It sure feels like it.
A while back, I met a woman at a party who discovered I too had just one child. She scooped me up into her arms, gave me a bear hug, and exclaimed, “I thought I was the only one!”
Oh no sister, you are not alone. Word on the street is one in five families have only children. Hmm, interesting. So why do I feel like I belong on the endangered species list because I have an only child?
I have run into many a mommy who has Spanish Inquisitioned me about my singular sensation: “Is she your only one?” Yes. “Do you think you will have more?” Maybe, er, I don’t know. I’m not a soothsayer. “Did you plan to just have one?” Well no, it just kind of happened that way. (And my personal favorite) “Won’t your daughter be lonely?” We enjoy making her feel like crap.
Really? At one point I started making up random medical reasons like, “I’m just not too sure about my uterus.”
While not ALL mommies have this mind-set (of course not!), there have been many who have given me the eyeball, slowly backed away, and then sat down with a gaggle of pregnant women so as to not catch my “small family syndrome.”
There seems to be some type of public shame for having just one child. I feel as though I should shroud my face and live on the outskirts of town. I don’t see why we can’t all get along. So I have one child and you have four, big whoop. We are both parents, I carried and birthed my child just like you. I breast fed and got up in the middle of the night to calm a sick child. I’ve been puked on and pooped on. While I can’t imagine what it is like to juggle four different children, is it really necessary to have an elitist attitude? Is there some type of “Be Like The Duggars” award that I am unaware of? Are we only-child-raisers not considered a family by U.S. standards?
I’ll be honest – third grader honest – the questions and superior attitude hurt my feelings.
And guess what? That “look how many kids I have, it’s too bad about your solitary daughter” mentality is hurting my child’s feelings too, so quit it. She’s not Orphan Annie. She’s a little girl who has a dog instead of a sister. Geez people, haven’t you heard the bragging rights about being Numero Uno?
So I’m putting my foot down and squashing this “I’m on this side, you’re on that side” separation like a dirty bug. Let’s flip the script and talk about all the Pros about being the parent of an only child:
1) We can all comfortably fit into a Mini Cooper.
2) When the three of us walk down the street, we can form a perfect triangle.
3) ONE college tuition…or tuition to Barbizon, whichever.
4) I can easily hold my child’s hand while crossing the street and a large tote bag.
5) I save time by calling just one child’s name to dinner, instead of going down a list.
6) I’ve never heard a bank robber say: “I did it because I was an only child!”
7) Famous only children: Robin Williams (Academy Award Winner), Natalie Portman (Academy Award Winner), Rudy Giuliani (Mayor of NYC), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Kick ass basketball player, and top notch actor in Airplane!), FDR (President of the United States), Cary Grant (swoon), Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Robert DiNero, just to name a few. Not too shabby.
8) When our child has a bad dream, we have plenty of room to snuggle in bed.
9) I can drag her around on more errands.
10) I can sit down…fairly often.
And the list goes on and on. I’m sure you can come up with a whole bunch more.
Bottom line – it’s the type of parent you are, no matter how many children you have. While I am far (like pretty damn far) from being the perfect parent, when I look at my girl and all the light she brings into this world and the people she meets, I go ahead and give myself a pat on the back. We are doing A-Okay people.
So when you see my daughter playing in the pool while I sit back and relax while watching her, don’t hate. We’re just like you.
Just a few people less.