Author Topic: Parents of onlies tell me how it is  (Read 10599 times)

mrsggrowsveg

  • Guest
Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:26:40 PM »
I am married and 25 years old.  My husband is 31 and we have a 10 month old son.  I know every parent thinks this, but for us he really is perfect in every way.  We both work outside of the home and he attends a corporate daycare where I visit him during lunch and breaks.  Our life seems really great right now as a family of three.  We try to live a very eco-friendly lifestyle and having just one child seems like the appropriate thing to do.  We also would like to travel once we are FI.  My question for you all is, how is life with an only child, advantages/disadvantages?  If you have more kids, how is that?  Also, how did you know for sure you only wanted one?  Making this decision could require some permanent modifications, so I am hoping that I am 100% sure. 

avonlea

  • Guest
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 12:54:25 PM »
If you have more kids, how is that?

Honestly, I was comfortable with having only one child when my son was young.  He was a very hard baby to care for and I didn't think I could handle having another baby while raising a young boy as well.  I also knew that the more children we had, the harder it would be to save for college. My husband really wanted to have a second child when our guy was about two years old--it took me a year to warm up to the idea. Our daughter was born right before our son turned 4.  I am really glad we had her!  She is the sunshine in this house, an extremely happy girl. Our kids have an incredible bond with each other--so important for our son since he is on the spectrum.  Having two children also has shown me how little I really can control. I can't take credit for their accomplishments b/c whatever interests and motivation they have is largely due to their own natures.  I definitely take the role seriously of helping wherever and whenever I can, though. My husband and I have loved watching them grow. Each childhood is a totally different experience.

I think having an only child can be great, too.  Just wanted to answer that small question you had. :)

netskyblue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Location: Midwest USA
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 01:04:21 PM »
My BF is an only child, and swears he would never "do that" to his own kid.  I have 2 sisters, and while growing up I sure wished I was an only child, they are now my closest friends.  Friends come & go, but they're family, ya know?  In fact, they may be the only people in my life who I'm not sure how I would bear to lose.  I have no kids yet, and while losing a parent would be awful, it is something I expect in my lifetime.  My sisters?  Unthinkable.

I wonder if there's a study somewhere about how onlies tend to feel about it.  Do they in general like being the only child, or feel like they missed out on siblings?

WageSlave

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 01:47:47 PM »
I'm a parent of two but an only child myself.

I remember that I liked being an only child when I was very young.  But around high school age, I started seeing how many of my friends had close relationships with their siblings, and wished I had that.  It was never a big issue, but ever since then, I've always wondered what it would be like to have brothers or sisters.  I think it would be neat.  Both of my parents had a number of siblings, so growing up I had a lot of aunts and uncles.  My kids will not have any aunts or uncles on my side of the family, and my wife only has one sibling.  The "big extended family" is another fond memory from my childhood, and one my kids will never know.

From the perspective of a parent, we had our second when our first was about 2.5 years old.  Our first was an "easy" baby: slept a lot, virtually never fussed, no health issues, etc.  Our second was and (to some degree) continues to be very hard.  She had colic and acid reflux, so for the first four months, from about 6pm until midnight, our choice was to constantly execute all of the 5 S's or listen to her wail.  She's six months now, and the evenings aren't as intense, but she keeps getting colds, which means the fussiness comes and goes and sleep is problematic.

Also, it was a double whammy because our first has had a hard time adjusting.  She went from getting 100% of our attention to way less than 50% due to all the attention the baby required.

Some people may find this statement appalling, but for the first four months I often regretted having a second.  I rarely feel that way now, but I still find myself looking back on when we only had one and how "easy" things were then.

In my experience, two kids isn't twice as hard as one, it's ten times harder.

My wife and I knew from the start that we both wanted two kids, so I'm definitely going to get a "permanent modification".  But if I could have seen into the future before conceiving #2, it might have changed my desire to have two.  My wife doesn't feel the same.

At any rate, for now I'm just a complainypants, because both kids are healthy and thriving, and things should get easier at some point.  But sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when all at once you're completely sleep-deprived, the baby is screaming, and the toddler is getting into trouble.

Take any and all answers to your question (including mine) with a huge grain of salt, because there are so many dynamics involved, it's impossible to get any kind of meaningful advice.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3933
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 03:18:30 PM »
Maybe I can offer a unique perspective:

I grew up with a sister, but am now an "only child" because she passed away 5 years ago.

Growing up with a sister meant always having a friend (or frenemy) at home. We played and fought when we were kids, but once we hit mid/late teens, we became so close. And it was amazing. Sharing clothes and secrets, having someone in your life that understand perfectly what you parents are like. As the older sister, I had a real sense of pride in looking out for her and after her.

I really, really miss being a sister. Obviously I miss having her in my life, but I also just miss having that relationship. You can't replicate it even with the closest of friends. My sister and I would defend each other to our parents (Why can't she go to that party??) and we would help our parents pick out birthday or christmas gifts for each other that were things we actually wanted. It was a great way to grow up, with more pros than cons.

That being said, one of my best friends is an only child. She is much better at alone-time and independence than I am. I grew up around people ALL THE TIME and if I'm alone for long periods I can get depressed. Also, my mother is a twin and she and her brother are like oil and water, cats and dogs. I think her life would honestly be a little easier if she didn't have a brother.

All of that to say, do what you and your partner want! If your kid wants siblings, treat their friends like family. I have become so close with my friends and they are really "one of the family". If you decide to have a second child, great - you'll have a playmate and distraction for your kid. But also you will get to break up fights, practice fairness, and all that jazz. :) I'd say either way you're a winner, but it depends on what fits you and your life! Good luck :)

TheDude

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 03:19:34 PM »
Interesting discussion. I really liked just one. Life was getting pretty easy at 2 and I wasn't super excited to have another. It didnt help my son was born at 32week and 4days. Spent 4 weeks int he NICU and took pretty much two years to catch up to his peers. We stressed a lot about him growing.

Number two came 3 months ago. My wife really wanted to try again so we did. I'm glad we did. My wife got everything she wanted (breastfeeding instead of pumping, full term, big and chunky, vback) Shes been a pretty good sleeper which has been pretty awesome. I think in the long run two will be better than one.

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1022
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 07:43:29 PM »
Ha.  Interesting the responses this is garnering! 

My son is my DH's and my only child -- not my choice, but reality.  It will be interesting to see to what extent he perceives himself as an "only child" as that label comes to have meaning to him (right now he's in 1st grade and I'd guess it doesn't), as he has a (half) sister and (half) brother who are my DH's older kids, now grown and on their own.  But DS's lived experience is definitely that of an only child (however, if anyone ever asks him -- and people sometimes do -- if he wants a brother or sister he looks at them as if they are dumb as a post and says, "I have a brother and a sister!").

I'm one of 2.  My college roommate (and good friend) was an only and never wanted things any different; she's now parenting an only.  So there absolutely are people who embrace this (even though I wasn't one).

I don't know.  As I say, I didn't want to have just one, but that's how it has turned out for us and I did decide against steps such as donor gametes or adopting that would have changed that -- so clearly, on some level, I accept it.  My one issue is that while little kids aren't my favorite, the older my son gets, the more I enjoy him.  So I do worry a bit that when he's 10, or 20, or 30, I'll be kicking myself, but there it is.  Once I reached that point, I decided I'd just take advantage of all the positives of having just the one, like being able to do more travelling, and sooner, with him in tow -- so we do (often visiting distant extended family for some of the reasons others have identified). 

(As far as "the right thing to do," many years ago my college-aged brother was debating this issue with an ardent environmentalist friend of his whose contention was the-fewer-kids-the-better.  My brother commented, "Well, by that logic we should all commit suicide straightaway," to which his friend replied (quite earnestly), "Even that is not enough!"  So, that's another way to think about it, I suppose...)

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3059
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2013, 08:00:25 PM »
I love having one.

We warmly welcome my kidlet's close friends into our home and take them on outings.

All three of us are happy with one child. We've talked about it with our daughter.

As for us, college is easier to pay for. We can retire when we want. We can remain in a small, cost-efficient home. It helps that my sister also had a singleton and so my kidlet has a sort of built in sister in her cousin.


Gray Matter

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3412
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 08:22:16 PM »
I think it's like so many things in life, you really can't go wrong. Whatever decision you make, you make it right, and there are always trade-offs.

I have three kids, and I can honestly say that some days there just doesn't seem enough of me to go around.  None of my children are going to have every advantage in life, as all the time and resources are divided three ways.  That said, I love having a larger family and if time and money were no object, I'd have (or adopt) another.  I love watching them develop their own relationships and seeing them together is one of my greatest sources of joy. 

It is also one of my greatest sources of frustration, for as they grow older, oh my god, the bickering!  There are times when I want to forbid them from talking, looking at each other, or breathing each other's air.

I am one of four.  My sisters were my playmates growing up, and many of my happiest childhood memories involve them.  That said, I have never felt like they are my "best friends."  They are my sisters, which is something else entirely.  It's good, but not better than best friends.

But now, my mother is in hospice and there have been many, many times through this dying process that I have thought, "I could not do this alone."  My friends and colleagues and neighbors have been wonderful, but they are on the outside looking in, and it's lonely.  Knowing that my sisters are going through this with me and that I am not alone has been a tremendous source of comfort.  And knowing that when we come out the other side, we will have each other is so important in helping me get through this.  During this very difficult time, I would hate to be an only.

But if I were, I am sure I would find comfort in other places.  Really, it's such a personal decision.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 08:24:48 PM by Gray Matter »

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1011
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 09:09:27 PM »
At the end of the day, it's a very personal decision. My sister is 9.5 years old than me, so I feel like I had half the only child experience and half the youngest child experience. I've recently cut ties with her, so what little relationship we had is gone. Obviously this is adding to the emotional factor of it for me, but I have always wanted to badly to have a sister in the truest sense of the word.

Not all siblings are that close. My husband's sister is wonderful but they're very different & they don't have much in common. Personally though, I can't imagine only having one child. I just think that sibling relationship is really wonderful & I want my kids to have that if possible. But only you can say what's best for your child.

mrsggrowsveg

  • Guest
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 07:02:53 AM »
Thank you everyone for your responses.  They are not exactly what I expected from this group but really helpful.  We decided we would wait a few years before doing anything drastic, so we have some time to decide.

Businessgypsy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2013, 08:19:22 AM »
I was one of four - my son (now 34) was an only child. No contest, only child was the perfect way to experience parenthood without surrendering the only life you'll ever have to becoming a life support system to a big family. Understanding that his life belongs to him, I was able to take a lot of time to teach by example how to survive, thrive and be happy on available resources. He turned out great, a happy and very healthy engineer at Intel who bikes to work.

ace1224

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 08:32:05 AM »
i'm one of 2 and close with my brother.  my boyfriend is one of 3 but you wouldn't know it today.  i talk to his brothers more than him and he hasn't seen one of his brothers in over 15 years.
our son is an only, and barring an act of god he will stay that way.  i like having an only.  we do lots of experiences and i know we wouldn't be able to do as many as often if we had to pay for more people.  i have a friend who has 4 kids, and for the most part if she buys for one she has to buy for all. 
not saying that people can't do it, but for us it doesn't cross our minds.  the only thing that sucks is we are an odd number so someone always has to ride alone on amusement park rides lol
our son has adamantly told us that he does not want a brother or a sister usually after he sees his cousins or plays with his friends that have siblings.  he likes having all the attention

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2579
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2013, 01:38:43 PM »
If you're worried about how your child will feel as he grows older, it's natural to wonder "what would life be like if...."  I'm the third of four, and while I can't imagine life without my older siblings, I have wondered how my family would have been changed had my parents not had my younger brother.  (Which is not to say that I have ever wished he hadn't been born, it's just curiosity that's lead to this question.) 
My husband has a slightly different perspective: he had a younger brother who died very soon after birth, and after that his parents had a "whoops" which lead to his younger brother who survived.  So he wonders occasionally how things would have been different if the other brother had survived and his living brother had never been born.  It's strange for him to think about, because he and his living brother are so incredibly close, he can't imagine having that same relationship with someone else.
For us, we're both amazingly close to our siblings and can't imagine life without them.  We've decided on two kids of our own.  If it was me deciding, I'd prefer to leave the option for a third open without definitely saying yes to it, but my husband is adamant about two so that's what it'll be.  (Unless, of course, surprise twins or something.)  As someone else has said, current family health problems play a role in this too.  As my parents age and with the problems that have cropped up, I can't imagine not having my brothers to lean on for support.  Neither can my husband, with his own parents.  Friends and even spouses are great, but they'll never understand your family in quite the same way your siblings do.
I will say, my husband and I do have a fairly rosy view of siblings since we get along so well with ours.  We have plenty of friends who adore their siblings, but also many who don't get along with their siblings at all, and wouldn't see them if not for holiday get-togethers and family functions.  So every family is different.  Even the age of the siblings, and their separation in years, has nothing to do with it, just the temperament of the children in the family.  I don't think there's any way to predict that your kids definitely will or definitely won't get along, or to force them to be close.
I do worry about the environmental toll of having kids, and especially having more than one kid.  But I have quite a few friends who are definitely not having any children, and at least one of my siblings may never have kids, so I feel less bad than I would if I was part of a culture where everyone wanted to (or was expected to) have lots of children. 

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5869
  • Age: 2014
  • Location: Northeast
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2013, 02:02:12 PM »
I am one of three, the oldest of all girls who are 5 and then 2 years apart. We all get along really well now. Growing up, we were poor and my single mom was always stressed about money, so as the oldest I became a bit of the second parent. Because of that, I am the responsible one, always early for everything, always has money saved up, always worries about everyone else. I love my sisters and I wouldn't trade them, but sometimes I think that I would have a lot less stress in my life if I wasn't always concerned for them and their choices (not that they make bad ones - they have both turned into pretty decent people). Obviously this is a personal issue, and one I have been working on - trying to separate my incorrect feelings of personal responsibility, from the normal levels of care and love I have for them.

As for us, DH and I go back and forth. We would love for our (theoretical) child to have a sibling, but we really feel like we could do a better job (financially, emotionally etc) with just one.

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1011
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2013, 02:36:02 PM »
I was one of four - my son (now 34) was an only child. No contest, only child was the perfect way to experience parenthood without surrendering the only life you'll ever have to becoming a life support system to a big family. Understanding that his life belongs to him, I was able to take a lot of time to teach by example how to survive, thrive and be happy on available resources. He turned out great, a happy and very healthy engineer at Intel who bikes to work.

Every mustachian's dream! :)

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2013, 08:25:22 PM »
I'm an only and that was good.  I got a lot more stuff (time, attention, opportunities) than if I'd had siblings.  Sure, it would be great to have had a sibling that would grow up to be my close friend and supporter, etc.  But I see as many siblings that didn't grow up to be that as did.  And I have noticed that when parents die, families often fracture.  When there's an extended illness, siblings often end up refusing to speak to each other.  I know at least six cases where this has happened.  So I think there are potential down sides in addition to the up sides.  And I've got a lot of friends who go way back, plus more extended family, so I'm not lacking for people to be with.

My child is also an only.  He's fine and again, we're able to give him lots more time, attention and opportunities than if we had another.  His dad is one of three, but none of the three are close.  They send Christmas cards, but that's it.  My son is also very sociable and has a lot of friends, some of whom will probably be his friends for many years. 

So really the variables are so great that there's no pattern.  I personally really liked being an only.  I'm sure it also depends on the quality of family life in general.  I'm sure you'll be fine whatever you decide -- that's what makes deciding so hard.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8975
  • Location: Australia
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2013, 08:57:04 PM »
My best friend is on only, and she says it was so lonely that she'd really encourage me to have two even if I only want one.

But as she points out, she grew up with a single mum, so it was just two people in her household. I think it would be very different to be an only with two parents, maybe some grandparents involved, maybe some cousins the same age.

Personally, while I love my siblings, only one of them doesn't cause me any angst. The other two are a trial as well as a joy, just as I suspect I am to them. Any children I have probably won't have cousins their own age, so I'd have two or more in that case. But if they have cousins the exact same age (which is really only a possibility with one of my BF's brothers), I'd be inclined to only have one and just share parenting with the other set of parents. With two sets of parents school pickups etc would be a heck of a lot easier! And we'll most likely be living in the same suburb with similar lifestyles anyway. So that could work really well.

Anatidae V

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8453
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Fourecks
  • Nullus Anxietas
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2013, 11:38:21 PM »
I +1 the natural curiosity. I used to wonder what it might have been like if my parents had decided not to get married,if it might have been just me and mum, or if my last sibling hadn't been born (high chance of spinabifida). I love my 3 siblings and being their big sister, though I would have loved cousins my own age. We're quite well spaced, with 2 to 4 years between us, 9 years between myself and the youngest. All my cousins are more than 2 years younger than my youngest sister. I don't think you need to have more than 1 child, but a close relationship with other children Whose parents you are likely to always keep in touch with would also let them create strong bonds.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • Location: NZ
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2013, 05:01:45 AM »
Our kids have just turned 3 and 1, and they are already developing strong bonds playing and giggling together. Something that I'm very glad they can experience.

My wife and I both came from 2 child households, and in a weird twist of circumstance my brother and his family literally live across the road from us.

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2579
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2013, 11:28:49 AM »
But as she points out, she grew up with a single mum, so it was just two people in her household. I think it would be very different to be an only with two parents, maybe some grandparents involved, maybe some cousins the same age.

Yes to the cousins!  My mom was also one of four, and the cousins seem to have come mostly in 2 waves - those around the ages of my older brothers (who are 6 and 4 years older than I) and then my wave, with 5 of us all within a couple of years of each other.  The only outlier is my younger brother (5 years my junior) who was never really left out because he was so much younger as to be cool.
We didn't live close to my cousins during most of my childhood, but that hasn't affected the relationships I have with them at all.  If I didn't have siblings, I would most definitely be grateful to have so many cousins around my age.  And it's something I worry about with my little one, who will be the first on both sides and likely to stay that way for a while.  Once again, my own cousins (and my husband's) are coming to the rescue, as BabyX is part of a new wave of little cousins born/to be born this year.

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3059
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2013, 01:29:41 PM »
Thank you everyone for your responses.  They are not exactly what I expected from this group but really helpful.  We decided we would wait a few years before doing anything drastic, so we have some time to decide.

Just curious. What were you expecting?

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5873
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2013, 11:03:01 AM »
We had one son in our late 30's, and he is awesome.  He's 7 now and we were definitely "one and done".  Gave away all the toys/ clothes as he grew out of them.  We only saved a few "big ticket" items for my friend who was seriously dating and I was hoping would need the crib some day...

Then my son was 3 and started begging for a baby sister because all of his friends had them.  We decided to try for a 2nd.  It didn't happen.  By this time we were over 40.  So we gave away the last of the baby items to other friends (previous friend just got new for her baby, now she has 3!)

Don'tcha know that 6 weeks after we gave away the crib we got pregnant.  It's awesome.  I now have a 7 year old and a 16 month old.  I love seeing the two of them together (I have two boys).  But boy, it is hard.  A LOT easier to have them 6 years apart (the 6 year old listened to me, no chasing a toddler with an infant, etc.)  The first 2-3 years are so exhausting and I didn't miss that.  That was a BIG reason why I'd planned to stop at one.  Plus I was 42 with #2.

I think we would be perfectly happy with just the one, but I don't regret #2 one bit.  My friends who stopped at one?  They are able to do things now that we cannot.  With a 7 year old you are more mobile for vacations, camping, fun outings, in a way that it's hard to do with a toddler (not to mention the exhaustion).  Plus there's that whole daycare bill again.  ($13k a year times 5 years...)

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3107
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2013, 11:07:45 PM »
I am married and 25 years old.  My husband is 31 and we have a 10 month old son.  I know every parent thinks this, but for us he really is perfect in every way.  We both work outside of the home and he attends a corporate daycare where I visit him during lunch and breaks.  Our life seems really great right now as a family of three.  We try to live a very eco-friendly lifestyle and having just one child seems like the appropriate thing to do.  We also would like to travel once we are FI.  My question for you all is, how is life with an only child, advantages/disadvantages?  If you have more kids, how is that?  Also, how did you know for sure you only wanted one?  Making this decision could require some permanent modifications, so I am hoping that I am 100% sure.
My spouse and I are both the oldest of two siblings, and when we were growing up we both fought constantly with our siblings.  (Poor relationship skills.)  We completely understood what it was like to have brothers and we fantasized about being onlies-- while occasionally attempting to make those fantasies come true.

Our daughter was born into the class of kids euphemistically called "high-needs babies".  Most of her life has been too noisy, too bright, too stimulating, and definitely too awake.  She woke us up 2-3x/night for almost every night of her first eight years of life... and then sporadically for the next eight years after that (just to keep us on our toes proficient).  We were outflanked and undergunned from the minute my spouse went into labor, and to this day I don't know how I coped with the "Lost Sleep" toddler-kindergarten years.  If a geneticist had sat down with us for pre-pregnancy screening and said "Listen, you're both double-recessive for high-needs babies"... well... there would've been some long, thoughtful discussions about remaining childless.  Six months into our daughter's life, we knew we were done procreating.

Our daughter really wanted a sister when she was growing up, until she started spending time with other kids who had siblings.  Pretty soon she realized it was kinda nice having your own bedroom and your own bathroom, to say nothing of the full attention of two (chronically sleep-deprived) parents.  From elementary through high school, our house became the hangout for kids who were hiding from their siblings.  It was nice when they (or at least most of them) went home at the end of the day and we could once again be introverted together in the same house.  It's also nice when parents can bond together to attempt to override a kid's demands.  I'm not sure that works with more than one child.

I don't think the number of children affects the individual results of each child's growth.  Siblings deliberately differentiate themselves to avoid competition (read Judith Harris' books on the subject:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Rich_Harris) so they all raise themselves to some extent.  Our daughter's biggest challenge on leaving home for college was learning to share a bathroom with three other girls, and she somehow managed to survive the trauma.  However I think the number of children will definitely affect your financial and retirement planning, although of course children are perhaps a higher priority than the financial/retirement planning.

So keep in mind that at least half of the parents of onlies have made a family decision based on adverse risk-- they're just not willing to chance breeding a second kid who might be as tough to raise as the first one.  (By the way, the Navy gives free vasectomies.)  Kids also don't miss what they've never had, so ideally you'd make the decision based on your own parental preferences and not on what you think your other kid(s) might want.

You'll know when your family is the right size-- or, in the case of multiples, when you've overshot the mark. 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5873
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2013, 02:35:32 PM »
I am married and 25 years old.  My husband is 31 and we have a 10 month old son.  I know every parent thinks this, but for us he really is perfect in every way.  We both work outside of the home and he attends a corporate daycare where I visit him during lunch and breaks.  Our life seems really great right now as a family of three.  We try to live a very eco-friendly lifestyle and having just one child seems like the appropriate thing to do.  We also would like to travel once we are FI.  My question for you all is, how is life with an only child, advantages/disadvantages?  If you have more kids, how is that?  Also, how did you know for sure you only wanted one?  Making this decision could require some permanent modifications, so I am hoping that I am 100% sure.
My spouse and I are both the oldest of two siblings, and when we were growing up we both fought constantly with our siblings.  (Poor relationship skills.)  We completely understood what it was like to have brothers and we fantasized about being onlies-- while occasionally attempting to make those fantasies come true.

Our daughter was born into the class of kids euphemistically called "high-needs babies".  Most of her life has been too noisy, too bright, too stimulating, and definitely too awake.  She woke us up 2-3x/night for almost every night of her first eight years of life... and then sporadically for the next eight years after that (just to keep us on our toes proficient).  We were outflanked and undergunned from the minute my spouse went into labor, and to this day I don't know how I coped with the "Lost Sleep" toddler-kindergarten years.  If a geneticist had sat down with us for pre-pregnancy screening and said "Listen, you're both double-recessive for high-needs babies"... well... there would've been some long, thoughtful discussions about remaining childless.  Six months into our daughter's life, we knew we were done procreating.

Our daughter really wanted a sister when she was growing up, until she started spending time with other kids who had siblings.  Pretty soon she realized it was kinda nice having your own bedroom and your own bathroom, to say nothing of the full attention of two (chronically sleep-deprived) parents.  From elementary through high school, our house became the hangout for kids who were hiding from their siblings.  It was nice when they (or at least most of them) went home at the end of the day and we could once again be introverted together in the same house.  It's also nice when parents can bond together to attempt to override a kid's demands.  I'm not sure that works with more than one child.

I don't think the number of children affects the individual results of each child's growth.  Siblings deliberately differentiate themselves to avoid competition (read Judith Harris' books on the subject:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Rich_Harris) so they all raise themselves to some extent.  Our daughter's biggest challenge on leaving home for college was learning to share a bathroom with three other girls, and she somehow managed to survive the trauma.  However I think the number of children will definitely affect your financial and retirement planning, although of course children are perhaps a higher priority than the financial/retirement planning.

So keep in mind that at least half of the parents of onlies have made a family decision based on adverse risk-- they're just not willing to chance breeding a second kid who might be as tough to raise as the first one.  (By the way, the Navy gives free vasectomies.)  Kids also don't miss what they've never had, so ideally you'd make the decision based on your own parental preferences and not on what you think your other kid(s) might want.

You'll know when your family is the right size-- or, in the case of multiples, when you've overshot the mark.
I think my sister had a similar experience.  She and her husband and both introverts.  She found it difficult to have only one child because he didn't have anyone to play with. So the parents were the playmates (which is our experience from our first child).  That doesn't allow for a lot of parental "down time".  She used to tell me to have two to avoid this (but what did she know?)

I'm not sure if a 6 year gap is a good thing yet or not.  The lack of sleep means that there was no way we were having 2 kids 2 years apart (but baby #2 - MUCH better sleeper than #1 as an infant.  Luckily kid #1 sleeps like the dead now, so that any crying from his brother does not wake him up).  But I'm not sure that I'm going to get the benefit of the boys playing together.  Now we split the difference so we still don't get a lot of free time/ personal time/ couple time.

acroy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1705
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Dallas TX
    • SWAMI
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2013, 11:17:03 AM »
I'm father of 5, spaced about every 2 years. One set of surprise twins (well all twins are surprises).

Tell you what, this is the best friggin job in the world. We're trying for 6 now. Wife and I took a few years before kids to have some 'alone' time, see the world a bit, and you know what - we really don't miss it at all. there is nothing better or more rewarding in our experience than raising the offspring - nothing, not even close. We're their guide, mentor, ringleader, educator, etc - pure awesome.

Mae80s

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Location: Canuckistan
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2013, 12:35:58 PM »
My BF is an only child, and swears he would never "do that" to his own kid.  I have 2 sisters, and while growing up I sure wished I was an only child, they are now my closest friends.  Friends come & go, but they're family, ya know?  In fact, they may be the only people in my life who I'm not sure how I would bear to lose.  I have no kids yet, and while losing a parent would be awful, it is something I expect in my lifetime.  My sisters?  Unthinkable.

I wonder if there's a study somewhere about how onlies tend to feel about it.  Do they in general like being the only child, or feel like they missed out on siblings?

x2

Though growing up, I LOVED being an only. There are many pros to not having siblings, however it's now as an adult, that I feel differently.

I have sworn NOT to only have one child. My main reason is that I'm witnessing my parents age and I feel very alone with having to be there for them. Both are independent and healthy (at 60 and 72) ... but I am very aware that as they age, I am their only next of kin. Furthermore when dealing with them (and I do love them dearly) I often wish I had someone to laugh at their neurotic behavior and foibles. Siblings commiserate with each other. Usually.

Anyway, honestly, I think to deliberately choose to have one is placing an unnecessary, unfair burden on your child. I was supposed to have a sibling, but infertility happened. I know life happens (i.e. divorce or my aunt that stopped at one, because my cousin is autistic), but if you're able, your first kid is healthy and you aren't dirt poor, then have a second kid.
 
Also, contrary to what others said here, I do think you have to do what's in the best interest of the child and not "parental preferences." A euphemism for selfishness if I heard one. And no I won't apologize before someone inevitably flames me for that comment. 

I'd be furious at my parents had they CHOSEN to only have me because they wanted more money in their retirement. 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 12:50:14 PM by Mae80s »

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3521
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2013, 05:06:40 PM »
We have a huge number of friends with "onlies", and it seems to be a 50-50 proposition.  About half of them have done very well with their "only", whereas the other half have spoiled them rotten.  I really do think that when you only have one, you have to work harder at reminding yourself that you cannot give them everything you can afford to give them, and you have to work hard at remembering that they are not little adults. 

Sharing one's childhood with a sibling is an early lesson in the fact that you personally are not the center of the world.   

I'm not sure it isn't harder to raise just one.  Oh, you wouldn't think that in the first years -- I found babies and toddlers to be difficult -- I found my kids to be much easier about the time they started school, but that's probably my personal temperament.  Holidays and celebrations are so much more fun with more than one kid, and having a built-in best friend is a great thing.  How do you get them to be best friends?  I don't know.  My siblings and I weren't, but my kids are.  Where did I go right?  I honestly don't know. 


giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2013, 11:15:23 AM »
I love being an only child!  I had/have tons of friends, with siblings that have "adopted" me.  Never missed having a brother since so many of my girlfriends had brother they were willing to share.   Never missed a sister since I had friends!

I was also heavily involved in sports/sorority/clubs at different times, so I never lacked someone to call if I needed help or just wanted to chat.  I also love being the apple of my family's eye, since I am also the only grandchild on one side.  Also had some cousins on the other side to pal around with.  I am well-adjusted (compare to the fear that singles are somehow selfish/ackward/maladapted), so people can't believe I am an only child.  I also spent a decent amount of time around adults-only as a child, so I learned how to behave and interact with adults at a young age. 

I did SO MUCH as a kid and young adult, simply because my parents had the means to do so.  Catholic school, extensive international travel, "upper crust" Main-Line Philly type things they would not have done otherwise.

I would love to have 1 child since I can only see the plus side of 2 income, 1 kid, but spouse is set on more than 1.  I would  totally do it if he agreed!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 11:19:09 AM by giggles »

jbird

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2013, 02:50:12 PM »
I currently have an only, and I think it's fantastic. The three of us have a great family dynamic, and my four year old daughter has such a great imagination, that she can play on her own very well. We travel quite a bit, and it's perfect as most of the planes have three seats across. We have been enrolled in play groups and preschool since she was a toddler, so she has been exposed to many different kinds of children, and knows the world doesn't revolve around her. We have several friends who have chosen to remain parents to an "only" and they are very happy and fulfilled. While we love our little family, we would like to have one more child. I believe we could be very happy with one child though. There are so many benefits, the most appealing to me, being the close relationship many "onlies" have with their parents.

Freckles

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5115
  • Age: 2014
  • Location: West Coast, USA
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2013, 08:39:19 AM »
Those of us who are parents of more than one, were parents of only one for a while as well.  Unless your first birth results in twins or triplets, you've got both experiences.  So anyway, it was nice when we only had one.  She was our world and it was great fun to watch her developing.  And when she was three, we had our son.  It was, for us, not ten times harder or even double.  In some ways, there's more work because you have another human to care for.  And of course, there is more cost, but I wouldn't say double.  But in other ways, there's less work because you have a built-in entertainment in your house that does not come from you.  We were surprised at how early the baby and and the three-year-old played together.  As they grow, it only increases.  There are some times that it is limiting, like when your four-year-old is ready and able to do some activity, but your it's not appropriate for a one-year-old.  But the that time is very short, and the amount of fun the two have together more than makes up for what you might be missing out on.  Having two kids in the house produces more mess, but tons more laughter, hugs, cuddles, and just plain fun.  I feel lucky every day that we have two, and that my two have each other as well.  I wish I were younger and could have more.  If I knew earlier what I know now, I'd have started much younger and have more kids.

feelingroovy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2013, 08:36:59 PM »

From the perspective of a parent, we had our second when our first was about 2.5 years old.  Our first was an "easy" baby: slept a lot, virtually never fussed, no health issues, etc.  Our second was and (to some degree) continues to be very hard.  She had colic and acid reflux, so for the first four months, from about 6pm until midnight, our choice was to constantly execute all of the 5 S's or listen to her wail.  She's six months now, and the evenings aren't as intense, but she keeps getting colds, which means the fussiness comes and goes and sleep is problematic.

...

My wife and I knew from the start that we both wanted two kids, so I'm definitely going to get a "permanent modification".  But if I could have seen into the future before conceiving #2, it might have changed my desire to have two.  My wife doesn't feel the same.

At any rate, for now I'm just a complainypants, because both kids are healthy and thriving, and things should get easier at some point.  But sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when all at once you're completely sleep-deprived, the baby is screaming, and the toddler is getting into trouble.


Oh, not to hijack the thread, but I just had to respond.

Your second sounds just like my first.  Cried and cried and barely slept.  Had to be bounced and held constantly.  Started when he was 4 days old and I don't even remember how long it lasted. 

But it gets better.  Much, much better.  It got noticeably better once he could crawl, then walk. Got easier again once he turned 2.  Which is when we first really considered a second.  Because we realized babyhood was finite.  We seriously almost didn't have the second, and I was so worried I had such terrible insomnia when pregnant with the second that my midwife put me on early disability.  That was a big leap of faith.

He is now 13 and is the sweetest, easiest, most helpful boy.  Once he got past babyhood, he became the easy one.  My second, the happy baby, is very strong willed and will probably be the death of me once she's a teenager.  But really, there are both such sweet kids and their infanthood feels so long ago now.

To the OP, I'm glad I had two, but only b/c I really wanted two.  But if we had one, travel, daycare, college, all costs would be less.  We'd be able to retire sooner, for sure.   




CaseyJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2013, 10:59:43 PM »
I agree with others who say do not choose to have an only simply for financial reasons. In fact, I would never let money determine whether to have zero or one or two kids (unless one is paying for in vitro fertilization). Nobody I know reached the financial situation they are currently in based on whether they had one additional kid or not. Like many, I agree that no amount of money could substitute for the experiences I had growing up with a sibling. That said, I am a parent of an only, but for reasons other than financial ones. I am sure she will not suffer too much from not having a sibling -- she has friends and gets loads of parental attention.
Yes, a kid costs a lot, but a Mustacian (sp?) can figure out how to make it work.

clutchy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2013, 10:25:39 AM »
I generally consider that if you're in a decent financial position have good health that you should be reproducing and extending your good genes into the pool.

I'm not a fan of ceding this world to barbarian breeders.

Mrs MM

  • Administrator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 367
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2013, 11:14:05 AM »
There will be an MMM article on this eventually.

Yes, it is a very personal decision as people have said. We have one by choice and absolutely, completely love it. Our son loves it (we've talked about it a lot and he is adamant that he doesn't want a sibling).

I think the hardest thing about having one child is making the choice (if you have the choice, that is). You should have heard the comments I got from complete strangers about how we were selfish, ruining our son's life, etc. I read many books on the subject and while the decision was very hard at the outset, I am sooo glad we went this route.

Here are some of the reasons we love having one:

- we spend a lot of time with him - a LOT. We read to him, teach him things, and have a very close relationship. We can do things together without distraction.
- it is good for your adult relationship - I don't know about you, but my relationship with my spouse is very important. With one, I'm able to have my cake and eat it too. Children will almost always cause tension in a relationship in one way or another, so this was something I was very aware of when choosing to have one.
- we have friends over very often - we usually bring home one or two kids with us every day after school. Our son gets a lot of playtime with other kids, but it is usually quality time and when it's over, we get our quiet home back. We actually end up helping a lot of friends this way, as we're always willing to watch someone's kid.
- when our son is off somewhere, we get time to ourselves.
- everything I've read has indicated that only children do not fit the only child stereotypes at all. They are completely and totally normal with the same amount of friends as other kids and actually tend to excel academically compared to their peers.
- siblings don't necessarily get along with each other. There's no guarantee that your second child will become a playmate for the first.
- a lot of people say they have their first child for themselves and the second for their first child. That doesn't make sense to me. I wanted to have all my children because I really wanted them. Not every parent has an incredible urge to have a second like they do for the first. The first child was easy for me, the second was a struggle. I had more of an "let's get this over with" attitude (we always wanted 2).

The book I read is: "Parenting an Only Child: the Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only" by Susan Newman. I also read a lot online. Money never played a role in our decision.

Every family is different. A lot of children that were only children had a hard time being on their own due to a family situation or just due to personality. When I looked up stories online, many of the only kids hated being only children. But I had to keep reminding myself that my kid is different and my family is different. I also think that you won't know whether you want more kids until you've had your first. Keep an open mind, follow your own instincts (not those of society or others that are pressuring you) and see what happens.

By the way, we have a lot of friends with one child. It's definitely something more families are doing now.

mrsggrowsveg

  • Guest
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2013, 02:46:55 PM »
Thank you for all of your great responses.  Just to clarify, we are not thinking about having only one child because of finances.  Although, it does cost less to have one child, in the end family is not something we would consider an expense.  I really feel like we had our first child for us and are only thinking about having a second child so that he can have a companion.  The opinions and experiences of only children versus children with siblings seems so mixed that it will take a lot of personal reflection and planning.  Again, thank you for sharing your stories with me.

Unique User

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 500
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2013, 02:52:34 PM »
It looks like a lot of great responses on here.  As a parent that has chosen to only have one child, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.  Although there is definitely a financial benefit to one, that also was not the reason why we chose one child.  We had several reason why and although I agree there are drawbacks, I am glad we only have one.  My daughter is 12 and goes back and forth on wanting a sibling, but she also has 14 first cousins and our house is always open to her friends.  She has friends over all the time, including last weekend having three friends spend both Friday and Saturday night with us.  Most of the parents of her friends don't allow the multiple kid sleepovers like we do.  I don't mind having a bunch of kids over on the weekends because my weeks are peaceful and I get to hear all the gossip!!

We have always spent a lot of time with her and while we don't spoil her with material things, we certainly spoil her with attention and experiences.  She travels with us, has a passport, gets to do very cool summer camps and on some trips, we have her bring a friend.  We will be able to help her out a lot more with college also, I graduated with $25k in student loan debt 22 years ago and still remember how hard it was to pay off.  Where we currently live (suburbia of a fairly big city), she is unusual to be an "onlie", but she is also unusual in that her parents are still married to each other.  Where she was born (ski town in Colorado), probably 60%+ of her friends were "onlies".  It does make things easier with just one, both of us working full time is not an issue and we've made two cross country moves (and probably one more within the next year) that certainly were much, much easier.   

Meggslynn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2013, 03:26:46 PM »

Its awesome. I feel like I have a really fantastic balance in my life.

I don't feel like we are depriving our son of siblings as he has more friends than he knows what to do with (and he is only 2 years old).
I wish my parents had more time for me growing up but my two older sisters took all their attention. They (my sisters) made my childhood very very hard.

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2013, 04:05:53 PM »
This is such an interesting topic, and an interesting thread! Sorry I don't have any insight to offer, no kids yet :) It sure sounds like it is completely unique to each family/kid. For those of you who have onlies that have specifically told you they don't want siblings, that is awesome and would make me feel SO good about that choice!

I'm not sure if a 6 year gap is a good thing yet or not.  The lack of sleep means that there was no way we were having 2 kids 2 years apart (but baby #2 - MUCH better sleeper than #1 as an infant.  Luckily kid #1 sleeps like the dead now, so that any crying from his brother does not wake him up).  But I'm not sure that I'm going to get the benefit of the boys playing together.  Now we split the difference so we still don't get a lot of free time/ personal time/ couple time.

I have one sister 5 1/2 years younger than me. Growing up I ALWAYS wished we were closer in age, especially in high school when many of my friends had siblings that were also in high school... that just seemed fun, compared to my sister and I who really didn't "get" each other at all. Now that I am 25 and she is 20, I love it. For one thing, we get along much better now that she is out of the completely insane phase that I think most people go through somewhere like ages 12-17 :) From my end, I just enjoy talking to her and I feel like I am old-er enough that I actually got to "watch her grow up" a little bit, which is always entertaining. From her end, I think it's a good thing that I am young enough to provide a helpful counterpoint to my mom's feedback/advice (because everyone knows moms are soooo out of it sometimes, even though they love you :)) but still old enough that I can give her some legit adult advice (mostly because I have successfully made it out the other side of college and all the relationship and other drama that comes with that time period).

I don't know, I just really love it. I have thought about trying to space my kids out the same way for the reasons you mentioned... having 2 kids under 3 years old sounds just kind of horrifying and overwhelming, especially because I'm not that into really little kids to begin with. Good point though that you may to some extent miss out on the "them playing together and occupying each other" bonus...

Financial Threedom

  • Guest
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2013, 09:07:09 PM »
Great topic.  As a new parent (wife and I have a 6 month old) this is something that has crossed my mind a lot recently.  I had always been on the fence on having one child, or none, leaning toward none.  I thought that would be the only decision I would have to make, because for sure I did not want 2.  However in the last few weeks it has crossed my mind about having another, mostly for my son's benefit. 

I grew up with a younger sister, 5 years apart, and I would say we got along well, with the typical teenage fight thrown in.  Looking back I would say I'm glad she was around, and even more glad she is around now as an aunt to my son.   I had always though if I had a child, it would be one, and he/she would have the same great family time I had with cousins/aunts/uncles/grandparents, however, it appears that may not be the case for my son.  My sister is childless, and unlikely to have any soon, and my while my wife has nieces, there are no nephews, the 4 nieces are all much older than my son, the closest in age is now 4, and half of them live out of town.  So I'm sure my son wont have the same connection I had with my 3 male cousins,who were all within 2 years of age of me, and who were like another set of best friends to me.  Also my dad had a big family, so there were lots of visits from uncles/aunts.  Not to mention the grandfathers, both lived until I was in my 20s, and were in decent shape until their final years.  Each of my wife's and I's fathers are already at least 70, so chances are he wont be throwing a football around with them when he is older.   So, sadly, it appears to be turning out that my son won't quite have anywhere near the same family experience I had growing up.   

We consider ourselves "old" for new parents, at 36 and 37.  So even if we decided to have a second, we aren't getting younger.  Our first was, and still is somewhat, difficult, and there were times when I found the parenting experience to be very difficult and frustrating.  Im not confident I could handle another if the second would be as difficult as the first up to this point.  I'm quite certain we are going to stick to our plan and just have one, but I do admit there is just a bit of doubt in my mind currently. 

Roses

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2013, 01:18:38 AM »
I have just one for now.  I always thought I'd have several but then I decided to wait a few years after the first to sort out some medical issues.  Now that I have the green light to get pregnant again I'm hesitating slightly.  As my son gets older and easier I find it's so much fun to do things just the 3 of us.  We've taken him on trips and done things that we probably wouldn't do with more than 1 kid.  On the other hand, I'm the oldest of two sisters and I always loved our lively household.  Even though I terrorized them as kids I'm very close with them now.  I can't imagine not having that and I do want that for our son.  So my conclusion is that having 1 kid is definitely easier on the parents, and also has it's merits for the kid.  But overall, I think children tend to value having siblings more than not.  And when the second comes along people never seem to regret it :)  The nice thing is you're very young so you can take your time to think about it!

killingxspree

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2013, 05:07:58 AM »

I have one sister 5 1/2 years younger than me. Growing up I ALWAYS wished we were closer in age, especially in high school when many of my friends had siblings that were also in high school... that just seemed fun, compared to my sister and I who really didn't "get" each other at all. Now that I am 25 and she is 20, I love it. For one thing, we get along much better now that she is out of the completely insane phase that I think most people go through somewhere like ages 12-17 :) From my end, I just enjoy talking to her and I feel like I am old-er enough that I actually got to "watch her grow up" a little bit, which is always entertaining. From her end, I think it's a good thing that I am young enough to provide a helpful counterpoint to my mom's feedback/advice (because everyone knows moms are soooo out of it sometimes, even though they love you :)) but still old enough that I can give her some legit adult advice (mostly because I have successfully made it out the other side of college and all the relationship and other drama that comes with that time period).

I don't know, I just really love it. I have thought about trying to space my kids out the same way for the reasons you mentioned... having 2 kids under 3 years old sounds just kind of horrifying and overwhelming, especially because I'm not that into really little kids to begin with. Good point though that you may to some extent miss out on the "them playing together and occupying each other" bonus...

I sort of had the same thing. I always wished my sister and I were closer in age. Growing up I really hated the gap (7 years!). Although we are very close now... She's 15 and I'm 22... I would still never have a 7 year gap between kids. Honestly growing up we were both pretty miserable. We had zero common ground and family vacations were an exercise in torture because my parents would drag us around 'fun' kid friendly places I had grown out of and was too big to go on the rides. I would rather have only one then have 2 with a gap bigger then 4 years.

milla

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
  • Age: 34
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2013, 11:39:26 PM »
We only wanted one... until we didn't. When she was 3 years old we started to want another child. We had never even considered it before. We weren't thinking about her at all, we just wanted another one. We had one, they are four years apart, they are decidedly NOT friends and they will always be at different stages in life until they're grown up. We don't care. We had our kids when we wanted them and our relationship with each is unique and our parenting is totally different.
Now the little one is two. I have no idea if we will have more. I have no need to plan it or "get it over with" or anything. We focus on our kids now and if we ever think of another one we will deal with it then.
If you'd asked me at ten months old after either kid if I wanted more the answer would've been an enthusiastic HELL  NO! kids are a big deal. They deserve the best from you and only you can decide what your limits are. But you don't have to decide any time soon. 

AllChoptUp

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 180
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2014, 01:40:45 PM »
We are veterans of the fertility wars and have a wonderful 3 year old boy as a result.  He was very high needs from the start and still wakes us a few times a night.  And he's the apple of our eyes. 

Being a parent is the most fun and rewarding thing I've ever done.  I want another child to extend the time we have children to parent...three years have flown by and he'll be in school before we know it.  We are older and have done all the globe trotting and partying we can stand.  Fun for us isn't staying out late, it's snuggling up on the couch watching the latest animated pixar flick.

We tried for #2 when our son turned 3 but it was a no-go.  Going to try one more time this year after which we are out of chances.  I will be sorely disappointed if things don't turn out but we are so fortunate to have our son.  I truly envy those who can easily have children. 

annie

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Parents of onlies tell me how it is
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2014, 09:38:49 PM »
We have an only.. this was not by choice but by health.  I come from a large family.

Interestingly.. we live in an urban area down-town.. over half of her friends are also onlies... it is very common where we live.  Vancouver is a very expensive place to live with small houses or condos.

I feel worse about her being an only child than she does.  My daughter aged 12 does not want siblings.. in fact when we talked about adoption she jokingly said she would move out.  My daughter is the pied piper of kids in the neighbourhood.. a fantastic highly sought after babysitter.. but is really glad to come home to her house - alone - when the day is done.

Life happens and is what you make of it. 

Happiness is about having a secure, happy, involved and engaged family.  Family is what you make of it.. including your extended family,  community, friends, religion (should that be important to you) and every other wonderful person you meet who adds to your life. We have the most amazing extended family ever.

It is about the parents introducing the child to this community that is important.. not the number of people in the house. 

My two cents!

Ann