I found myself being a mom to just one kid out of circumstances beyond my control. But instead of being sad that I was raising an only child, I grew to love it. And now I wouldn’t have it any other way! This is my story on why I decided to be one and done… the mom to an only child.
Why I’m Perfectly Happy Raising an Only Child
I grew up in the Midwest with literally the most typical nuclear family unit ever. Mom, dad, two kids, and a dog. How perfectly normal right? My parents both grew up with Siblings, my cousins all had siblings… I had a sibling. It never even occurred to me that I myself would be raising an only child.
When I got married and my daughter was born, I had every intention of having another one. I even did what most parents did and bought everything in neutral colors in case the next one was a boy. But life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
And because life can be funny like that, it became very clear early on that I was raising an only child.
Now don’t for a minute think I haven’t had a lot of guilt about this as a parent. I’m robbing my daughter of a sibling, or a playmate, and of a best friend! So who is she going to play Barbies with? Who is she going to share her secrets with? Who is going to be her Maid of Honor when she gets married? And who is going to help her when I’m old and need total care (aka butt wiping)?
As an only child, I failed to provide her with a sibling. Which made me feel as though I failed as a parent. But then again, I also wanted to become a millionaire and buy a farm for homeless dogs. So we don’t always get what we want in life. But that doesn’t mean that the life we got is anything less than amazing. We just need to realize it.
The older my daughter became, the more I saw the benefits of raising an only child. Suddenly this small family I created not only seemed like enough, but it also became better then I could imagine. I mean, we’re talking potential Gilmore Girls scenario here!
You may also be interested in Skills Your Daughter Should Know Before She Becomes an Adult.
Why Raising an Only Child Can Be An Amazing Thing
1 – More One-on-One Time
This is a pretty obvious one. If you only have one kid then you only have to worry about that one kid. Only have a few minutes to play Barbie? That’s ok!
Even 10 minutes of play is 10 minutes of personalized one-on-time time a lot of other kids don’t get. So every minute of attention you give your only child is cherished. Not only by them but by you too.
2- More Free Time For Yourself
If you have a child already then you know how time-consuming even the littlest of things can be. Bedtime can take 2 hours and even bath time can be much longer than you ever hoped.
For every child you have, double the amount of time you need to do these things. With only one child, you only need to worry about one kid eating dinner, getting ready in the morning, and so on.
Which means there is much more time in the day left for YOU.
Well duh. Do you have any idea how expensive kids are? They grow through clothes like every other day. Sports are anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars a month these days.
Christmas gifts, birthday gifts… even just eating out in a restaurant is so expensive. Want to take a vacation? I see families at the airport with several kids and think to myself… good lord they probably spent a fortune on airline tickets. Thank god I only have one extra ticket I need to buy!
Even the going rate for babysitters is growing every day. With just one child, it’s so much more affordable to be able to hire someone for a night out with only one child. Not to mention it’s a billion times easier to find a young babysitter when they only have one kid they have to watch.
Now think of everything kids need throughout their lives. All their school supplies, class fees, parties and so much more. Then think about that as they get older… prom dresses and camps and… oh my gosh my head is spinning just thinking about it all.
With only one child, I can actually buy her a car (used!) when she turns 16. I only need to save for ONE college education and ONE (hopefully!) wedding.
4- Your Child Gets More Opportunities
Because of time and expenses, you sometimes have to limit the opportunities your kids get. Sports, clubs, camps… it’s not always just about being able to afford them.
Sometimes it’s the issue of just having the time to do these all. But with ONE kid, you only have one place to be at all times. This means your only child can be involved in more opportunities that come their way.
5- An Only Child Learns How to be Self-Sufficient
I often see my daughter outside in our yard, making up dance moves, playing with her toys, or talking to the dog. We often worry that only children will suffer because they don’t have a daily playmate. But nothing could be further from the truth.
They still play just as much as every other kid. They just learn how to do it on their own. My daughter loves spending time with her friends, but she can just as easily thrive on her own as well. A skill I’m happy she will have as she heads into adulthood one day.
6- No Un-Healthy Sibling Relationships
When you raise an only child, you worry about them not having a sibling. Someone to play with and grow in life with. But what a lot of people fail to see is that not all sibling relationships are healthy.
In most cases, siblings are very different personality-wise. As those personalities head into adulthood it can cause a lot of conflicts.
Adult siblings can be competitive and even destructive towards each other. Just because siblings grow up together, does not mean they will grow up to be close.
7 – No Minivan
Haha, one of my personal favorites. My only child and I will be comfortable in any car that I choose to drive. I will never ever ever need a minivan to be able to fit a large family. Nuff said!
8- You Will Always Know Who Made the Mess
Kids LOVE to blame things on each other. Someone breaks something or spills something and it’s always the other one’s fault. As a parent, it can be impossible to tell who actually did it… so how can you punish them appropriately? With one child, you know who did it.
And they have no one to blame it on. This helps most kids learn how to take responsibility for their actions and own up to them.
9 – You Never Have to Take Sides when raising an only child
If there’s only one kid, you only have one kid to always take sides with. Fight with a friend? Take your kid’s side! Fight with co-workers or as significant other?
Guess what… I’ll always take my daughter’s side! But you have more than two kids and they get into a fight (even as an adult – it does happen!) then yikes… what do you do?!?!
10 – Your Only Child Will Always Be Your Favorite
When my daughter was about 2 years old, I told her she was my favorite child. She smiled and thanked me. It took several years before she realized she was my ONLY child.
But I still say it to her to this day. Our own little joke. But in reality, it’s nice to know she will always be my favorite. I never have to feel any guilt because I feel closer to one kid over another.
Related Post: Guide to a Stress-Free Morning Routine With Kids
Embrace raising an only child
Sometimes we end up a single parent and never have the chance to have a second child. Sometimes our bodies don’t allow us the luxury of carrying more than one child. And while we are grateful to have the child that we do, it’s also ok to be sad about the ones we thought we would have but never did.
But like everything in life, it’s all about how you look at it! I always thought an only child was lonely and raised to be selfish and spoiled. But now raising my daughter, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Want to see more of my life with my only child? Follow along in our Mother/Daughter adventures on our Instagram page!
Don’t miss out on 20 Easy Ways to Be a Fun Mom!
Thank you. Sometimes someone else’s words can make you feel better. I’ve had all sorts of feelings about having an only child. Your words are just what I needed to remember that it’s ok.
It’s not only OK, it’s gonna be great! My daughter is 10 now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I LOVE having only one child.
This is so me! I wanted one more, but it just didnt happen. My daughter is 8 and I’m almost 35 (that was my cutoff I gave myself). She is perfect and I always kind of had a hard time feeling “ready” for another because she just felt like enough. This was so relatable to my situation and I so look forward to a “Gilmore Girls” thing with her ❤
So happy for you! I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. I love the life I have with my only daughter and feel relieved I never had another sometimes.
Karissa pagano says
Thank you much for sharing this. We have only one daughter, and times we often get people asking if we want more children, or people telling us to have another because our daughter just have to have a sibling. It was very refreshing reading this piece and to know I’m not alone when it comes to being comfortable only having one child.
This helped me realize so much and how to be happy raising one child. My daughter is 7 and I feel like she’s enough. I love the relationship I have with her but a lot of people tell me I need to have another so she won’t be “lonely”. I can’t help but feel mom guilt for not wanting more.
I’m relieved some women feel the same way and it’s going to be OK.
Oh my gosh totally! I felt the same mom guilt until I realized she’s not lonely, she has me, she has friends, she is happy and thriving. And I have a sister and we are not close at all. So having another child does not ever guarantee your current child won’t be lonely!
Thank you for this. I have been going through guilt recently about this because it seems like everyone around me is pregnant with a second child. It’s like society acts like being an only child is like a plague or something. This definitely helped. It’s nice not to feel alone.Thanks!
So happy I found your post. I always planned on having two. Our plan was to have another ASAP after our daughter was born. But it just didn’t happen and now she’s 4, husband is about to be 40 and we are perfectly happy with our little fam. Today I started feeling the guilt and sadness that I’m robbing her of a playmate and started researching other people’s stories. I hate the pressure and guilt society puts on us. But I just cannot imagine starting over
Oh, I feel you! Starting over is tough. And you’re not robbing her of a playmate, you could be saving her from a toxic sibling! She’ll make friends and still have a great life.
Amanda Small says
I have been struggling quite awhile . I waited a long time to get married I had my son when I was 38 he just turned two this past October and I turned 40. My husband and I have been trying but it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards for us to have another one. Everything i read in this article is everything I’ve been feeling I feel guilty not giving my son a sibling and it was never my plan just to have one. Article definitely made me feel and that everything I’m feeling is valid.
I loved reading this because I often struggle with my decision to have one child. Oh the guilt!! We had our son at age 35 and it was a hard adjustment for the first couple years. I dealt with depression and anxiety that seemed like it would never end. Now, our little man is four and I finally feel like I’ve got my groove back. I’m 39 years old and even thought there’s a part of me that misses those early years, this just feels right. On top of that, taking care of my mental health is a priority. I feel that I can manage that and be a happy mom (and partner to my hubby) with 1.
Beth Almeida says
We’ve lost 2 babies, the last one just recently. I have been eating myself up since 2018 (when our first loss was stillborn.) We have a 6 year-old and a very tiny family. We live umpteen hundred miles from anywhere and so his social life is more like… Not Social Life.
I’ve wondered lately if it will bother him to be the only Almeida when his Dad and I are gone. He’s got family in Mexico, but never met them.
Sometimes I think it’s not really about him being an only as much as it is that i have picked up this GINORMOUS weight of being super Mama, best buddy, teacher of good things and all the other things.
Society does put alot of pressure on mums like me with an only child. They expect you to have 2 or more kids and your family is complete. I just laugh and say my daughter is my best friend and family. With the experiences i had growing up with toxic siblings and parents favouring one child over another just put me off having any more kids. As a single parent its even harder on you doing it alone with no help or anything. Am very glad and happy i have just one kid and shes no different to those with siblings. Shes the best kid i could ever ask for. Am blessed
Am so glad I’ve found your article and thank you ! I have one girl she just turned 5 . Me and my husband we always wanted one child ( specifically girl) and we are blessed with our girl , but i cannot help feeling guilty sometimes that i have deprived her of having a sibling especially family pressure ( our parents ) and society put on us for having only one child as if its big mistake and harming our kid somehow. I agree with everything you have mentioned 100% . I feel confident raising one child and knowing that i can give her everything she deserve , and so glad there are many moms out there who agree with that .
All the love💕
Kinzee Detten says
I just came across your blog and read this one specifically. We have been dealing with secondary infertility for five years and just starting to realize it may not ever happen for us. But apart of me is ok with that! My son is my pride and joy and my best friend! We can still have a fulfilled life with a small family! Having multiple children isn’t what brings you joy in life! I love having one child and am afraid of starting completely over when I’m like 40. 32 now and just trying to be happy with what ever happens happens! I’m blessed with one awesome son!
And as he gets older, you will really learn to love the one-on-one time you have together.
Hey Jenny, what do you do when people ask you: what happens when you and your partner are gone? I feel that is the only part I struggle with because my husband and I aren’t young parents to our two year old. Anything you can give me as a feedback will be much appreciated.
Hi Suzette! I think it’s important to remember that parents can be taken away, old or young. Your age has nothing to do with it. With us, my daughter and I have a strong network of family friends. She has several people she considers her “aunts” and “cousins”. And I have no doubt that if anything happened to me, they would take her in. Even though my daughter doesn’t have siblings, she still has plenty of family 🙂