Immediately following the labor and delivery of my first child, I loudly and exhaustedly proclaimed that I was never going to do that ever again. And then when I had my two miscarriages, I realized that I might actually end up being a parent of an only child.
As you might know, I went on to have two more kids, for which I'm thankful (and wouldn't trade in or sell on eBay).
But this past week, I found myself surrounded, both in person and online, by moms of only children - due various circumstances like loss, choice, and that royal bitch mother nature or whoever is in charge of dealing those crappy hands. And I imagined all the comments they must endure, some probably from well-meaning friends and family who insist on asking when they’ll be "adding to their brood" and others probably less tactful, if questions like that could actually be considered tactful.
None of which, I imagine, are welcomed or appreciated.
Granted, we parents of two plus get our own fair share of Nosy McNosertons, but never with the long sordid reputation that parents of only children endure - their little selfish singular offspring, with the world revolving around their spoiled world. Perhaps slightly less stinging for those who didn’t actually choose to curtail their right to breed at just one, but still rough nonetheless.
And admittedly, I have, along with friends, tossed a few chuckles in the direction of a few of these parents, perhaps because they remind me of how I was with my first child - with four gallons of hand sanitizer, a high-chair cover, and table mat just to eat at my own friend’s house, although, I tend to think that has more to do with the parent’s personality than it does with having an only kid.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve encountered plenty of rotten little only children. But I’ve come across an equal number of little brats who have plenty of siblings that should have beaten the snottiness right out of them.
And I wouldn’t say that parents of one necessarily have it easier, because aside from the obvious benefit of having siblings entertaining them with wrestling matches and play dough fights, unlike many of us who have two or more, the responsibility of breaking those age old stereotypes rests on their shoulders.
And let’s face it. The more kids I’ve had, the better at this I’ve gotten, which isn’t really saying that much I suppose, but it is nice to not always feel like I’m doing something for the first time.
Always doing something fresh and new can be exciting, but also challenging, particularly when you don’t have a chance to try it again - this time with less broken bones and hopefully more sleep.
And in recently watching a lovely family of three interact - the great care and attention they were able to afford their one daughter, I have to say that I didn’t think of her as spoiled, not even for a second.