Having an Only Child

Emily DaFoe

As one of three kids in our family, 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; case in point when my brother came running at me full speed, and 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 back 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 40’s!

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% 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 1” or  “ I remember having 1 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 1. "

"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 1.” 

Honestly, it's nobody’s business if I have 1 child or 20..  

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 ok and having an HSG test. Lets not discount the having done acupuncture, practiced clean eating, and daily exercise. For me personally, I have chosen 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 1”, think of me and my solo man.

xx, Emily 

pic: Blue Gabor