She has developed an almost alarming obsession with all things pink. We’ve been trying to prevent a landslide of pink from coming into the house, but we relented a bit and bought her a pink bike and a helmet with pink-haired unicorns on the sides. I’m pretty excited to see her to lose her mind with happiness.
Every time I pass by the gift hidden in the basement I think, “Holy shit, how did this happen so fast? Where’s my baby and where the hell did this ‘big girl’ come from? Oh yeah, I still need to put away the laundry.”
Everyone else seems to be wondering something else…
“When is the next one?”
“Really, you’re not having anymore.”
“Nope. Probably not.”
Cue question-asker-who-I-barely-know’s sad face…
Okay look, here’s the thing…I’m kind of sick of people telling me I should give my daughter a sibling and of the perception that she’ll be doomed to a lifetime of loneliness, social insecurity and most of the DSM of Mental Disorders if I don’t.
I’m so happy that you and your sister are BFFs, that your kids entertain each other and that little Molly is so proud of her little brother.
But that doesn’t make the sibling thing right for everyone.
Sorry, but this kid is and likely will be an only child. At this point, the odds of me having another child are about as high as you getting to ride a pink-haired unicorn. Sure, it might happen in some weird alternate reality, but odds are in this life, it ain’t.
I have a stepsister who’s been around since I was six and my partner has two brothers, so we can appreciate and see the value in siblings. In my teens and early 20s I wanted two children. When we decided to start a family we figured we would start with one and see how we feel. Having another child would have to be right for everyone in the family.
Now that our daughter is becoming an actual person, we don’t want to start over.
We simply have zero interest in giving up more time, money, patience and space in our bed.
Yup, it’s 100 percent selfish.
We like having just one child. It means things like living downtown, travelling, kid-friendly activities, getting a babysitter and going out for family dinners are easier and more affordable. It means that my daughter gets lots of my time and that I get lots of time to do non-mom-related stuff. It means no more sleep deprivation, diaper changing and soon, daycare payments. We’re not willing to give all this up just to give our daughter a playmate who she may not even like, even in adulthood.
We’re not alone. Only children are becoming a lot more common. According to recent census data, 44 percent of Canadian families have just one child in the home. Many other western countries have also seen a significant rise in one child families. There are several reasons: an unstable economy, women having children later in life, rising house prices, two parents that work and the high cost of raising a child.
Sure, I occasionally have moments when I think it might be nice to have another child, but I have more moments when I’m happy I don’t have another child. Just the other day the little one brought me her creepiest doll (googly eyes, crazy now dread-locked hair, bald spot, no clothes) and told me that I had to be quiet because her sister was sleeping. It was sweet, but that’s it.
Maybe someday, like with the pink thing, we’ll relent a bit and get a hamster.
Right now our daughter has a dog, lots of kids in the neighbourhood and a whole preschool class of little people to play with. She also has whole pack of adults who love her to death. Plus, like any parent, we’re doing what we can to ensure she doesn’t end up a self-absorbed, spoiled, socially awkward stereotype. I’ll let you know how that’s going when she’s 25.
I suppose we could someday change our mind. If I say never I’ll surely end up eating my words. However, when I think of the future I don’t picture us with little one #2.
Sure, our daughter might someday desperately want a sister, but she also might someday desperately want to replace that bike with a pink Ferrari…or even a pink-haired unicorn.
But that’s not going to happen either.
She’ll be okay.