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adult only children: what do you think about being an only? - Page 2

post #21 of 62
Thread Starter 
just really quickly because I do want to truly respond- thank you. This thread has been really helpful to me in a ton of ways- I DO want to hear the reality for some. I bet we will lean toward a second, and I will just have to wait a bit for when I feel ready, because I really do not now- and when I talk to other first time moms, some of them DO feel ready.

I am so not there. But thank you, thank you, thank you- i'll respond more later.
post #22 of 62
My DH is an only, and he loved it. His mom remembers him wanting a brother for a few years, but it must have been early b/c DH doesn't remember that. He and his parents get along really well, and money is not an issue at all, thankfully, so we won't have to worry about financially supporting them. We are also lucky that his parents are great friends with my parents, and live within a few hours of each other, so holidays can all be spent together. DH got to do so many amazing things when he was younger that would not have been possible with more than one child on his dad's military salary: skiing in the Alps for a week, travelling all over Europe, going on Outward Bound in high school, etc. He is an introvert, as are both of his parents, but he has lots of friends and the only time he was really lonely was when they were completely new to a place due to a move.

I have a sister who is 26 months younger and we have a relationship that is so awful that it is causing me to seriously contemplate only having one child. She is the complete opposite of me, has no financial or personal stability, no moral code to speak of, and is getting divorced at age 21 while living with her new boyfriend and her baby (by another man completely). While I love my sister because she is my sister, I highly doubt that we will ever be anything beyond civil. I know that I will be the only making decisions and providing support for our parents as they age, and it already irks me to think of that responsbility that should be shared, but will not be.

I never envied only children, though. I never wanted to be an only child. I just wanted a sibling who was actually nice and got along with me and my parents (the 3 of us have an amazing relationship). So I envied the families that had anywhere from 2 - 4 kids, and the kids all got along. As someone said, siblings are a wild card! Well, I suppose kids are in general right?
post #23 of 62
Originally Posted by natashaccat View Post
I'm very sad to be an only. I was raised by a single parent and my childhood was very lonely.
Ditto. Then as a teen I went to live with my Dad and stepmother instead and like PPs I wished I had a sibling so I had someone to commiserate with about my parents
Actually, it wasn't all so bad. I only read the first page so I don't know if anyone else mentioned this but I'm finding it's making parenting two children really freakin' hard! I have absolutely no idea about this whole sibling thing. Really. None. As DS moves from baby to toddler and becomes more of a playmate for DD I am more and more out of my depth. I got no idea! Having spent most of my childhood in a two person household I find it hard enough to balance DH's and DD's needs, let alone adding an extra person into that mix.
I sound really dysfunctional, I'm not. It's just hard work
post #24 of 62
dh is an only-- him being an only has been really tough on me! (and him) his fathers death, supporting his mom-- I feel that being an only child has been really cruel.

I think he feels about good friends the way that I feel about my brothers and sisters-- but it's just not reciprocated. I feel that in his case, the decision to leave him as an only was pretty cruel.
post #25 of 62
Originally Posted by greenmamapagan View Post
Ditto. Then as a teen I went to live with my Dad and stepmother instead and like PPs I wished I had a sibling so I had someone to commiserate with about my parents
Actually, it wasn't all so bad. I only read the first page so I don't know if anyone else mentioned this but I'm finding it's making parenting two children really freakin' hard! I have absolutely no idea about this whole sibling thing. Really. None. As DS moves from baby to toddler and becomes more of a playmate for DD I am more and more out of my depth. I got no idea! Having spent most of my childhood in a two person household I find it hard enough to balance DH's and DD's needs, let alone adding an extra person into that mix.
I sound really dysfunctional, I'm not. It's just hard work
This is what I'm worried about. I'm an only, although I do have an older brother and sister from my dad's first marriage - 20 years older to be precise. So I was raised as an only. And I'm really terrified about the whole sibling thing. I have no idea how to raise two...

For the OP, I was happy being an only growing up. I got all my parents' focus and attention. The only time I wished I had sibling was when I wanted to blame a broken whatever on someone else or when I didn't want to do all my chores. Other than that, I think that I had a great time being an only. I was "socialized" by hanging out with other kids, and my parents had the "cool" house that everyone wanted to come to. I can count on one hand the number of times I went to someone else's house for a sleepover or playdate. Although I'm a bit sad that I won't be giving that experience to my DD (this pregnancy was a complete surprise), I'm sure that having a sibling is a good thing as well. Good luck to you!
post #26 of 62
I didn't like being an only at all. I did have half siblings, which prevented my parents from being able to afford another child, but they were much older and never lived with us. I was lonely as a child and honestly, I'm a bit neurotic. I would have been better off with a sibling to take my mind off of various things. I had too much time to think as a child. My experience is a major reason why I want at least two children.
post #27 of 62
I will speak for my DH and say that he is 33 years old and still happy to be an only. He loved all the one on one constant extra attention from each of his parents as a child (and disliked it on the occasions he had to share time with parent's boyfriends/girlfriend's kids!) and just doesn't have a problem with it at all. He's not selfish, he's successful, etc.

OTOH, my stepfather is about 60 and wishes he had siblings. Both of his parents are deceased and he never had children of his own (which he regrets)- he feels like he has no immediate family. My best friend is also an only and is somewhere in between my DH and my stepfather- she kind of wishes she had siblings, but has tons of great friends, had a good childhood and it's not something she really thinks about a lot.

I have one sister who I have a very distant, difficult relationship with and who doesn't help me AT ALL with things like taking care/visiting older relatives, is rarely present for holidays, causes a lot of stress when she is around to the point that I'd prefer to see her only once or twice a year. When threads like this pop up, I always wonder about starting one that asks how people feel about their siblings. There are no guarantees in life! I know plenty of people with 1-5 siblings who aren't even really in touch with any of them.
post #28 of 62
I'm going to add my two cents, even though I'm not an only. But my dh is an only, in fact he is a fifth generation only! He says he was ok with being an only and never wished for a sibling. However, since watching out kids grow together and seeing their bonds, he has begun to wish he did have a brother or sister. His mother (also an only) lost her mom several years ago, and it was really hard to watch her go through that - she was left alone and had no one to share the grief with. He worries about the the burden of his parents getting older and passing being left to only us. However, he did have advantages that he wouldn't have had is he had siblings. He was on only grandson, so his grandmother was able to pay for his college and some of our house. We would not be in the financial position we are, if it had not been for her generosity. BUT, after being raised as an only, when he grew up, he chose to have 4 children (hopefully more to come). He is not selfish or spoiled, but the noise of a large family gets to him and he prefers to have several hours a day to be alone. I do attribute that to being an only and him being alone so much as a child (he was on a farm, so he didn't get to run around with neighborhood friends).
I was raised with one sister and one brother, and always wished for more. My sister and brother are my best friends and we talk about anything and everything. They will always be there to help out with my parents and it is a huge comfort to me. I used to have lots of friend, but as life changed and we grew up, I grew apart from most of them, but that will never happen with my siblings.
As I watch my children grow and am amazed at the wonderful bond I have with them, it is also so cool to see the bond that they develop with each other and I know that they will be best friends for life (with their cousins too!). I never feel like they are a pack of kids that I want to get away from, they are just my family and I love every minute with them (even the frustrating ones). When they say their prayers at night, they always pray that God blesses them with another brother or sister!
But having said all that, my mother was raised in a family with two brothers and she is somewhat close to one and despises the other to this day, she was never particularly close to her mother either, and didn't even attend her funeral. Even with all that, she is wishes that she had been able to have a larger family.
Anyway, my and my dh's viewpoint is that siblings are a great thing and that's coming from two different viewpoints.
post #29 of 62
Hi there,
i didn't have time to read all the replies but I wanted to send over mine.
I am an only and had a great childhood...was very close to my parents, did everything with them etc. Loved it.

As an adult, I really, really wish I had a sibling. My mom was very ill a couple of years ago and have never felt so alone in my life. I felt like I shouldered everything with no one to share it with (I didn't want to add more to my dad's plate at the time). I am also feeling really smothered by them, especially now that I have a child that they want to see. I am their entire life and it can be hard sometimes.

I knew that I woudl never want to have just one for this reason only. I also don't have any guilt about the next baby that will be here in June because I know I am giving my daughter the best gift I could.
post #30 of 62
I'll be honest, I felt incomplete growing up as an only. I still do. I long for the sibling connection/experience I see others having. (although I realize that's not always how it works out with siblings.)

I felt lonely most of the time and smothered by the idea that I was IT for my parents. It was hard on me. It still is.

I think my mom and I would get along much better if there was more than just me. (this has a lot to do with the kind of person she is and who she is though. I think she would have done much better with at least 2 children instead of only me.)

My DH was not an only but there were 10 years between him and his sister. He hated that but stated that he never really minded being an only child or had a problem with it.

I think it depends on the person and the parents. You never know how things are going to work out.
post #31 of 62
I'm an only child, and I always considered myself and my parents the "three musketeers." :-) We had (and still have) a lot of fun together, traveled quite a bit, etc. Each of my parents has lots of siblings (4 for mom, and 7 for dad), so there were always quite a few cousins around on holidays for me to play with and grow up with.

Do I wish I had a sibling(s)? Definitely. But probably more because I'm pretty introverted and don't make friends easily. A sister or brother would have (in my dream, anyway...maybe not so much in reality!) been a built-in playmate and friend, and someone who would have experienced a childhood similar to mine and known all the little "insider" details about my family and parents.

Still, I'm happy to have my parents to myself, and I know I had many "extras" during my childhood that I wouldn't have had if there had been more kids. Also, my mother had an extremely bad labor with me and very well could have died delivering another baby. I can't and don't want to imagine growing up without her in my life!

As an adult, and as my parents are getting older, I sometimes think it would be nice to have someone to share the burden of caring for them when the time comes, and someone to make decisions with who knows and loves them like I do. But then again, my dad has SEVEN siblings who, in theory, could have helped with my grandparents, and it all still fell only on him.
post #32 of 62
Honestly - and I say this as an only child raised by an only child and with lots of friends who are only children - I think onlies are as unhappy, or not, as anyone else.
Do what feels right to you and your family - big or small - will be a happy one.
post #33 of 62
I hated, hated, HATED being an only. But, I was raised by a fairly dysfunctional mother and only saw my father 4-5 times int he first 18 years of my life. So that probably would've been a bummer no matter how many siblings I had. So I think happiness has more to do with the emotional health of your family rather than the number of kids.
post #34 of 62
I just wanted to say, thanks for this thread. My dd will be an only and it's made me feel better about it.
post #35 of 62
Just wanted to chime in as another very, very happy as an only child, now adult.

(Oh, and never wished for siblings.)
post #36 of 62
Thread Starter 
thank you all again. I am looking forward to this weekend where I can really read this through. i have already shared so many of your thoughts with my husband, and he said last night that since having cassady, he just hasn't thought of a second- we are just so happy this way. But his point was that there will be a time that we consider it, and it will have to feel right.

I don't think that's a rare feeling- the fear of breaking up the threesome in a way- that we have such a great time and life...why tempt fate?

anyway, thanks. I look forward to really reading everything again.
post #37 of 62
I'm not an only child so my perspective isn't from that angle. But I have seen the comment several times that having siblings is no guarantee of help/friendship. I really just want to reinforce that. I have two brothers. The older one is 2 years older than me and made my life miserable until he finally moved away for college and has been gone since then. We can tolerate one another somewhat now. The younger one is ten years younger. I like him but he's so much younger that I feel more like his aunt than his sister. He's basically been raised as an only child since I moved out when he was pretty young. Neither of my siblings provides a close relationship or anything that really enriches my life. Probably they'll create extra work when it comes time to deal with my parents ageing. So it's never a guarantee.
post #38 of 62
Overall, I really, really, REALLY liked being an only child growing up. As an adult, I do sometimes wish I had a sibling . . . now that my mom is alone, I wish I had someone else to occupy some of her attention and time, and to help me take care of her when she eventually needs it. However, she should be in good health for a long time to come, and if she had more friends or was dating, she would have more distractions in her life . . . so it's not as much an issue of being an only as it is an issue of being an only to my particular mom.

Ultimately, I had more than one child because I really wanted to be pregnant and have another baby . . . if anything, I feel like it was a selfish decision to do that, because growing up with siblings seems less than ideal from my perspective.
post #39 of 62
I'm an only and have gone through stages of hating/not minding it. Growing up, I wanted a sibling, but I had cousins who lived close and so I got the benefits of being an only and of having "siblings." But after about age 8, we moved frequently (internationally, and then several domestic moves), my parents got divorced, my dad left the country, and on the one hand, I was glad I was an only because it was a tough time financially and emotionally and I wouldn't have wanted that for another person, but at the same time, having someone else who was going through it would have been nice. Through all of that, however, my mom and I got really close and I have always thought that if I had a sibling, that probably wouldn't have happened (and I LOVE the relationship I have with my mom, so that would've been sad.)

I've known people who got along great with siblings, people who never talk to their siblings, and people who are in between like DH's family--they're not the type to call each other constantly, but will pull together when needed and have a wonderful time when they're together on visits. After having DS, I'm a little bit sad that he'll never have cousins/aunts/uncles on my side of the family. Plus, right now, I always think that if anything happened to one of DH's parents, he & his siblings would all pull together to deal with the situation, but if something happened to my parents or stepparents, it's all me. That being said, there are plenty of families with 2+ children and the eldercare still falls to one of the siblings, and I think that situation would make me even more resentful/stressed.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I'm sure that your decision will be the right one for your family.
post #40 of 62
I'm amazed at how many onlies liked it. I'm an only and I really wish it didn't have to be that way.

I have always been more mature than others my age. To this day. So finding something in common with my peers was always hard. So in college when everyone around me was doing crazy silly things I just wasn't into it (for example). Even now my friends all tend to be older and so therefore have children older than mine. It is still lonely. I tend to believe if I had siblings and playmates and a crazier house I would have been more adjusted to that and enjoyed it as I grew.

As others mentioned, my mother's whole world revolved around me. Not in the I got all her positive attention kind of way. But in the all... all her hopes and dreams are pinned on me way. To this day, I'm it and now my kids are it. My husband and I DREAM of pulling up steaks and moving away from here. But we can't because it would, quite literally KILL my mother.

I didn't get benefits of travel or free to me education or help with home purchases. There wasn't money for that. Instead I was alone a lot as my mother worked to pay the bills.

And now? Now what? She's getting older. She hasn't save one red cent for her retirement or care as she ages. I'm it! It all falls on me! Goodness I HATE that idea.

We're on kid number 3. Oh the joy as the two play together and love each other and look out for each other and protect each other. They get crazy and silly and laugh together. They play games and enjoy each other. And yes, they fight! I had none of that! I can't imagine what their lives would be without the other. It makes me so sad to think of it.

My husband has 10 years between himself and his brother. He grew up with two loving adoring doting parents. He'd rather take an eye out than have an only. For many of the same reasons I listed above.

We'd have a dozen if we could swing it.

Every family has to do what is right for them. My mom only had me because she knew she didn't have the resources for more. I thank her for being smart enough. My DH's family tried for many years before they were successful at a 2nd. It is what it is. But when we were given the choice, we knew, one would NEVER be right for us.

Right now we are thinking of 4 biological kids and then maybe adopting.
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