An Open Letter To Everyone Who Is Urging Me To Have A Second Child
Dear Mom, husband’s Mom, my sister’s husband’s Mom, friend of Mom from jazzercise I barely know, other Mom at drop-off, neighbor across the street, priest at neighbor’s baby’s baptism, friend from college, friend from work, lady at the fifth-floor reception desk at work, guy at the pizza place, security guard at the library, and whomever else this may concern:
Despite your constant questioning on the matter, I’m not having another child. I didn’t have a crazy scary birth situation. It wouldn’t be medically dangerous to do so. I didn’t just injure myself and can no longer work outside the home. We aren’t declaring bankruptcy or getting divorced. I just want one kid.
Oh, you just probably think I’m selfish. Perhaps, if being selfish involves me working hard all week to support my family. Selfish by spending hours commuting to said work, and then actually having a little bit of time to play with my son. Selfish to eat a dinner that’s not cold or consists of cut-up bits of food from my son’s high chair tray, and selfish to want to speak to my husband before my brain has 100% liquefied for the day. Then maybe so. Oh, wait, I also want to go to the gym a whole two days a week, see a friend or two a month, and get my hair cut very rarely. Gosh darn it, we ladies can have it all — with one kid. Maybe I think I’m selfish now too.
You worry my son might not have anyone to play with. If he had a sibling, they might not even want to play together. They could be exact opposites in fact. One could be a cars and trucks kid, and the other, one of those adorably annoying creative kids who always wants to put on a play in the backyard.
While I’m slightly uncomfortable with Thomas the Tank Engine’s face, shouldn’t I be playing with my son? I’ve heard I only have a few years of him even wanting to be around family, so I feel like I need to take full advantage of all this playing and not defer the responsibility to some second hypothetical sibling. I’ll even let him pick on me a little to so he gets the feeling of being a big brother. Also, last time I checked, playing with my son was one of the great joys in life and could infuse mine with a little more meaning.
“But what about when I die?” you’re probably wondering. Yes, it is pretty selfish not to have a second child so my son has someone to help with my funeral arrangements. On the other hand, I do have his whole lifetime to instill in him, and only him, the value of friendship, family, and how to foster a loving, supportive relationship with a partner. I sincerely hope in the next 50 or so years he’ll pick up a little of that. Heck, if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll even get one of those life insurance policies I’ve seen advertised on daytime TV when I’m selfishly home from work taking care of my sick son. It’s probably cheaper than having a second kid anyhow.
“Wouldn’t I love more cuteness?” you ask. Yes, my boy is cute. He’s precious and lovely and sweet. He’s a cherub from a painting in an Italian cathedral, only better because he’s wearing normal clothing that looks like a mini-version of a man’s clothes. I’ve heard people talk of this mold breaking, and I’m not really a gambling gal, so I’d rather not roll the dice on that one.
“But wouldn’t you want to try for a little girl?” I know what it’s like to have a girl in the family. She’s me, and I’m sick of her. I don’t need another version. Oh, wait, I have another version — my sister — and she’s already slightly better than me. I knew her as a little kid, and there are a few photos still lying around, so that satisfies that.
“Don’t you think he’ll be spoiled?” you wonder, out loud. I mean, I kind of hope he is. If I have two kids, no one has a chance of getting spoiled. I’ll be too busy saving all our pennies for two college educations and breaking up knife fights in the yard. I’m still going to parent my son. That’s my job — to set limits, reward good behavior, teach him how to be a functioning adult, and how not to completely lose his mind every time he walks into the Disney store.
At the end of the day, one child is manageable for my family. And that’s what we choose. End of story. I really, really appreciate your concern, but I’m going to keep on loving my one and only precious little boy and raise him exactly as I see fit.
Love and snuggles,
P.S. Don’t say “one and done” now. It’s embarrassing.
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