I have the perfect little family. My husband, my daughter, and I make a charming party of three. Having her was nothing short of a miracle—as we learned in the months and years following her birth. We have not been blessed with other children, and though that was not the plan, I choose to make the best of our circumstances. On most days, that works and I really can’t tell whether this is the hand I was dealt or one that I chose for myself.
But, occasionally, I’ll start thinking about the future and worry about what will happen to my only child and her two parents. Those days, I find myself scouring the internet, believing that I will find our fate spelled out in a blog post. I have yet to come across something that really fits my feelings on the subject so I thought I’d write about it myself. These are the pros and cons of having an only child:
When my daughter is occupied, my house becomes an adults-only resort. I can flip through the catalogs, enjoy a cup of tea, or check my brain at the door and catch up with a guilty pleasure.
We can take the Prius on a cross-country road trip. No double stroller for me. We fit comfortably in a car that will save us money on a long ride, and the best part is that we can use that extra cash to enjoy a nice room-service date when the little one falls asleep.
I have one 529 plan and one “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” plan for my backyard. Putting just one child through college means I can shoot for the bigger pool.
Wait, did you hear that? Of course you didn’t because there is nothing to hear. No siblings arguing over the last cookie in my house.
Convincing one child to take a family nap is so much easier than pitching the idea to more children who can crush your hopes and dreams.
We only have to plan one 1st birthday party. The tent and tables, the three-tiered cake, the unicorn—I mean, really, who is doing all of that for the second kid anyway?
I can only be blamed for messing up one adult in this world. I was very accepting of the idea that I would make parenting mistakes. My daughter will probably be fine. You’re welcome either way.
It’s two against one when she asks for a dog. Actually it’s two against one 24/7. I was never good at math, but those numbers sound amazing.
I can have a beautiful guest room with mints on the pillows. Fancy pillows. And fancy mints.
There will only be one teenager rolling her eyes at me in the future. That’s all. Just one. That gives me hope that I’ll survive. I think. Let’s move on.
We never have to be separated on a flight. Seats A, B and C are all that’s required for our party of three.
We save so much money on groceries! Between food moods and growth spurts, kids are like garbage disposals.
I do not have to grow those unsightly eyes in the back of my head. When I am helping my daughter learn to tie her shoe, no one is behind me coloring on the walls.
My spill-risk ratio at the dinner table is significantly lower with fewer cups and fewer arms to knock them over.
A degree in juggling is not necessary to keep track of the family schedule. And I will never have to choose between a soccer game and the school play.
When we are done with diapers, we are done with diapers. That goes for the pail and changing table too. There will be no repeat performance of poop on the wall.
I don’t need a mommy-mobile. While I don’t happen to have an aversion to the minivan or other vehicles meant to bus a brood, I don’t have to limit myself to that look.
My ugly-crying face will make a brief appearance at only one high school graduation, probably the middle school one too. Come to think of it, I heard preschool is a real tearjerker. Oh, and I can’t forget the first day of school. The point is it will only be one…of each.
I would trade it all to have another if I could.
There are those who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they only want one child and so that is the perfect family for them. There are those who want the crazy noisy chaos of a large but loving household and so that is the perfect family for them.
Then there is someone like me. I can literally laugh and cry in the same moment thinking about all the truly wonderful things having an only child can bring and the one thing that it can’t. It’s both happy and sad, but then I guess everything in life is in some way. I think we win some and lose some and make the best of it as we go. And so like I said, I have the perfect little family.