Just about two years ago, I decided to write a little piece about our decision to have one child. I was feeling like a total outcast for having an only child. It was a difficult decision with many layers. Some people around me just did not understand our decision, but rather than getting some curious discussions, I was getting a ton of judgment. It was a surprising reaction. So of course my brain began to process and explore and wonder about this phenomenon I was experiencing. I also did a ton of research on all things related to only children.
All of these thoughts, feelings, and discoveries were swarming in my brain and I just had to get them out into the world. So naturally I turned to my blog and birthed the piece One and Done: Reducing the Stigma of Having an Only Child.
It was a cathartic and energizing experience. I understood where the cultural pressures were coming from – myths and misinformation. Since I had done my own research (and since I’ve always been the type to always question the status quo), I was able to not let those pressures affect me. I was better able to focus on the joys of having one child.
This was a very personal piece that I thought would most benefit me personally. Well, 2 years later, I continue to get a regular stream of hits and views. I have written several follow-up pieces (see below) and seen my posts shared throughout cyberspace. Parents continue to post comments on my pieces and add to the discussion. I hear from fellow Team One and Done moms who share in the joy and vent about the annoying glances and jarring comments of strangers. Moms and Dads who have to deal with the judgment and questions. One mom recently commented on the phenomenon we experience of society viewing us as “less than” Moms. That because we have just one, we aren’t “Real Moms”. Only a Mom with 2 or more children can fully understand what it means to be a “Real Mom”. Those of us with just one “have it easy” and don’t have to deal with the “real” parenting issues that come with having more than one. Really, this exists and I’ve seen and felt it. Last I checked, a Mom is someone who cares for a child as her own, whether it’s one, two, or 47 children. Whether she birthed the child herself, adopted, or is the primary caretaker.
Yet, somehow there is a “Real Moms Club” out there full of women who carried to term and vaginally delivered (naturally, of course) their 2.5 children, one a boy, one a girl, spaced perfectly apart, with no scientific interventions. Of course, I only realized this club exists when I did not meet the admission criteria and was labeled an outcast. That’s usually how our society works, right? You only become aware of our “cultural rules” when you are made painfully aware of just how much you are breaking them.
In a way, my piece has brought us outcasts together. Fellow Team One and Done parents can connect and relate to what I have written. They are adding to the discussion. We’ve created a nice little community of parents of only children. We are connecting and sharing and feeling even more at ease in our non-traditional decision. We can laugh at the cultural pressures and utter nonsense. Share ideas and experiences. Know we are not alone. It is a heartwarming experience.
So thank you to all those who have read and shared my pieces. Thank you to my fellow Team One and Done parents for sharing your stories. I feel honored to share in this cyber community of loving parents. I am honored that my words are out there and continue to touch people. Thank you.
Stay tuned for more thoughts on all things One and Done. Mia is getting older and more jealous of her friends who have siblings. So naturally she’ll start to feel some of the social pressures as well. Great. Good thing for us we have some close friends who have a daughter who is exactly 3 years younger than Mia. Mia has already claimed her as her “baby sister” and so far, we haven’t disagreed with her. Non-Traditional parenting choices call for Non-Traditional, Creative ideas. If that labels us as Outcasts, then I embrace that term.
To read more on all things One and Done, check out these musings: