I’m 25 years old. My husband and I have been married for three years. We have an awesome two-year-old named Gatlin who is the light of our lives. If I had a penny for every time someone said some equivalent to the statement “You should have another one,” we would be sitting on our own private island having drinks hand-delivered in golden glasses.
What I am going to write next is a mind-blowing statement for some. We don’t want another biological child.
We love Gatlin and our souls are content. For the sake of full disclosure, I must add that we are currently being licensed as foster parents so our family will be growing. But for right now, we are happy with our one and only child. I don’t mean to knock anyone that rocks the double stroller at soccer practice, but here are some reasons why only children are great!
1. There’s only one!
We don’t spend 30 minutes looking for shoes. There is no fighting over toys at home. If Gatlin wants to watch Zootopia for the seventeenth time, there is no one to cry that they want to watch Sing. We are able to be involved with him at all times. My sister has three girls. There seems to be a constant battle of what game to play, what movie to watch, or how to sit on the couch together. We don’t have those problems with our lone wolf.
Do you remember being up at all hours of the night with a newborn? I certainly do. I only have the strength to do that once in my life and most definitely don’t miss sitting in our glider watching my husband snore. Once Gatlin started snoozing from 8:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. every night, I knew I could never go back. Thinking about sitting up with a newborn and knowing that Gatlin will be up in just a few hours makes my skin crawl. I have to sleep.
3. You got the money, honey
I have four brothers and one sister. Can six children and two adults even eat fast food for less than a hundred bucks? How did my parents do it? I consider myself a pretty good discount shopper, but even I haven’t figured that one out. We have plans to travel, see sites, put Gatlin in private school, and do other things that require the all-mighty dollar. I cannot see how we would be able to afford those things with multiple children. Especially on my
awesome teacher’s salary.
4. Pencil me in
I love my schedule. I have a wall calendar in my kitchen and a large Lilly planner that goes with me everywhere. Having one child, I only have one schedule to keep up with. He wakes up around 7, naps from 12-3, and is back in bed at 8. It’s pretty simple. I didn’t even think about how crazy it would be to manage multiple schedules until I visited my sister over Christmas break. I was there a week and never figured it out. Mazz is in school from 7-2, Kenna is up at 7:30, and Millie is up at 8 but naps again at 10. Around the time Millie gets up, Kenna is laying down and Mazz is coming home. I could feel the clock ticking. I was so grateful that I only had one nap time and one bedtime to worry about. Bless her though, my sister powers through with a smile on her face.
5. Snuggle time
Every night for thirty minutes, Gatlin and I snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. He sips his milk while I rub his back. I am so thankful for this time to decompress from work, daycare, and the stress of everyday life. I feel like if we had more than one child, my attention would be divided among them and they wouldn’t get that true one-on-one feeling at the end of each day.
6. Old Wives Tales scare me
Gatlin is an awesome kid. He has moments of tantrums like most toddlers, but for the most part, he is a very easygoing child. People tell us all the time that they are impressed with how well he behaves in restaurants, doctor’s offices, and stores.
However, there are those women (usually older women) who like to tell me that my “next child won’t be as calm.” To be honest with you, that scares me. What if I decided to have another one and they are a holy terror? I don’t have the strength. I have to give my sister credit on this one. All three of her girls are like angels in public. I was surprised to see how well all three of them could be in a grocery store when they were just trying to rip each other’s hair out at home. Maybe those stories are just stories, but I am not totally convinced.
7. Me time
Since I only have one schedule to work around, I am able to make sure I get “me time” when I need it. Every mom knows they need a little time to talk to other adults, read a magazine, or catch up on some laundry. Gatlin has a great nap schedule that allows me to have that time on the weekends and when school is out for a break.
Also, I know he is going to bed every night at 8, so my husband and I have a few hours to watch a movie, talk about something that doesn’t involve a cartoon character, or just sit quietly and stare at our phones. I cherish the time that I have with Gatlin, but I also truly enjoy the time that I get to be me again. I believe that time is more easily achieved with just one little one.
I had a great pregnancy with Gatlin. I slept all the time and ate all the time. My husband catered to me like royalty. There is a sneaking suspicion rolling around in my head that if I were to get pregnant again, it would not be as fun and relaxing. For some reason, I feel like I would still be up 30 minutes before everyone else getting lunches ready and laying out clothes. I don’t think those afternoon naps would be as frequent either. I really enjoyed being pregnant with Gatlin, but I know it would not be a similar experience this time around.
9. Birthdays & Holidays
Since we only have one child, we are able to do more for him on birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. As I mentioned before I’m a teacher, so we aren’t living large on my salary. However, we are able to devote all of our extra time and money to make sure those holidays are something Gatlin enjoys and remembers.
Being a teacher does give me more time off to spend with Gatlin. Our afternoons before my husband gets home, spring break, summer break, and Christmas break are special times that we can spend together. We are able to fly up to my sister’s over Christmas break because two plane tickets aren’t that expensive. And in all reality, being a lone woman in the airport with two kids would probably send me to crazy town.
The main reason we only have one child is because of that one child. Gatlin is our only son. We love to be able to dedicate ourselves to him and put any extra resources we have into making his life better. I am a child of divorce with five siblings. I know how it feels to be left out of an activity and miss a parent. My husband, Mike, had two much older sisters who were often in very different places than him, so sometimes the connection was strained. We enjoy being a family of three and all the perks included with that.
The Other Side of the Coin
Now, I leave my soapbox to stand eye-to-eye with you. Having an only child definitely has a downside. Sometimes I do feel a bit of sadness when I see mamas with all of their children laughing together. I wonder if I am doing the right thing.
I also think about when those children grow up. Those mamas will be old and gray with a house full of children and grandchildren.
I worry about whether we are giving Gatlin too much. Are we spoiling him? Are we creating a child that will be indifferent to suffering because he has been pampered and sheltered? I worry about all of the negatives involved with him being an only child and sometimes I am jealous of the mom with three kids.
However, I think we all need to do what is right for our families. After all, Lord knows raising kids definitely falls into the gray area of life. My sister always tells me that the second and third kids are a lot easier, so I guess we will see as we head forward in our journey as foster parents.
As you can tell, Gatlin was not excited about losing his only child status.
Are you the parent of an only child? What do you love about it?