Thursday, January 17, 2013

Only Child Revisited


Oh, Effie...
I'm reposting my Only Doesn't Mean Lonely blog because I've been reminded of my somewhat-controversial choice lately. Elizabeth Banks, an actress I adore, recently made comments along the lines of, "I'm a real mom now because I have more than one kid..." 
(HuffPo's Coverage) (Jezebel's Coverage) (Original Story)
Personally, I don't find fault with what Ms. Banks is saying. She's always had a no-bullshit way about her and I'm sure she didn't mean to rile up the mommy masses with her comments. If you've ever seen an interview with her, she has a sarcastic nature about her. I can definitely relate to that.
But...
I am a real mom.
I have one child. I refuse to say I have ONLY one child because that would give it a negative context.
There is nothing negative about L.E. Well, except for potty-training, losing the binky, no sleep, toddler-whining, me forgetting the right pair of socks, not being able to find her little car so the world must be ending, etc.
I recognize how much harder it is to have two.
And that's a challenge that I am still not willing to take on.


If my sister is reading this, I would like to remind her of this post so she doesn't get mad at me again. 


Only Doesn't Mean Lonely
Originally posted on Hip-Baby Mama 7.29.12
L.E. will be an only child.
I’m not apologetic about that.
I want her to have my undivided attention.
I want to be able to provide her with the best life I can afford to give her.
I don’t want another baby.

I get a lot of flack for this. I know a lot of couples with kids L.E.’s age or even younger who are already pregnant with their next child.

I think they are insane. 

Parents of 2-under-2 look even more exhausted than I did when I was still going through L.E.’s “Sleep is for Suckers” campaign.

Maybe it’s because I still feel the effects of PPD (more like PTSD) that I suffered from those first several months. Maybe it’s because the baby weight is still lingering. Maybe it’s the rational thought-processes brought on by my steady diet of anti-depressants.

Or maybe it’s because I just want one child.

I hear all the arguments: Only children are spoiled. I think there’s a pretty good chance a sibling would be spoiled, too. She’ll have the burden to shoulder when you need taken care of. Isn’t one person to take care of us better than no one to take care of us? A sibling will teach her to share and play nice.  So does daycare. Who will she play with on Saturday mornings? You mean who else will stare at her while she zones out on cartoons? What if something happens to her? (Actual reason given to me by my own mother about why she had me.) Isn’t the sick-with-worry worse if you have two children? She’s such a great kid, wouldn’t you love to have another great kid? You know what happens to great kids when they become the big brother or big sister? They turn into assholes. I’ve seen it first-hand.

I know I sound pretty defensive and judgmental about this. I get really annoyed by the series of “Whens” you get asked repeatedly when you reach a certain point in life. You know how it is: you start dating someone and it’s “When is he going to pop the question?” You get engaged: “When’s the wedding?” You get married: “When are you going to have a baby?” You have a baby: “When are you going to have another one?”

It’s always bothered me that these are “when” questions and not “if” questions. Last I checked, we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where we’re free to make our own decisions, regardless of whether or not they’re considered the norm.

Having one child isn’t the norm and I seriously wonder what’s wrong with people. Either they’re all delusional or I’m in the minority because I didn’t fall in love with my infant right away.  (Pretty sure the answer is B…)

“They” say you forget the bad times. I call bullshit. I can still remember every single sleepless night, every failed attempt at breastfeeding, every daily “happy hour” where she cried non-stop from 5-7 pm, every poo-splatter on a white canvas Pavlik harness, every freakout when the brace came on, every ultrasound, every time I was made to feel inept by doctors, nurses, lactation consultants who led me to believe I wasn’t trying hard enough…it was too much for me to take. The thought of doing it all again makes me panic worse than the thought of packing up my house and moving to a new place where I know virtually no one.

Two-and-a-half-years in, I’m obviously not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that those first few months of motherhood sucked so horribly. But yes, the payoff is the most amazing little girl I could ever dream of having! She’s so smart and funny and beautiful and my most favorite person in the world to be around. I love taking her to the park and watching her run and climb. We do whatever she wants to do, as long as it’s outdoors. I don’t fear that all our focus on her will lead her to be some kind of spoiled brat. As long she’s taught to think and to love and to share, she’ll continue to be amazing.

It wouldn’t be fair to her to split that attention.

I'm not alone in my notion, I was happy to discover. Even TIME wrote about it, before they lost their credibility with their "Are You Mom Enough?" cover.

I have an older sister. She’s my best friend. NOW. She was my worst enemy for the bulk of my youth. Ask her about the time I punched her in the nose. Or all of her clothes that I "ruined."

When we traveled on a plane, my parents would argue over who would sit next to me because as a 5-year-old on her first plane ride, I was incapable of sitting still.

Airplanes have three seats to a row. That’s a lot of subtext right there.

I was always forced to sit in the way back of Dad’s ’85 Custom Cruiser station wagon, facing backwards, so that my sister and her friend could have the backseat.

She got to bring a friend on vacation!

To this day, I still don’t get car-sick.

Lest you think this is a single-minded, mom-only decision I asked Dr. T. what his thoughts are about another kid. His response: “Another one? Seriously? One is hard enough. *insert L.E. screaming for her toothpaste* I think we’re good, honey.” Then he muttered something under his breath about me being crazy and how life was easier with no kids.

Keep in mind, I asked him while he was trying to convince L.E. that she doesn’t need anymore toothpaste on her toothbrush while he was trying to wipe her face off.

This is one of our many battle-rituals we face with her every morning.

Plus, as regular readers of this blog know, I’m very insecure and I barely feel capable of getting L.E. and I out of the house every day with few tears and very little yogurt in our hair. And that’s WITH Dr. T.’s help. There’s no way I could handle all of that on top of getting a baby together, too.

People say it gets easier. People also lie. A lot.

I just turned 36. Don’t give me that crap about how I’m not too old. I’m old enough to where my ovaries could drop eggs like crazy and what’s worse than having another child?

TWINS.

So there you have it.
I don’t mean to sound evil and judgmental. Like everything else with parenting, you have to do what’s best for you.


I want to know: What are your family plans? 1 kid? 2 kids? 8 kids?

And like with all things, I'm entitled to change my mind if I accidentally forget my birth control.

6 comments:

  1. Since we're probably going to remain a one child family, it's nice to hear some other (positive) opinions on the subject. Thanks.
    More importantly, did your mom really tell you she had you as backup in case something happened to your sister? That's messed up.

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    1. She did. I've been to therapy for it. I'll be ok.

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  2. I can't believe that any woman, especially a mother (of I don't care HOW many) would say that a mother of a single child isn't REALLY a mother!!! That's absurd!!! Any mother is a MOTHER, and that's what matters. Sometimes even the mother of a baby she's had to give up, or lost...That mother is still a MOTHER. Mother of one, mother to a ton, it doesn't matter. I was raised as an only child. Was I (am I) spoiled? Probably. But who cares? I had a mother, a mom, someone to look out for me, someone to protect me, someone to be there for me, parents that cared. Would it have been different if I had had siblings? Well, yeah, but the same would be true - I still would have had a MOTHER to be my mom. Always.
    Awesome post! I'm disappointed that a celebrity mom even uttered those words.

    ~Kim
    http://2justByou.blogspot.com
    PS - Thanks for joining Meet & Greet (and I'm sorry I wrote a book for a comment).

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    1. No apology necessary! Thanks for the comment. Any time I meet an only child, I want to grill them and make sure they're not weirdly maladjusted. I appreciate your perspective.
      A mom is a mom is a mom, right?

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  3. whoa...I'm just so grateful and so blessed to be a mom. Stopping by from Kim's "meet & greet" blog hop.

    http://HandmadeCuties.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing daughter. Well, she's great now...the first year was questionable :)

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