With apologies to all the only children out there, we’ve all heard the rumours. They’re spoiled, lonely, antisocial, overly dependent, narcissistic, bored, intolerant, self-absorbed, bossy, etc. etc.
The thing is, it hasn’t really panned out that way evidence-wise. The fate of the once-pitied only child has been studied to death and it turns out, well, they turn out just fine. Better than fine according to several studies which suggest they may actually be higher-achieving, happier and more successful than their siblinged (new word) counterparts.
Realistically, I think underachieving, antisocial assholes hail from all kinds of families. I plan to not raise an asshole. Fingers crossed. This objective stands should I have one or five.
These days, we’re chanting the “one and done” mantra for several reasons. The first being:
I’m 35 and healthy. I don’t feel old for, like, life. But I do feel old for Gymboree and Bubble Guppies. I suspect that shit gets old real fast though, at any age. As it stands, I’ll be 50 with a 15 year old. That’s cool. I don’t really want to be 50 with a 10 year old though. If I’d started this procreation thing earlier in life, I’d probably go for two. But maybe not. All I know is that right now, one feels like plenty.
One feels manageable on so many levels. Less financial strain, fewer tantrums, less mess and fewer people pulling you in different directions.
Will there also be less joy? Maybe. Who’s measuring? I think I will get joy from having more money and means to live a fun and comfortable lifestyle with just the five of us (can’t forget the two shit monsters). And our child will benefit from more resources and opportunities than we’d be able to offer if we kept popping out kids we can’t easily afford or attend to.
Plus, I have to say, if things all continue to go well and I have a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby I will feel like I’ve already won the lottery, given my persistent paranoia. Is this something I’ll want to roll the dice on again? Methinks not.
Two of the most common arguments in favour of multiple kids fall into either the “but siblings are so important!” or “but what if your kid dies?” camps. Let’s start with the less depressing of the two.
Siblings can be wonderful. But there are no guarantees that siblings will get along or maintain a mutually beneficial relationship into adulthood. I’m sure we all know people with siblings they’d rather not admit they’re related to, or that they simply don’t really stay in touch with. Personally, I do get along with my brothers – but they’re not my closest friends or the people I turn to first for support or companionship. For that, I have friends. I know, what a concept?
As for the death of a child scenario, I can’t think of a better way to put it than Wendy Thomas Russell did in an article on PBS.com:
“And it’s true: If we lose our daughter, we lose everything. It’s like we’ve put all our money into one stock without knowing whether it’s a high- or low-risk investment. Parents who have two or more children are diversified; the experts would surely agree that’s a smart way to live, right?
Smart, maybe. But it’s not foolproof.
There isn’t, and would never have been, a replacement for my Maxine. A second child could not lessen the grief of losing her. Perhaps the distraction of a second child would help me get up in the morning during those early months — but I don’t believe in bringing children into the world to act as a distraction in the case of some theoretical tragedy.”
Actually, the whole article is fantastic: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/case-just-one-child/
Now that I’ve directed you to another website, it’s probably time to wrap this up and get back to work…