My daughter is an only child. My husband and I chose to have just one. We made that decision for a host of reasons including:
- We want to be as involved as possible in her life, while still both working and maintaining our own lives.
- We wanted to be able to experience her life together, rather than the divide and conquer method.
- I am a crazy tree-hugger and know the impact each additional person has on this earth.
- Having kids is a crap shoot. Heck, life is a crap shoot. We had one healthy kid and that’s a miracle and amazing. I don’t need to roll the dice again.
I could go on and on, but I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else that we made the right decision. We made the right decision for our family. Most days I’m really happy with the size and makeup of our family. Do I worry about our decision? Of course. I’m a parent. I worry. That’s what I do.
- I worry that she’s going to be some kind of social misfit because she doesn’t have the influence of another kid at home to learn from.
- I worry that our holidays and traditions are boring and lame because there is just one kid. Christmas morning has to be more magical the more kids you have, provided that you have the means for those kids, right?
- My daughter won’t play a sport, take a class, or do much of anything without a friend. A sibling would provide a built in other person to hang out with. I worry that she’s missing out on opportunities because she won’t do things alone.
- I’m afraid she’s spoiled rotten and a spoiled brat.
Trust me. I worry about #4. It is the thing about only children, isn’t it? Spoiled is the stereotype. Well that and weird, but I believe in my heart of hearts that every single human being on this earth is weird. My kid would be weird no matter what. She’s just a different weird then she would be if she had a sibling.
But I digress. Only children are spoiled. They get everything they want. They don’t have to learn how to share. Their parents dote endlessly on them. Their parents helicopter them to no end because there is no other child to focus on.
Do I spoil my daughter? I don’t have multiple kids to make life fair for. We need a new family laptop? I give her the old one so she has her own computer. If I had two kids they’d have to share that computer. She looses her gloves at school? I gripe, but just get a new pair. We are fiscally conservative and I can afford a new pair. I’m more annoyed about the time it takes for me to buy her the new pair. My husband and I coached her soccer team together. Both of us took hours out of our week to coach our only child. I’d say that spoiled her, but she hated it, so probably not.
My daughter is an individual though. She is like her dad. She doesn’t really want stuff. Her list to Santa this year consists of the following:
- Tic tacs, orange.
- Beanie Boo
- Magic Set
- Broncos Jersey
What an amazing list. So reasonable, especially when split between Santa, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Papa, Nanna, Grandpa and the two aunts and uncles who buy for her. Oh but wait. There are two other items, and that’s where the problem comes in.
- Dash and Dot robots
My daughter wants the same setup she has in her STEM lab at school so she can program robots at home. This, my friends, is when the “OH MY KID IS SPOILED” freakout starts. It goes like this:
- Mom voice: She wants to program robots. That’s so cool. I was a programmer, so maybe she wants to grow up and be like me. That would be a great career for her.
- Head voice: WHO THE HELL GETS AN IPOD FOR THEIR KID FOR CHRISTMAS? Only the parent of a spoiled brat only child. That’s who!
- Mom voice: Whoa. We don’t even have an iPad. She uses them at school. It could be a family present. In this day and age it isn’t that extravagant for a family to have an iPad.
- Head voice: SHE IS NEVER GOING TO LEARN THE VALUE OF THINGS IF SHE GETS EVERYTHING SHE WANTS! WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING HER IF SHE GETS EVERYTHING ON HER CHRISTMAS LIST? ISN’T IT IMPORTANT FOR HER TO LEARN DISAPPOINTMENT?!?!
- Mom voice: There are eight things on her list. She doesn’t ask for that much. She’s a good kid. She’s generous and caring and a good friend. Stop freaking out.
- Head voice: SHE’S GOING TO BE A SERIAL KILLER!!!
Forever some reason, my worst case parenting scenario always ends with serial killer. As much as I know that some of this worry is self inflicted, there is also a weird societal side of this craziness. Today, we were at Michaels buying craft supplies for our annual “kids make holiday presents party.” My well spoken confident daughter was explaining to the checkout person that we were having a party so she and her friends could make presents for their parents and siblings.
The man asked her, “How many siblings do you have?”
She replied, “None, I’m an only child.”
“Well, I bet you are spoiled rotten.”
I yammered something about how no she wasn’t spoiled rotten that she had a cousin and some second cousins and no I’m not a bad mom and I really have good reasons for only having one child and I’m going to write a blog post about this you creep. (Actually, I stopped after the strange cousin justification.) He went on to tell me that he was one of fourteen kids and that his wife was an only child. We pretended it was totally normal that he’d called my kid “spoiled rotten.”
So let me just state here my kid is not spoiled rotten. According to Google the definition of spoil is:
harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent.
“the last thing I want to do is spoil Thomas”
Okay. I can be lenient. I can be indulgent. However, not to the extent that I am not harming my child. (Head voice: Well, maybe I am. I mean would I really know if she was being harmed?)
Shut up head voice! Okay, am pretty sure I am no harming my child, and I know she is not rotten. She is a sweet kid who, as I was blogging this, came and slipped a finger knit necklace around my neck. She is teaching her new friend how to finger knit so she can make a necklace for her mom. She is not rotten.
Head voice: But will she become rotten if I get her an iPad?!? Will that be the last straw? What if the iPad makes her a serial killer???
Sigh. Stupid head voice.