One. Can It Really Be The Magic Number?

January 7, 2013  |  

“She is growing up so fast.  When are y’all having another baby?”

My husband and I hear that statement every day. It usually comes from little old ladies who are long past their childbearing years and love nothing more than to pressure young people into making more babies.  It always amuses us to see their reaction to our response which is usually,“We’re on the one child plan.  One and done!  Yep, we’re good, but thanks for asking.”

Most people are horrified.  I’ve even seen an old lady clutch her pearls and look like she was going to faint.  I can almost read the thought bubbles over their heads as they think “One child?!  Why would anyone want just one child?”

Well, there are many reasons that the “one child plan” works for our family.  Here are a few:

  • We can focus all of our energy on making one wonderful world citizen.  Our daughter gets all the love, care and attention that any child could ever want.  It’s hard for me to imagine giving this much attention to multiple children.
  • We can focus all of our resources and finances on just one child.  Nobody likes to talk about the finances behind raising kids.  Let’s face it—it can be expensive!  The public school system where we live is mediocre, but by having one child we’re able to afford a good private school.  It’s good to be able to create a great lifestyle for our daughter without constantly counting pennies.
  • We can make parenting fit into our lifestyle.  My husband has a busy career, and I like to be involved in the community.  Having just one child allows us to continue leading this busy lifestyle without being negligent parents.  If we had multiple children, I know our lifestyle would have to slow down.  And honestly, that’s not something we’re willing to do.

Now raising an only child is no walk in the park.  It comes with its own battles.  Here are some of the drawbacks that I deal with daily:

  • I have to be careful not to raise a spoiled brat. It’s hard for kids not to be spoiled when they have so much attention and so many resources.  I try to make sure my daughter does household chores and volunteers with organizations that serve people in need so she can stay grounded.
  • She gets lonely.  But when she does we encourage her to play with her wide circle of friends.
  • Someday she’ll have to deal with aging parents alone.  I’m keenly aware of this, so I try to keep her connected to our extended family.  Hopefully when that day comes she’ll feel supported by them.
  • We have to constantly entertain her.  There aren’t any siblings to keep her busy, so guess who gets to be the entertainment?
  • She has to deal with parental pressure.   Since we pour so much into our only daughter, we know that she could eventually feel pressure to succeed.  The reality is that it comes with the only child territory.

I believe that children are a blessing.  But they’re more of a blessing if you’re equipped to love, care and provide for them.  And I’m only equipped to deal with one.

What’s the optimal number of kids for your family?

Words: Yolanda Darville

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on inspiring and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog

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  • Shayla

    I am an only child and I wouldnt trade it for the world. I had a “brother-cousin” (my cousin who is also an only child and we were raised together since we are 2 years apart) so I feel i got the best of both worlds. The author rasied a lot of real and true issues in this article but. I would have to agree that i do feel that I was granted a lot more opportunities than some of my friends who came from larger families. In many instances I have a better relationship with my parents… I was exposied to a lot more growing up (i went on vacations, to plays, dinners, participated in multiple activities, etc etc) I feel I was more mature than some of my other friends and very independent. I was in no way spoiled or selfish. I know alot of other only children and I find them to be similiar to me. Ive found more times than none people who grow up with siblings are more selfish since they had to share growing up while an only child didnt (this is just my experience).
    At the end of the we all have to make the best decision for our family and for me when I have a child… I only want one

  • Yolanda D.

    I totally agree!

  • Yolanda D.

    You’re so right. I always pray that my only child will grow up to lead a productive life. But I also know that one child can not replace another. They’re each special. Thanks so much for reading and voicing your thoughts.

  • Yolanda D.

    Thanks for reading, Denise. Glad to hear that you had a good experience growing up as an only child! Makes me feel better for my daughter’s future.

  • iain_banks

    Its risky, what if something happens and you’re left with no kids? Its not as if its a guarantee that your one kid will grow up to lead a productive life.

  • Godschild

    I think this is a family decision that only the parents and God get to weigh in on so just stick to the beat of your own drum!

  • Ugh, I swear I get so tired of this question. What business of anyone else’ is it if you only have one kid? While I can’t definitively say we’re done, I can speak from experience that being an only child really ain’t all that bad. Thanks for this!