As soon as you become a parent, people come out of the woodwork with their opinions, as if they are the ultimate gurus on raising children. Unsolicited advice is part of the parenting territory.
But when it comes to commentary on my family planning choices, that is entirely different.
My fiance and I talked about being “one and done” even before our son was born. And unsurprisingly, I got questions as early as my pregnancy on whether he would be an only child or if more would follow. The question of if we are having more doesn’t bother me, but some of the commentary does.
One child is more than enough for our family. It’s our choice, and it’s a choice that should be respected with equal measure to the choice for multiple children or to not have any at all. Below is a breakdown of some of the worst comments parents of onlies get — and why it’s not a good look.
“You have to have more than one!”
Really? There are things in my life I have to do. Filing my taxes every year. Making sure my son goes to all the routine medical and dental checkups. Making sure I go to all my routine medical and dental checkups. Paying all our bills on time. All those “musts” have consequences — significant ones, at that, if they aren’t fulfilled. Having another child does not entail the same sort of impact, so I fail to compute how I have to have more than one child.
“He needs a sibling!”
Let’s go over basic needs. Food, water, shelter, clothing. Looks like sibling does not make the cut. Nice try, though.
“Aren’t you worried you’ll raise a spoiled brat?”
Funny, I’ve seen and heard plenty of horror stories on spoiled children from families of multiples, so please explain your reasoning that spoiled brats are a direct result of being an only child.
“You’re not a real parent/family with only one.”
So what are we, then? A figment of everyone’s imagination? A few people masquerading as a family like we’re at Comic-Con? Based on that statement, every child living in a home without both a biological mother and father and at least one sibling is not a real family. And I don’t think you mean to go there. And if you do, maybe you’re not the kind of person I want in my life.
The truth is, you really don’t know what people are struggling with, and there could be a variety of reasons behind why they only have one child: financial, logistical, environmental, deeply personal, or any combination of those choices. A woman could have suffered a miscarriage, is struggling with infertility, or had a difficult labor or pregnancy the first time around. Making any of those statements is hurtful. And besides, family planning questions are invasive.
So unless you plan on becoming my full-time, live-in nanny, footing my childcare bills, or playing a significant part in stopping climate change, learn to be OK with my choice to be one and done.
I love my triangle family, and I would not have it any other way.