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Parents of an ONLY child....
Do you sometimes feel different?

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90 replies to this topic

#1 CalmMyFarm

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:15 PM

As a mum of an only child I sometimes feel like I'm treated differently by other mums (not always).  Almost as though I'm only half a mum.  Am I being ridiculous - as in, is it just my imagination, or have any of you parents of only children felt similarly?

#2 Maple Leaf

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:18 PM

I am an only child (but have 2 kids myself) and have experienced people telling me that I'm not part of a real family as I had no siblings.

Complete and utter idiots. Try to rise above it.

#3 TillyTake2

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:25 PM

I'm currently a parent of an only child but we do plan to have more.

I can only give the perspective of what I think when I see parents of only children... I don't think they are "half" parents or look down on them or anything but I do sometimes wonder if they had an only child by choice or circumstance original.gif

#4 Mishu

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:37 PM

I can only give the perspective of what I think when I see parents of only children... I don't think they are "half" parents or look down on them or anything but I do sometimes wonder if they had an only child by choice or circumstance

And therein lies the assumption that there is something odd/wrong about only having one child, that there must be a reason for it.

I have one child, by circumstance. I would have loved more. But I don't look at parents with 2 or more kids and wonder, did they choose to have that many or was one of them an 'oops'. It bugs me when people question why I have only had one; I don't ask them why they had two or more. A parent is a parent, regardless of whether you have one, a dozen or look after a child not born of you.

OP, I think I understand what you are saying. I have received a few 'oh, it must be easy with just one' from some I meet. I think I was far more tolerant of these comments when I was younger, I get shirty now that I am old and grumpy lol.

#5 MarigoldMadge

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

I'm a mum of only one child, and I'm not happy about that, would love to have more but am slowly working towards accepting this is it.

I have felt some things etc from others, everyone I know has 3+ kids, but I'm also realising that I'm seeing that through my own prism of not being happy.

I think I'm over-interpreting/amplifying what is really not there, and it's my negative thoughts that I'm actually hearing, not other peoples.

Not saying that you are unhappy with having an only child, that's just my experience.

#6 Brrrroooce!

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

I have thought at times that people view having only one child as "Parenting Lite"

Comments like "how can you be tired" and "wait till you have another one" (especially when you're not having another one).

#7 lucky 2

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

I have one child (and no more for me) and I did tend to feel this more when dd was more dependant (she is 8 now) as I could see the heavier work loads of my friends who have more than on child and feel the comparison with myself, less of a workload.
I did get some comments (one child is a hobby!) but I really think it was mostly me who was doing the comparision and finding myself wanting.
I don't think of it much now.
Actually, I did think of it this morning in school assembly,
I was thinking of how the parents of 2 or more kids tend to be more prominent at the school, they can be more visible, be more active across many areas.
I supposed this was because they are often at the primary school for longer than 7 years (with 2 or more kids moving through) and get more contact with different teachers and parents.
It made sense to me.
I know less of what is going on probably because of this but I'm ok with that.
I think it is quite different having one to having more children in all sorts of ways, obvious and subtle.
I try to enjoy my lighter workload (though that doesn't mean it is always easy, I wish it was) rather than feel "less".

#8 CalmMyFarm

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

Thanks for all the responses so far.  I just wanted to add that I often feel that people want an explanation as to why I've only got one.  I've actually been asked why.  I agree with Mishu, I don't ask others why they've had 2, 3, 4 or more kids.  I guess I'm being a bit precious over being asked why.  I just don't like talking about why.

#9 Mitis angelam

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:56 PM

I get a lot of comments about how selfish I am and how much damage this is going to do DD.

I wish I were imagining it!

#10 TillyTake2

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE (Mishu @ 17/12/2012, 01:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And therein lies the assumption that there is something odd/wrong about only having one child, that there must be a reason for it.

No my assumption isn't that it is odd/wrong. Just that it is unusual.

For example, if I meet someone who tells me that they have a 16 year old, a 14 year old and a 6 month old I may wonder if the 6 month old was a surprise. It isn't "wrong" that they have a large gap, just unusual. I'm not "judging" having one child (or a large gap) as right or wrong, good or bad, I'm just observing. FWIW I would obviously never actually ask or say anything!

#11 Mishu

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:03 PM

Sorry TillyTake2, I wasn't actually having a go at you (tho I can see it may have read like that). It was more that having just one child is often questioned, whereas having more is not questioned. Well, until you reach that point where people think you are having too many. It wasn't directly at you personally original.gif

#12 robot sm

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:03 PM

I'm still pregnant with our first child, and already I get the 'wait until you're pregnant with the second!' type comments.

We only plan on having one child for a few reasons, and people tend to assume that we will automatically change our minds and have heaps of kids because it's what they've done.  As if there would be something wrong with me if I don't want to have another child after meeting my first.  I'm sure we will both absolutely love our child, but that doesn't mean we have to have more.

My belief is that it's nobody's business to pressure you or make you feel inferior about the number of children you have, regardless of the reasons.

#13 alphamummy

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:28 PM

I completely understand where you're coming from. I've been told to "have another one" and asked multiple times when the next one will be due. (One person asking even asked if we'd been "hard at work" trying for another already!) My child is only 5 months old! Personally, I don't even want a second one. I would rather focus my energy on perfecting one child than spreading myself thin over two or three and never having enough time for all of their needs like I see so many other families do.

#14 casime

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

I get it a lot.  People seem to like to tell you about how you're damaging your child by making them an only child, or the "you'll change your mind" comments.  But don't you DARE question someone with a large family for their choices.  That's none of your business of course.   glare.gif

I have a standard response now to the "when are you having the next one."  It's "oh, gosh, I'm not.  This one's perfect, so the next one would probably be a turd."  Cue walking away.  

#15 Llama in Pyjamas

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:34 PM

Yep, I understand this feeling, the "yes, it's so much harder with two" and kinda wonder if those with 3 or 4 or 5 etc look down on those with two...
Or even being told "oh you wouldn't understand, you've on,y got one" - even if my one had the same issue.

#16 aztecblue

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

I'm an only child, and have a DS and not planning any more (by choice).

Although only child families are alot more common in Australia nowadays, we're still in the minority. I don't think I've been treated differently yet because DS is not yet 2 and everyone probably just assumes that I'm going to have another one. It will be interesting though to see if I am treated any differently once DS is older and is obvious that he'll be an only.

For me now, the problem is more about how I feel about the issue - I am always feeling extremely guilty about not wanting a second especially as DH wants one badly.

I also dont like people asking if or when I'll have a second, probably because I"m so touchy on the subject. When I stop to think about it they're probably just asking cause they're curious. I have a hard time explaining why I don't want a second one though - a huge part of the reason why is because I had very bad PND with my first to the point where I was hospitalised and was considering taking my own life. I dont really feel like divulging that to ever person who asks me when I'm having my second. but if I tell them that I"m not having another because I don't have much parental support and love having the freedom to be able to work (also true), then they think I'm being selfish.

#17 Liz Lemon

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:39 PM

QUOTE (casime @ 17/12/2012, 02:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I get it a lot.  People seem to like to tell you about how you're damaging your child by making them an only child, or the "you'll change your mind" comments.  But don't you DARE question someone with a large family for their choices.  That's none of your business of course.   glare.gif

I have a standard response now to the "when are you having the next one."  It's "oh, gosh, I'm not.  This one's perfect, so the next one would probably be a turd."  Cue walking away.

Lol lol lol. Must use this one myself!

Another child would really stretch me emotionally, financially (and vaginally!) and I don't want to do it.

I tend to say I love my daughter but do not love being a parent - hence I won't be doing it again ...

Edited by Liz Lemon, 17 December 2012 - 01:39 PM.

#18 VintageEyes

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

I think you get asked about the number of kids regardless of how many you hsve. I got asked when I only had DS if we were having another and I get asked again now I have two. The only ifference is that before the answer was yes, now it is no. People are just curious.

#19 maurie

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:45 PM

Yep and add to that that you had that only child by choice and she is now an easy-going quiet well-mannered self-sufficient 11-year-old, then you really get dismissed as having it way too easy and what would you know about parenting - your kid has never given you any trouble!

#20 wish*upon*a*star

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

My DD will be an only child by choice.
Do I feel different? Without a doubt, I know very few people who have only one child and it is often expected by people the we must be planning a second soon, if not now.
Is it the right decision for us? Absolutely, and everyday I am happier with the choice we are making.
I do get asked 3-4 times a week about the next one and it does not worry me unless someone is rude and questions me about my selfish choice and lectures how I "have" to have another one. Most people are just making conversation or curious.
However, it did hurt when someone said to me that I must not love my daughter much if I don't want another. What a seriously dumb thing to say.

#21 Lagom

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

I totally don't belong in this thread but I have to laugh at people who say, 'Oh, just wait 'til you have another one.'   I've found two sooo much easier than one 'so there!' to them.  DD1 is so full on and having a sister gives her someone else to annoy other than me.  ph34r.gif
I have a 3yr 3mth gap between my two and would often get asked before I was pregnant with DD2 when we were having #2.  It is a little annoying but I think it's often small talk.  It's so hard not to offend people these days.  wink.gif

Maybe they are just jealous of the perceived easiness of your life compared to theirs?  Maybe you are paranoid?  Maybe they are judgey cows?  Don't over think it OP.  happy.gif

#22 pinkcupcakes

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

QUOTE (hoppingllama @ 17/12/2012, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yep, I understand this feeling, the "yes, it's so much harder with two" and kinda wonder if those with 3 or 4 or 5 etc look down on those with two...
Or even being told "oh you wouldn't understand, you've only got one" - even if my one had the same issue.

yes, that's something i noticed before we had ds. there also seems to be ... a difference, with those whose kids are going to school and those whose arent.in real life at least. and i think it's mostly unintentional. its just that they are in a different genre, if you like, and have had different experiences, that mostly those in the same genre can relate to. of course, now that i have had my second child, i can understand that it does add a different dynamic to daily life, but having said that i dont feel superior to those who chose to have one child and not more.

for myself and dh, we chose to have 2 kids and no more. i am in awe of ppl who have more than that, simply because i imagine there must be soooo much work involved and i wonder how these supermums fit it in their day. i admire them. but i would never ever want more, simply because i feel that 2 kids is right for our family.for me personally i couldnt cope with more, although i love kids.

but whether you have 1 child or a hundred, there are still experiences and advice to share with others. you are still a parent, going through the same stuff as everyone else.

#23 *Lib*

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

I have an only child. Never ever have I been questioned as to why....or made to feel inferior for only having one child.

#24 dolcengabbana

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

I often get told I don't realise how difficult it is having 2, 3 or 4 children as I have it so easier with DS10 being an only child and being a really great kid at that.

It breaks my heart !!

#25 pinkcupcakes

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

aww, d&g you poor thing. ddown.gif i  dont really belong in this forum either, just wanted to be understanding. hhugs.gif

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