My daughter, Conley, doesn’t need a scary Halloween costume. She already terrifies the town-folk: She is an only child.
From the time that I was pregnant and claimed that I was going to be “one and done”, many people have shared their strong opinions about only children.
My best friend, who has four siblings, told me that it was child abuse to have only one child (ahem, she has no children and plans to keep it that way).
Only children are pitied. Bless their hearts, no one to play with. They are stereotyped. Bless their hearts, spoiled, demanding, petulant, singular spawn of Satan.
I am undoubtedly biased, but I don’t think that she is any of those things — for the most part. She is smart, mannerly, empathetic and sweet — for the most part.
For a while I fretted about these only-child fears and we seriously considered having another child – mainly because I felt that is what we were supposed to do. Have one, have another.
We three, Tony, Conley and I, make a good team. We work together, play together, stand together, stay together. Tony and I take our job as parents seriously, but we also really enjoy being adults, and individuals.
I love being Conley’s mom. I believe that it is what I was put on earth to do, be her mom. Her goofy, dancing, gap-toothed smile makes my worst day with her better than my best day without her. I’m pretty good at it, I think, most days.
However, I do not blink, do not stutter when I state, “I’m good, I’m done.”
Parenting is time-consuming. In fact, I am writing this as I sit at my daughter’s volleyball practice.
Oh, and it is expensive. Like, beach house on the French Rivieria expensive.
One main reason I don’t want to have another kid? Because even though the first year of Conley’s life was the happiest time of my life, it was also the most stressful 12 months of my rock-steady marriage.
No one tells you that your marriage is going to really suck for a bit. For some reason, people fail to mention that not only are you suddenly responsible for the very being of another human, but you are also going to have to fight like hell for your relationship.
Tony and I had hellacious fights. I threatened to leave, take my baby. And in the moment, I meant it. I resented his freedom. He resented that I was too tired to care about him.
Maybe things would be different. Maybe we would immediately know how to adjust this time, but I seriously doubt it. Just as when two became three and there were issues, when three became four there would be new issues.
And, insert your eye roll here, Conley is a really good kid. She has a good disposition. She is strong-willed, but respectful. She has an old soul, but has impeccable, comedic timing.
Somehow she has gotten the good parts of her dad and me and molded them into her kick-ass self.
This will not happen again.
Undoubtedly, number two would get all the bad, the dark, the twisted, the arrogant parts of our DNA.
I’m okay with people, like my best friend, who don’t want to have children. Did having one change my life, make me a better person, give me purpose and clarity? Yes, yes and yes.
Does this happen for everyone? I don’t think so. I’m cool with people who want to have two, three or four kids. I’m perfectly fine if you want to go straight Duggar on your uterus. If it works for you, knock yourself out.
There is no “right” amount of children, but there is a right amount for you.
Photo Credit: Sosha Lewis
This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.