It’s so very unflattering to be questioned or even to have to explain why my family size doesn’t seem to match the “stereotypical” portrait of a “happy family”. Since I have a 3 and a half year old now, this is supposedly the “right” time for me to think about having another baby to “complete” my family. If not saying it, people are definitely thinking it, specially on days when I’m sick with “pregnancy” like symptoms. And when I do say that I’m pleased with being “a one and done” parent, there’s always the implication that this statement just momentarily holds true for me and that I would soon change my mind, for reasons best known to them. The most popular one being, having a sibling for my only child and its trillion advantages. Sure, every decision in life has its pluses and minuses, but to assume that a family unit of 3 isn’t as good as it can get, is something I find pretty patronizing and ill-informed. I’d say, to each, their own. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable to give my opinion to anyone about how many kids they should or should not have. I’m amazed at how people so righteously find it their place to even share a passing remark or even “that sorry look” on this (no)issue. If anyone does get to have an opinion, that place sure belongs to members of my family: my husband, me and my daughter – the people who actually have to do the hard work at making it a truly “happy family”. (On a side note, my daughter recently shared her list of reasons why she doesn’t like babies J It was interesting, no doubt!)
To me, no family size is perfect! A family is still gonna have to go through it’s own unique journey filled with successes, surprises and struggles. Having one child suits us and in words of my little one, we are a “happy family” living in the “best home” ever. (Yeah, she is into using a whole lot of superlatives in her rapidly growing vocabulary these days. BEST THING EVER!)
So here’s why we are pleased with being “one and done” parents:
It’s our call:
If my husband and me, both are onboard with the decision to have one and just one child, nothing else matters. From the beginning, we have been very clear about this being a very huge responsibility. If anything, as years pass by, we just get more and more sure about our decision. In fact, we tend to enjoy and savor every moment with our daughter because we know its gonna be just this one time and the milestone-like moments are gonna pass in a blink. The fact that there is gonna be “no redos”, makes it all even more precious to cherish.
We feel complete:
And that it! It feels just right! We don’t seem to be missing out on anything. The 3 of us feel like a great team, our personalities and temperaments complement each other and we keep each other as happy as we can be. Sure, we have our low days as a family, but again, we can deal with those much better with just one child to care for. People often talk about “more the merrier” but there’s a down side there which is often not spoken about. Heard of Double Trouble?
We believe in quality of life:
Once we commit to something, we give it our very best! I personally just don’t like that feeling where I am struggling – be it with the task, with time, with sleep, or anything at all.
Also I have the Type A personality traits: I like things to be predictable, structured, organized, clean, well planned, well paced and generally as close as possible to being perfect. And I love to be like that, well… at least most of the times. I like to be in control, if not, I get flustered and stressed. Basically, I don’t function well with spontaneity and chaos.
So given my personality, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to juggle multiple kids with their multiple needs and schedules. Frankly, I am constantly exhausted with just one. Yes, I am an early childhood educator by profession and I do this kind of multitasking with young children all the time. But thats work and I have been repeated told that I’m pretty good at it! But this is my home and my personal life. Hats off and nothing but respect to those moms who can pull this off in their personal lives, day in – day out. But its just not my cup of tea. And accepting that, makes it much easier for me to make my decisions. This way, I can focus on putting my best foot forward and providing the best for my one and only child. No excuses to goof things up but then again parenting by itself involves a lot of goof ups … regardless…
Easy and less expensive. I already find myself overspending on all the things that I buy for my only child. Over the years, I am learning to be more sensible in leaning out my purchases and I can only imagine how me, having more than one kid, would have only made the spending worse. Add to that, I am generally not good at making shopping related, efficient decisions. Period.
And that’s just the basics and the everyday luxuries that we can thankfully afford, for now. Let’s not forget how expensive education and co-curricular activities for children can be. I’d rather be in a comfortable state of mind as far as the financial management for one child is concerned, given that I am not good at planning finances myself. Simply put, I wouldn’t be able to manage this kind of stress now or in the near future, be it for one or more. So I’d rather keep it simple.
We don’t want to live it again:
Although I had a smooth pregnancy thanks to the “textbook” baby I carried for 9 months, I had a traumatic delivery and some intense postpartum anxiety. So no, I didn’t get to enjoy the new mother bliss one bit. To add on, my baby wasn’t an easy baby, if anything she was just as distressed. It was the most toughest thing I have ever had to overcome, and I have been through a year of chemotherapy in my teen years (for real). I remember, as a new mum, I was always tired, sleep deprived, stressed and sad. Looking back, I feel like it was just as depressing for my little baby and so out of both our control. I often ended up questioning my decision and preparedness for this journey that I so-wanted to take on. But I simply couldn’t think straight back then.
And my obsessive, compulsive personality made it all even more worse. I constantly worried and panicked about anything and everything that led to the chaos of having a newborn at home. “She’s not feeding well”, “If she does, she spits it all out”, “She’s not sleeping well”, “She’s crying way too much”, and on and on and on…. Eventually things did get better and I fell in love with my little girl and there was no looking back since. But the thought of having to do it all again, scares me to my very core! I’m just grateful that the 3 of us powered through those days and are at our strongest best today – physically and emotionally. And I don’t want to make any changes to that. I know the whole trauma we lived through probably wouldn’t happen again if we tried, but the risk is not something I’m willing to take. I don’t find it worth it given that I have another beautiful soul to care for this time around.
We don’t go by stereotypes:
Since we are both comfortable with this decision, there’s no way anyone can make us change our minds, specially when they have so little to do with the whole experience that they want us to go through. And why? Because of the stereotypical image of a “family”. Thanks but no thanks, we are not building our family empire to “fit into” anything. And NO, my daughter is not going to be lonely, no she’s not going to be spoilt, she will learn to share, care and socialize just fine. There’s no guarantee that children with siblings are better off on these traits anyways. Look up some research out there, its true! To be a happy family, every member of that family needs to be happy and I have my doubts about how much of this happiness will remain when the stress and chaos of having to raise multiple children starts to play its part in our currently stable lives. We are happy as we are, even if we don’t “fit in” with the majority.
Right now, I’m in such a happy space with my daughter. We share a solid bond and yet live our own separate lives through the day, only to reunite and reconnect at the end of each one. Best feeling ever, specially now that she can’t stop talking! Exhausting and challenging as it may get, I only come out stronger as a mum. Bottomline is that our lives are going to revolve around my little girl, for the rest of our lives, and making sure she’s at her happiest and healthiest is going to be our number 1 life goal for as long as we live. BUT, I am also coming to the realization that we, as parents, are individuals too. Individuals with our own interests, needs and aspirations. On the brink of burning out as a mum, I learnt that it is very important for me, as an individual, to stay in touch with myself in order to be able to be a happy mum. Happy Mum = Happy Child, remember? So no, I don’t think it’s a good idea to lose our individuality as parents and make our child, our only goal. It’s only gonna suffocate us, and probably even her later, as she starts to get her own life up and running. So, when she sees us as hardworking parents, prioritizing ourselves as individuals too, she is simultaneously learning to discover and value her own individuality as well.
Now, some of these reasons above hold more true to me than for my husband and vice versa. But at the end, we agree to it as a whole, as a team. And I’m so grateful for that, because if that was not the case, it would have led to a lot of complications in our relationship. So I speak for all 3 of us when I say that having one and only one child in our family suits us and works the best for us, as a unit. We love this awesome threesome and look forward to our beautiful lives together, just like any family does!