There’s been a lot about the rising number of only children in the news lately. It amuses me to see that it’s big news and that everyone thinks they’re an expert on only children now. Let me tell you – being an only child during a time when the number of only children I’ve met can be counted on one hand versus being an only child now, among a whole gaggle of them who are only in the toddler phase yet, is a whole other game.
Mr Nikki is an only child and I’m an only child. Once upon a time, when I was little, I wanted an older brother. I wanted siblings because everyone I knew had siblings. When I got older, I didn’t care – I was happy being an only and I think it had a lot to do with who I am today.
It was very, very rare to meet another only my age. When I did, there was a spark of recognition. We got it. We bonded. And we marveled at the fact that it always seemed that only children were more independent and usually lived far from their parents at some point in their lives. Only children tend to go explore the unknown, to travel. You can usually count on only children to be highly creative, as well.
The only children of today? I’m not so sure all those traits will hold. How independent & creative can you be when you’re just part of a larger mass?
Harumph. I kind of resent the growing popularity of only children.
Anyway. Most of the articles I read cite the economic climate as the reason for so many Onlies. I think they’re missing a huge factor – I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people are waiting so long to have children, and that some people have to try so hard & spend so much money to get ONE that by the time they’ve had the one, they don’t think they can do it again, or they don’t have the money to try again, or they just feel too exhausted by the process.
Kids don’t need siblings. Siblings can be nice, sometimes – but for as many as I know who adore & get along with theirs, just as many are not on good terms.
When I was still on a hormone high and thinking about how much I loved being pregnant & even giving birth (yes, I actually, thoroughly enjoyed that part), I thought we’d have a second. I WANTED a second. Now that the dust has finally started to settle, I’m over the idea.
A friend of mine, who hopes to have kids eventually, said to me that she hoped it would be half as easy for her as it was for me. The whole thing, not just the birth part. After I finished laughing, I apologized for making her think it was all easy. I was determined, yes, and I stuck to my guns, loudly. The birth itself was “easy” because I worked really, really hard at making it so. Mentally & physically.
Everything after that? It’s not really until now that we’ve realized just how hard it all was and what a very, very dark period the past half year had been.
We moved with a 5 week old. A big move. We lived in corporate housing and had to run around looking at houses so that we could purchase & move in before the paid corp housing ran out. My husband was home for a week, after he was born, then had to deal with the added pressures of the end of a project* while people were freaking out about him leaving before the end of it. Then he had two weeks off in between jobs and then had the added stress of acclimating to a new job right smack in the middle of crunch time, with more responsibility than he’s ever had before. I was freaking out & miserable, with a baby who never napped, but didn’t feel that I could lean on him because I was fully aware of the pressure he was under. The resentment & stress sent us into a fast, deep downward spiral that we’re just finally acknowledging and climbing out of.
I’ll tell you right now – there is no greater stress than moving, with a newborn, buying a house & starting a new job all at once. Ah, and the breastfeeding troubles on top of it all. It’s no wonder that never worked out. I spent months in a fog, though I never spoke about it or was even that aware of it.
So no, no it wasn’t easy. But we did the best we could, put our heads down and just barreled through.
It was so hard that I absolutely not want to do it again. Not alone. I told my parents that if they move out here (as they keep talking about), I would consider it. Otherwise, absolutely not. Considering the circumstances of the past year, I know that it can’t possibly be any worse or harder than it was. But it’s still made me skittish. We’re starting to enjoy life again. We’re starting to not be quite so tired. We’re starting to get to know each other again and just relax. And we finally get to travel abroad – something that is so integral to who I am as a person. I really don’t want to go backwards.
Quite honestly, I’m thrilled to devote all my love & attention to Nugget. He’s an incredible little person. He’s my little mama’s boy who I hope will want to run off & explore the world as soon as he’s able. I’ll not be one of those mothers who wants him to stay close. I’d love if he wanted to be an exchange student in high school. I’d love if he ran off to a foreign country to live & study when he’s college age and above.
Being the only child of two only children, I suspect, will form him into the old school breed of Only Child and not this popular new brand. Which means he might just do all that.
*If you know anything about the video game industry, you know that it’s not something you actually want your husband to do. The schedule & work is INSANE.