So, what do all of these people have in common?
Yep, Jason and I are lonely, selfish, socially inept, and spoiled if you listen to the majority of people who repeat these stereotypes of only children as if they were facts. I’ve never really felt offended by these misguided comments because I’ve never seen myself that way. Was I lonely growing up? Maybe, but because of the alone time I have a healthy imagination and know how to entertain myself. I am never bored. Was I socially inept growing up? I don’t think so. I was voted Everyone’s Best Friend and Class Flirt by my senior class, so I wasn’t a quiet wallflower. Am I selfish? I probably spend as much money on gifts as I do on myself and if you need something that I have I do not hesitate to give it, so I don’t think so. Was I spoiled? Well, it wasn’t like we had loads of money growing up, but I was spoiled with attention and love. Is that so wrong? Jason is also an only, but his youth was a lot different from mine. Even so, I would never use any of these words to describe him.
So why all the judgment of the onlies? There are a positives and negatives to being an only, just as there are to being a first born, a middle child, or the baby. I don’t feel like I missed out by not having a sibling and I don’t understand when I hear women say they are having another child so their first child doesn’t grow up alone. It’s like you are gifting one child to another and that seems odd to me.
Jason and I have been blessed with a healthy baby boy and at my advanced age of 39 we’ll need to decide on whether to try for another relatively soon. We both know the pros- more attention, higher self-esteem, more education, better grades in school and the cons- a smaller support system and the challenge of being the sole caretaker for your parents as they age. With Jason and I both being only children we have four parents to look after in the future. Good thing we’re a great team :) Gage will never have first cousins, aunts or uncles and to rob him of siblings too is perhaps my biggest concern.
Are we doing Gage a disservice if we don’t try for more? Absolutely not. But it does require a different approach to parenting, one that Jason and I are completely tuned into and have a lifetime of experience with. I found this article in TIME magazine last year about the myths of only children very interesting.
So, any other onlies out there? Or parents of onlies? Do you feel judged? Was the decision to have only one an easy one?