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Old 06-14-2011, 04:57 PM   #21
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

DH was an only child. Unlike most responses here, he has no qualms about his childhood. He loved being an only child. He never wanted a sibling or felt jealous of others that had brothers or sisters. He doesn't seem to care at all that he doesn't have the life long, close bond that I do with my own sister.

I was one of four. I am also an identical twin.

I don't want an only child, but so far that's what is happening (granted, DS is only 21 mo) because DH is persistent that he does NOT want another. If I cared to only make the decision based on my own selfishness, I would NOT subject my body to an awful pregnancy (hyperemesis, excessive weight gain, stretch marks). I'm just now starting to lose weight after lots of working out. I did NOT do well with the baby stage... DS was colicky and I was extremely moody and emotionally unstable. When I look at or hold other babies, I don't think "awww... I want another" I just remember how awful it was and how much I prefer the age DS is at right now. But I refuse to let DS be an only child. I want two. Then I'm DONE. As long as he has one sibling. But if by the time DS is 4 and I still haven't convinced DH to have another, then he most likely will be an only child.. I don't want to be doing the baby thing forever.. I want to have two close enough in age, get the baby stage out of the way, and take back my own goals and dreams.

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Old 06-14-2011, 05:15 PM   #22
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

I am the only daughter of an only daughter of an only daughter. Got that? My grandma was an only child, my mom was an only child, and I am my mom's only child (I have two 1/2 siblings from my dad's first marriage). In fact, my mom's dad was an only child also (his mother died in the 1917 flu epidemic when he was 1 1/2).

My mom often talks sadly about no longer having family. Both her parents have passed away and because my grandparents had no siblings, she has no aunts, uncles, or cousins either. My 1/2 siblings are much older than I am and, while I love them and we get along well, we aren't close in the way siblings can be. They have that kind of relationship and, honestly, I'm jealous of it. I have always wanted siblings. I feel like I missed out on the relationship you can develop with someone who grew up in the same house you did. I know, I know siblings don't always get along but most people I know with siblings have special relationships.

While it's nice not having to "share" my mom with anybody else, I worry about the future and eventually being solely responsible for her as she ages. I saw what that did to her when she was taking care of her mother and have heard stories about how hard it was for both she and my grandmother when my great-grandparents needed support.

I also feel like I missed out in other ways also. I never had the experience of fighting with siblings growing up. That sounds weird, but I think you learn a lot by fighting with someone who lives in your house and you can't get away from. I think you learn a lot about compromise and forgiveness. Also that just because you have a disagreement with someone it isn't the end of the world. I feel like as an adult I'm afraid to speak my mind sometimes because I'm afraid of being disliked. I really think some of it stems from never having the experience of fighting and making up over and over with a brother or sister.

Obviously everyone's situation is unique and lots of the feelings I have about it don't apply to all only children. I just wanted to share my thoughts on being an only child. However, I am very happy with my life and this isn't something I think about every day. I'm not moping around lamenting the fact I'm (mostly) an only child . I'm sure your LO will grow up happy and healthy no matter what you decide .
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:31 PM   #23
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

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My fiance was an only child and I was the last of three. There are pros and cons to both. For example, his mother was able to give him so much more attention than my mother could with three girls a year apart. All of that extra attention gave him so much more self-confidence and independence. He rarely doubts that he can do anything he puts his mind to and doesn't need reassurance from others. His family was also able to do more because raising one child is less expensive than three.

That said, having siblings was great because I always had someone to play with, which is something my DH says he missed as a kid. I love my sisters and we are still close so it's hard for me to imagine what life would have been like without them, but we're pretty sure our DD is going to be an only child. I want to be able to give her all of my time and attention. I remember what it feels like to think that your parents love one of your siblings more than they love you and I don't ever want her to feel that way.
My husband is an only and is this way. I have a brother and a sister. I do have to say that feeling that your parents love one more than the others sucks, but we have always had each other to lean on and DH was always alone. I think he's a bit jealous of my family at times. He had a lonely childhood and I had a crazy but entertaining childhood having two siblings.

I personally would not have wanted to be an only child, but then again if I had been an only child I might not have wanted siblings.

Good luck with your decisions, only you know what is right for your family.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:39 PM   #24
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

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I am an only and as a child it was great. I never wanted for attention or opportunities. As an adult I hate it. My father and many other close relatives have passed away and I feel such a deep loneliness that no amount of friends or love from my spouse can fill. My DH is awesome and my friends are great but it's just not the same. As they all pass, many traditions pass with them. I'm not walking through the streets crying all day but there are times when it can be overwhelming.
My brother and I are two years apart. I can't imagine having a childhood or even an adulthood without him. We fought all the time, hung out, played, commiserated about our crazy parents when we were teens, weathered their divorce, my dad's death, etc. We look forward to raising our children as cousins. More than anything, he and my parents are the people who have known me well my entire life - there is a huge sense of shared history and tradition there that I would be sad to have missed out on. I am afraid my son will be an only child as he was not easy to conceive, but I'll work hard to have another one.

I don't think only children are destined to be selfish - one of my best friends is an only child and she is the kindest person I've ever met. Her parents are wonderful. That said, she says she always and still wishes she had a sibling to play with as a child and be family to as an adult.

That is just my personal experience. I think if you are not feeling the need to have another, then don't. It is all about what is best for your family. I totally get the desire to be done with the baby stage, and get back to a bit more freedom and travel, etc. I feel largely the same way, maybe because I also have a "high needs baby", which is why I'd like to have a second sooner than later, then they can grow up together. I don't think it'll be much harder to travel or find a sitter with two kids than one (but it will be more expensive).
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:42 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by amf78
I also feel like I missed out in other ways also. I never had the experience of fighting with siblings growing up. That sounds weird, but I think you learn a lot by fighting with someone who lives in your house and you can't get away from. I think you learn a lot about compromise and forgiveness. Also that just because you have a disagreement with someone it isn't the end of the world. I feel like as an adult I'm afraid to speak my mind sometimes because I'm afraid of being disliked. I really think some of it stems from never having the experience of fighting and making up over and over with a brother or sister.
I guess you do learn things by having siblings, but at the same time, depending on the personalities of said siblings...you may just learn to hate each other and once you're of age, you move out and no longer speak.

My full-sister and I are 14 months apart. I'm older. Our personalities are vastly different. We had a lot of the same friends growing up, did the same activities and were rarely separate.

That said, we argued and bickered a LOT. She moved out at 17 to get away from our parents (and moved back in/out of my mom's home a few times in her later teens/early-20s), and I moved out at 19 (and never moved back).

We're not close. We're involved in each other's lives, but not close. I live in MI, she lives in NC and we see each other, maybe once per year (at most, twice). We text a few times per month, and we FB.

My DD is currently the only grandchild for my parents, but my sister is 18 weeks pregnant. My dad lives in OH, my mom lives in NV and both are remarried. Neither grandparent is all that involved with my DD.

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:50 PM   #26
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

I too am amidst this, I am turning 41 and DS is 3 and he is our only. He will have no cousins either and I feel guilty about this, but I also really doubt my ability to do it again. I think no matter what side you come down on you are both gaining and missing out on something- both as parents and as children. I can only think of one friend amongst many who has a decent relationship with their adult siblings, and I am entering that time of life where we are needing to care for our parents and seeing exactly who is NOT stepping up to the plate. So btwn DH and I we have 9 siblings, only one of my sisters (2 live nearby my mom) is attending to my mother's cancer treatments and only DH (and really barely him) really stepped up to the plate last month when my FIL died.

So our siblings, in addition to the ceaseless fighting of growing up, are adding nothing to our lives as adults either. I think that posters who are only children themselves are idealizing having siblings, while perhaps those with a big family might idealize the parental attention that comes with being an only.

That said, my niece is an only and she swears she would never have an only- I don't know if this is an only child thing or b/c her mom was crazazy.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:22 PM   #27
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

Joslin, I get what you say about people idealizing having a sibling if they were an only. All my life I always heard people tell me "I wish *I* had a twin!* and I'd roll my eyes and tell them no they didn't. We were constantly fighting for favoritism from parents (my mother played the good twin/bad twin game), we hated having to share friends when really young, and so on. But now as adults, we are best friends. It helps that we don't live together anymore.

I really could care less about my brothers. Okay, care less isn't the right term. I despise one brother for everything that he is (JERK!), and the other is just strange and weird and needs to stop being a bum (25yo, never had a job, still living with parents, doesn't pay rent or contribute at all), but he has a much better personality (not a JERK) than the other. Still, while I hate one, I'll never be close to either.

It is the luck of the draw. You are not guaranteed to be best friends with your sibling, that's for sure, ... I just want to give my child the *opportunity* to have such a friend like I do. DH doesn't even have the chance of that. Never. He doesn't know what he's missing out on.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:22 AM   #28
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

My little sister is 2 years and 10 days younger than me. We are not closer, never have been. We dont speak and I do not consider her family or her son as my nephew. The only cousins my DD will have are my husbands siblings children. In the likely even that DD will be an only child (dh doesnt want anymore and Im really starting to like the idea of one and done), I dont feel she will miss out by being an only. My sister brought nothing but toxic heart ache to me when we were on speaking terms. Even though I have a sister, my parents in ailing health have fallen on me because shes a flake and a user.

With DD being an only, she will have the things I never had: one on one attention, financial stability to be able to go to birthday parties, gymnastics and other events, parents who are deeply involved with her schooling, hobbies and every day life. Plus when she is older and when we have dug ourselves out of debt, it'll be easier to travel and go an do things. Not to mention, it will be easier to travel. and being military, that means a lot.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:29 PM   #29
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

Wow, thanks for the great responses! Thanks for helping and easing my mind on this--it's good to know I'm not alone in these thoughts. I am so torn because I can relate on all sides.

I have one younger sister--she's four years younger. We played well when we were children, though we fought as well. I remember us being close growing up--she swears that we weren't. We are pretty close now--though we are very different people. She always has tried to be very different from me!

I guess I just keep coming back to thinking that "IF" we did have another child, it would be for Charlie, not for us. It would be to give him a sibling, to teach him how to get along, etc. And really, I think that a baby should be brought into the world because the parents want to love another one.

I work in a school, and I know that having siblings does not guarantee that children will have social skills, or be more/ less easy to get along with. As far as caring for aging parents, I do think it sounds scary to do alone, yet my mother is doing it alone and she has five siblings.

As most of you mentioned, it really needs to be our decision and ultimately, I think that as long as we let Charlie know it was a choice to have just him, and we parent him well, he will turn out okay. (I'm hoping anyway!) There are some of you that I completely agree with so might have to PM when I have more time!! YOU ALL ROCK!!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #30
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Re: Attention Only Children, & parents of Onlies!

my husband is an only and he's completely well adjusted in every way. They released a study not too long ago that debunked the myths that only children had poor social skills/etc.

I think that if you only want one, if your marriage is only going to survive one, if you're ready to stop - then stop! Your kid will be fine. And it's very important for that one that you have a good marriage.

The only thing I have to add is that I know a couple who only had 1 and they never left him home. All the way to 18, they brought him everywhere and treated him like an adult. Which sounds okay, I guess, but it was very annoying. Because they created a child/teenager who thought he was an adult and thought he had more life experience than he actually had. and I'm sorry, but you're not and you don't. now, go away. :P

We have only 1. At one point I told hubby that I was done. I didn't want another one. But when it came time to get on birth control, I just couldn't. It just didn't feel like the right decision for me.

I'm still a little terrified about getting pregnant and having two. but, there's a feeling I have that I might not be done.

if you don't have that feeling, then it's okay. You might be done.
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