15 Jun Raising an Only-Child: Embracing the Perks
Sometimes, things don’t always work out the way you thought they would. I never necessarily envisioned myself having a huge family, but after having my son and experiencing that ridiculous, unique love that seems to be inherent to becoming a mother, I had always imagined I would have another. But after my painful struggle with infertility, I have finally come to terms with the fact that my son will be an only child and essentially, I will be a mom to one, single, extraordinary little boy.
For some reason, there seems to be this unspoken stigma about having one child, like it’s a bad thing, a selfish thing, like it’s WRONG. During the past three years, I can’t even count the number of times that I have been asked, “So…..when are you having another??”. Each time I was asked this question, a storm of rage and sadness would suddenly erupt inside of me. My fake smile and nervous laughter would seem to put a stop to the questioning, but I always felt the need to defend the fact that I had thus far, only given birth to one baby.
Obviously, I could not expect everyone to completely comprehend the inner turmoil I was grappling with and how hard I was trying to conceive. But this damned question, that was asked over and over again by anyone and everyone, had started to affect the way I viewed myself as a mother. I began to question whether I was good enough or whether I was somehow falling short or not measuring up simply because I was the mom to only one child.
“Oh, you JUST have the one?”
“Wow, I remember when we only had one kid, life was SO EASY back then!”
I know when most people read these statements, they seem harmless enough. But to me, these felt patronizing, implying that my job as a mother of one was not as significant as theirs. I felt minimized. And I know this may sound ridiculous, but having one child somehow felt shameful; REAL moms have two or three or four kids and thrive on chaos and multitasking.
After being immersed in this inferiority for way too long, it suddenly dawned on me that I was allowing other people, other moms, society as a whole, to define me and my worth as a mother. The problem wasn’t what other people thought of me, the problem was what I thought of myself. I finally had to acknowledge that I possessed these self-deprecating beliefs. I knew something needed to change; these beliefs were toxic, destructive and unfair. And so began my journey towards embracing life with one child….
My husband and I take turns sleeping-in on the weekends, guilt-free. We have tons of patience with our son and are often able to give him our undivided attention. To be honest, our house isn’t that chaotic, it feels manageable. And financially, well, you do the math!
Focusing on these benefits of the 2:1 ratio has allowed me to regain my confidence as a mother, as opposed to constantly comparing myself to some unrealistic standard. Don’t get me wrong, I tip my hat off to all the moms out there that are able to get dinner on the table for two kids, or who manage to bathe and put their three kids to bed every night. But I am so happy to have finally found the ability to truly own my situation as opposed to feeling like I constantly have to apologize for it.