (and other parents' lives) raising an only child. The Hubs and I are very open that we're "one and done". But it seems no matter what the circumstances of someone asking about a sibling (if I'm nice in the response, bitchy or humorous) we're always "wrong", or we "will regret it later" and the best one of all we're some how "missing out on being real parents".
Hang tight, I've got all these response and more explained.

1) "You can't possibly mean to not give Squishy a sibling. That's just wrong!" No sir, it is not! You know what is wrong? Not feeding him, keeping him tied up in the backyard with no shelter, not educating him or selling him to the highest bidder on ebay. THOSE are wrong! Choosing not to "give" Squishy a sibling is actually perfectly legal and "okay". And while we're on the don't "give" a sibling. You create a sibling! Giving implies it can be returned if it is somehow defective or unwelcome in a person's life. Siblings most certainly can not be me, I wish I could've returned my sister!

2) "you'll regret having an only child. What happens when you die and he's left all alone?" WOW! This one never ceases to amaze me when someone says this. First, I want to say, there's no guaranteeing (even with a sibling) my son won't be left alone in this world. I mean, look at the Duggars. That whole clan (not family, clan, people) piles up on a bus (3 generations now) and travels together. That whole family could be in a car accident and all but one dies. Then what? Those kids have more than enough siblings, but it could still happen. Let's not forget: you never tell a family who just had their 2nd child "Whew, thank gods you have a backup now. You're first-born was close to being a hermit when you all die." Although, come to think of it, I may have just created the next big Hallmark Congratulation card!! (**also I just spelled Congratulations correctly without the help of spellcheck for the 1st and 2nd time!) And thank you for assuming my child is incapable of making friends. It's a common assumption that all only children are friendless, standing-alone-in-the-corner-eating-paint chips kind of kids. They can't handle confrontation and apparently, will never get married. At least, that's what people want me to believe when they hear I have an only child.

3) "You're not a real parent until you've have at least 2 kids" I feel any parent raising an only child can agree with me on this next one. The next time someone tells me "You're not a real parent until you've have at least 2 kids", I'm going to shank a bitch with a sharpened plastic spoon! Who the fuck really thinks like that?!? Almost every parent starts out as a parent to an only child. There are exceptions (parents of multiples, step-parents, certain foster parent situations), but the fair majority remain only child parents at the beginning. And not only does that insult me as a parent, it also insults my child. You are essentially saying he's not a real child. If I'm not a real parent he must be a pretend child, right?? And with that comments comes the response, "Well, I'm not sure what that makes me, cause I know I went through a pregnancy and birth and brought home a child. I guess that means I can give up this gig anytime right? Since I'm just playing "pretend parent" here, I can give up and go home, sans child, anytime now." Next time someone says that, and I'm in the wrong mood, I'm very likely to hand Squishy over to them and say "Well then take him. He deserves "real parents".

4) "You can't live your life planning for a future." I loved this one: Our choice was based on several factors. Financial, the future, my health and most of all, a lack of desire for another child. I was on a public forum, and the discussion was about only child and why anyone would choose to have just one. (Yes, we CHOSE to have just one. Just like other families CHOOSE to have 2,3 or more.) I listed my reason and was "called out" by another member, especially on financial reasons. We want to be able to provide for him and save for his future. A future that may include college, which we'd like to help pay for if not pay for completely. I was told "What if he doesn't go to college? You're going to feel real dumb having only one kid because you wanted to save for his future instead of give him a sibling to love."
Yes, yes I will feel very dumb having a bank account with money not going to a college! In fact, I do believe if that happens I'll climb the nearest bell tower and hang myself. I won't! Who in the hell would ever regret having a large sum of money saved?!?! I mean, really....does anyone know someone who would regret that?? Because if you do, can you tell them I'll happily accept a donation to clear them of their regrets??

5) "Don't you want a girl?" NO! I do not want a girl! I do not feel like I'm missing some magical relationship by not having a daughter. Nor do I feel I'm "robbing" my husband from a mystical father-daughter experience. Parents of only children know they're not going to have both genders...and you know what, most of us are okay with that! The parents who chose to have an only child that is. Those parents who didn't get a choice in the matter, I don't speak for them. I can't imagine how painful it would be to want something and never be able to have it. Not something important like a child.

6) Well, if you husband doesn't want another child, you can always "trick" him into having another one. He'll love it as soon as he gets over the shock. Really?? You really think gambling my marriage on something like this is the best idea?? I know women who have done this and I know women who have felt pressured to have another child by their husband. In both cases one partner is left feeling resentful over the child they didn't really want. It's a gamble that the couple can overcome something like that. Especially if the "tricked" partner learns it was planned and not an "accident".
Another thing that gets me about this statement, is the assumption I want more kids. I don't!! I feel no urging for another child. I assume it means I'm lacking as a woman, I've also heard that said about moms with only children as well.

7) "you must not like babies/kids" This is a common assumption. Flawed as it is, I've heard this one more than once. The truth is, I'm not a big fan of infants but I don't hate them! I'm not going to scream, running from the room, when I see a newborn. I may even ask to hold it. When you really think about it, if I truly did hate kids, I wouldn't have my own! That's just irresponsible. Though, apparently that's all parents of only children are.

8) "I've never met an only child who wasn't spoiled and self-centered" I've never met an ass hole that didn't spew bullshit every time it's opened. Actually, that's not true. An ass hole can open up and release gas, so look at that, I guess there's hope that an only child can be raised to be selfless and compassionate. What I haven't met is an asshole who doesn't spew out-dated stereotypes about only children! Just because "you" haven't met one, doesn't mean they don't exist. I haven't seen a platypus in real-life, but I know they aren't all blue with an orange tail and bill! I also haven't seen a unicorn but I refuse to give up hope that in some galaxy they exist. For the record, I've met plenty of people who grew up with siblings and are very self-centered and spoiled. But I guess that's okay because they had to fight to get that way, eh??

Now for the really hilarious part of this blog. My outrageous responses to some comments.

(after being asked "don't you want another child?") "No. But thank you for your concern about my sex life. I assure you, my husband is getting sex regularly. How kind of you to ask."

(wouldn't you love to give him a sibling?) "I can't give my uterus away, even though the only thing I want from it is currently pulling my hair"

(How could you let your husband get a vasectomy? You only have one kid!) "Thanks, we were worried we miss counted on the tax return last year."

I love being a mom of an only child. My son rocks my world on most days and steals my thunder on others. I don't have a single bone in my body that feels some thing's missing without 2+ kids in my life. The moment Squishy was put in my arms for the first time, I knew I was done having kids. I was so instantly in love with him nothing in the world mattered. I've heard you learn to love more children just as deeply, but I'm not going to chance it. I know true love, I see it every day when I gaze into my almost 4-year old's big beautiful brown eyes!

Long live parents of only children! Long may the ignorant rage!!


  1. The next time some one bitches about you having an only child, tell them something like: Well,they took my uterus when he was born so it would be pretty hard to have another. Or: My husband lost a testicle protecting your freedom...

    1. I've thought of that, but since I'm trying to raise Nixon to be comfortable with his only-child status that I need to be comfortable in choosing that for him.
      The easy thing is to make an excuse for having an only child, but I know women who really do have issues like that and I'd feel uncomfortable making light of their issues to give me an easy out.