One and Done : Why I Am Happy With One Child

Once upon a time, in what seems like another life if I am completely honest, I was an excited and oh-so-naïve mama to be. I had big ideas for the kind of family my husband and I were going to have. Some of them were more ridiculous than others (how did I ever think we could live without screen time?), but one thing I felt for sure of is we were going to be a multi-child family. Either two kids or four (I don’t like odd numbers), each two years apart.

I had lots of reasons to believe this. My husband and I both come from large families; he is one of four, and I am one of five. We had a comfortable life, a good home, and steady careers. We had so much love to give! So in all our pre-parenthood bliss, we traded the small car for a mini van (yes, you read correctly, a van) and prepared for our big future family.

Then we had our daughter. And man, was it hard.

My daughter came out with a bad case of colic and a love of being held. Constantly. If she wasn’t in one of our arms, she was crying. And I’m not talking a sweet baby fuss. Oh no. She was MAD. Screaming and turning red and sending you to the pediatrician six times in as many weeks. More than once my husband came home to find a bawling wife and equally frustrated baby.

It got better once we got out of the newborn stage. I decided maybe four years was a good gap, and maybe just calling it quits after two kids. But definitely more than one.

We went along with this in mind until the day my daughter turned two and a half. Then we had an outbreak of the terrible twos that mopped the floor with us. My once sweet angel baby tested boundaries, threw epic tantrums, and bucked bedtime. I was physically and emotionally zapped; work was honestly the most relaxing part of my day.

One night, as I climbed into bed beside my equally exhausted husband, I verbalized what I had dare not admit before.

“I can’t do this again.”

To say it felt wrong, but oh so right. I was finally acknowledging that I had reached capacity. I was giving it all I had motherhood wise, and adding any more would have me coming up short.

It’s been over a year since that revelation, and while the terrible twos have long since subsided and peace has returned to our home, my opinion has not changed. Here’s why:

  1. I love my life just the way it is. I mean it. I honestly would not change a thing. After a rough newborn phase and the terrible twos that would not quit, my little girl is now happy, cheerful, and easy. She can play with us or by herself; she’s decidedly low maintenance. My husband and I are both fulfilled in our careers, and happy at home. Why rock the boat?
  2. My sanity is important, too. I’m a natural Martha who doesn’t have any pretense of being a Mary. I like structure, routine, and feeling “on top” of my life. I don’t thrive in chaos. With one, there’s not as many surprises and a whole lot more peace in my heart.
  3. We got what we wanted – and needed – with our first. My daughter is the perfect mix for us. She is silly and a teaser, just like her dad. Just as quickly, she can thrive cuddling up for a good book or sit and just chat about her day. She’s exactly what we prayed for, and everything we could have hoped for.
  4. I want to give her all of me. Every single bit. I don’t mean I want to hover and be a helicopter. But I want her to know that she’s got my undivided attention when she needs it. From growing up in a large family, I know there are sometimes tough choices parents have to make. Do you go to one’s softball game, or the other’s spelling bee competition? I don’t want to struggle with that, and I know that’s not the type of decision I would be able to handle without lots of guilt.
  5. My Christmas card is perfect. A strange way to look at it, but what I mean is I don’t feel like there’s someone missing from the photo. When I look at my Christmas card, I see a full, happy, complete family. And that’s the best kind of picture there is.

I say all this with disclaimer that I am aware things change. I won’t rule out that I may wake up in a year with a baby shaped hole in my heart. But for now, my husband and I plan on our future as a family of three. I relish the attention I am able to give, and the type of home we have built together. We traded in the big family van, and I’m back in the driver’s seat of my four door car.

Oh, and that perfect Christmas card? This past year it {almost} looked a little something like this.

And I still couldn’t imagine a more perfect picture.

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One Response to One and Done : Why I Am Happy With One Child

  1. Lily August 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    I love this! Honest, genuine and open minded! You are a class act!

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