Weaving my way through motherhood whilst trying not to mess up adulthood.

Only children are selfish

Nine months, nine months of morning, afternoon and evening sickness that by your due date you are so emotionally drained you could create your own emoji. As a new parent you find yourself inundated with cards, gifts and congratulations from friends and family who will comment on the colour of your pushchair and  demand a retelling of your birth story whilst also wanting to know how your feeling, sleeping and feeding your baby! Then amongst the offers of babysitting and advice to enjoy the baby stage, there will be that one question, this one question that even to this day, six years after giving birth annoys me....

  • So when you having the next one?

Why would you ask that to a mother who has been up all through the night, cleaning sticky yellow poo and feeding on demand from breasts so painfully heavy you feel as though you're walking around with a lorry attached to your chest. I was asked this weeks after Lei was born and I never knew what to say because to be honest, creating another baby was the last thing on my mind

As the weeks turned into months and the months now years, that question is being asked but now with Lei added in for extra emphasis:

  • Doesn't Lei want a brother or sister? 
I can remember when Lei was about three and we had a conversation that went something like this:

Lei: Mummy can I have baby sister?
Me: Where am I going to get a sister from Lei?
Lei: Tescos

Unfortunately my shopping lists never include babies and Lei has outgrown asking me this question all the time, although if you do ask, she will say yes, she wants a sister but don't all children want siblings? I remember wanting a sister when I was younger- I got a brother! So we can't all get what we ask for ay? ha!

  • Only children are selfish

A mother with four children with the comforting lilt similar to that of Mma Ramaotswe told me that I should extend my family as only children grow up to be selfish, she meant well but it struck a nerve. Selfish is not a nice word to be branded with especially as children with siblings can also be just as reluctant to share or think of anyone other than themselves. One of my best friend's an only child and selfish is not a word I would call her at all, so that statement is such an unjust stereotype.

  • Only children are spoilt

I only have one daughter, my entire focus is on Lei , she has all of my love and time with no one else to compete with so of course she is going to be well looked after. However, there is a very thin line between gratitude and bratitude and if Lei ever goes over to the latter I will always reign her back in. She understands that not everyone is fortunate to have what she has and that she has to be grateful and thankful. Also, having only one child does not rule out the possibility of parents who have more than one child spoiling their other children whether they have one child or three.

I am not completely ruling out the possibility of having more children and by the time Lei is a teenager, she might still be an only child or have her own personal cheerleading team; but for now I am content with my one special little princess.

Are you an only child or raising an only child? or tell me why you chose/ chose not to extend your family in the comments below :-) x

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  1. It's funny (so not funny) that people think it's ok to provide advice into your situation isn't it? I'm sure they wouldn't like receiving similar advice back. I've a sibling but no children and I *think* people have just about stopped asking me why we don't have kids.... [rolls eyes]

  2. I hear ya! We've made the decision to stick with just one child....but it never ceases to amaze me how people feel the need to make comments on this continually, as if my decision to not have another child is up for public debate at all times! People always feel the need to police your parenting, it seems.

    It's complete nonsense that only children are more spoiled, lonely or anti-social than any other children out there - in fact the opposite has been found in most studies.

    I really recommend this as a read for anyone thinking about sticking with just one child:


  3. By the time I decided I wanted children, I thought I'd probably have 2. But being on warfarin now would cause a lot of issues, I'd have to give up work to deal with childcare costs, logistics etc, and the OH isn't keen. Plus we can do what we want with one child. With 2 we'd be so much more restricted and worrying about money, time etc. Maybe I'm too selfish to want two.

    Luckily N has 6 cousins living within 1.5 miles of us, so he's used to being teased, brought into line by any one of his aunts/uncles/gran/gramp etc. If he didn't have such a lot of cousins to be around, I'd have probably been more likely to try and have a second, but I think we've got a fab little boy, and we're happy with just the one.

  4. I thought Carson would be an only child. He's just turned 7 as Finley just turned 1. I sometimes wish I'd had them closer together, I must admit, because it's very difficult for the two of them to play as brothers if you know what I mean. That said, they'd be totally different people if they were closer together! My hubby is an only child and he doesn't understand the magic of christmas because he never had anyone to play with whereas I am the eldest of 4 where the youngest is only 3 years and 2 months younger than me! x

  5. I've got three children and I STILL get asked "When are you having another one" It drives me crackers. I also don't think only children are selfish, a couple of my friends have one child and there children aren't selfish or bratty. Great post, have a lovely weekend. xx

  6. Hey i am an only child and I have 2 children of my own. In my opinion being an only child is good and bad. I had all my parents love, i have everything i ever wanted and never had to share anything. However I don't have anyone to go to and when my parents are no longer here yes I have family but not a brother or a sister. its bittersweet. x

  7. Yes, this!! I hate the 'when are you having another one' question its so annoying!

  8. I use to get this a lot but now Monkey is 3.5 it seems to have stopped and even work have assumed that there are no more kids in my plans. I am not sure. I now have a medical condition which would make the pregnancy difficult and the % chance of going full term and a baby at the end of it only 50. So the jury's out. If you had asked me I would probably of imagined us with two but we are at a bit of a crossroads at the moment. Regardless of my predicament, I think your attitudes bang on, an only child does not need to be selfish or spoilt it is the parents that make them that way and like you said multiple siblings can grow up to be these things because of the parenting. The main thing is that you are happy xx

  9. I keep being told that I can't "do that to the child" i.e. make him an only child - despite the fact that the people saying it generally know how bad my pregnancy was and how I struggled with having one between a bad back and PND! My son is 18 months old and the "So, when?" questions have become more frequent with one unfortunate incident of someone thinking I was pregnant again and asking was I giving him a brother or a sister - never wearing that top again! It's absolutely nobody's business and this idea that it makes them more "selfish" is ridiculous! I'm raising my boy to be independent, loving and helpful to others - which wouldn't change regardless of if I gave him a sibling or not.

  10. i get this a lot...people say im spoiling my daughter she will grow up selfish...but we teach her to have charity and t be kind. We teach her to serve and to share and think of others and i don't care what others say because I know she is not selfish.. An interesting read. Angela x

  11. Fab post. My son is 2 1/2 and when we ask him if he wants a brother or sister he says no! We worry he's too spoilt and won't learn to share, but like you say even with siblings they can be reluctant to share. We are very content with our little boy but have decided to give him a sibling (as scared as that makes me!) xx

  12. It is so hard when people question your judgement but the must learn to respect you as all parents have different ways of caring for children so who are we to judge? x

  13. I know quite a few people who are sticking with one child and they get this a lot. it also works the other way, when you have more than one child you get "When are you going to stop?" .. or at least I do! People need to learn mind their own business either way! x

  14. I was like this for the longest time too. Now Hayden is 3 I feel I am now ready for another. I doubt it would have been any sooner either no matter what anyone said to me.
    Amazing post hun - Glad Ive found your blog
    Charlotte x


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