Photo by: Andre Ouellet on Unsplash

Having An Only Child

Photo by: Andre Ouellet on Unsplash

As one of three kids, I always assumed I would end up having more than one child. 

For me, having siblings around created a bond of trust and camaraderie. There were times we wanted to kill each other, like when my brother came running at me full speed, karate chopped me in the stomach, and pushed me into the washing machine when he was 13 and I was 15. But, aside from that brawl, we have always had each other’s backs regardless of the situation or who’s at fault, (which is usually my siblings, as I am the middle child, and therefore, perfect!) Of course, I’m joking, but that is the banter between siblings, and regardless of how old we are, that cheeky banter is always there, even into our forties.

While having an only child has its perks, it’s not as easy as people assume it is, and there are some very trying moments.

In my experience of having an only child, Rob (my husband) and I are the ones who get called on as the constant playmate, the kicking post when he is emotional or needing to express himself, the continuous entertainers, the best friends, and the list goes on. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes it drives me nuts. The standard for parenting, right? The juggle of life is 100 percent real, no matter the size of your family.

Because our little man wants to be the center of attention—as most kids do—finding the balance of making him the priority, and teaching him when it’s grown up time can get tricky. There is no opportunity to tell him to go play with a sibling during the times we need a minute to talk, work, or just have a minute of alone time. As I have gotten older, I realize how much quiet time I require to feel productive and human. Admittedly, I have locked myself in the bathroom more times than I can count in order to finish an email or project. Even then, there are little fingers under the door as he sits on the other side asking me what I’m doing, or that he wants to show me something. I realize this isn’t because he’s an only child, but I find myself getting irritated because I think he should be more independent…until I remember he’s just 3!

I have zero experience in having multiple children, but I have been caught off guard several times by other mothers (mostly strangers) that say , “Oh it must be so nice having just one,” or  “I remember having one and it was sooooo easy,” or even,  “Are you having more? Kids need siblings!” 

I try to remain polite and smile, but what I want to say is one of these responses.

“Well, I find it very hard with one."

“Is being a mother ever that easy?”

“You have no idea what my circumstances are that have determined the number of children I have.”

"Maybe I don’t want more than one.” 

Honestly, it’s nobody’s business if I have one child or twenty.

My story is straightforward. I got married and started a family later in life, and, now that I’m 40, things have changed in my body and mind. Yes, I would love to have another baby, but we don’t always get what we want. Over the past three years, there have been months where I cried when I started my period, followed by countless tracking of my ovulation. I have had blood tests to make sure my hormone levels were okay, and had an HSG test. And let’s not discount the acupuncture, clean eating, and daily exercise. For me, personally, I choose to keep my conception methods natural and avoid taking fertility drugs. While this might prohibit another baby at my age, whatever is meant to be, will be. The most significant relief is that we have one beautiful little man who I love so much. 

Whether I have another child or get to hang with my boy and be his playmate, kicking post, and entertainer, I feel so lucky to have my only child happy, and that’s all that matters. I’m hoping this post shines some light, if only a little on why some mamas only have one child. So next time, you want to say “Oh, it must be so nice having just one,” think of me and my solo man.

Emily lives in the Santa Barbara wine country with her husband Rob and their 3 year old son Waylon. She is the driving force behind E.R. Leather Goods, a handmade leather accessories company which she launched in 2009, and is the creator of a lifestyle marketing company run under her name, Emily DaFoe.

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