adult only children: what do you think about being an only? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-06-2010, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all:

I love the thread about deciding/not deciding to have a second child (or spread them out many years)

I am NOT ready to have another child, mainly because I do not want to be pregnant again, and some pelvic organ prolapse issues make it difficult to think about doing it again. I always pictured having two, I just wish that I was done HAVING the babies.

We are thrilled with our family of 3- we love parenting, we get boundless joy and energy from our dd...and we lean toward having a second.

however, the reason we lean that direction is mainly for our dd- not wanting her to be lonely or age/watch us age without a sibling.

So I am looking for experiences of adults who are only children- does ANYone who is an only child relish the experience (because everyone I know who is an only says to me how we will regret it for our dd...and that they always wanted a sibling)

I believe in the experience of siblings, and it IS hard for me to picture not having another in general- but we are not ready and I am afraid that by the time we are I will be older than I wanted to be.

thanks
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I was an only and it was great for me.

In my observations, it's hard to be an only when you don't feel connected to your parents. My MIL was an example of that, she was really "on her own," if she had a problem she really couldn't bring it to her parents. Her father was cold and rejecting. Her mother loved her but placed her husband first, so her mother only helped her or paid attention to her if her father wasn't around, and she certainly never went to bat for MIL if her father was being cruel. So you can see why MIL felt alone. If she had a sibling then maybe she would have felt like she had someone in her corner - and maybe not, you never know.

My mother, on the other hand, was always there for me. She didn't play with me so I'm not talking about parents replacing peers for only children, I'm talking about parents being THERE for their onlies. I definitely felt loved and respected and cared for, and I never felt alone. I did all the stuff that onlies do - I read a lot, looked at bugs in the backyard, etc. Of course I had friends, too.

My DD is an only and of course DH and I are there for her. I don't worry about her being an only.

I can't speak much about the "issue" of taking on the "burden" of parents, except to say that having siblings hardly makes it easy and fair for everyone. The most common story I hear is "my brother(s)/sister(s) don't do anything for our parents and I am stuck taking care of them myself." Fortunately for us, my parents and my inlaws aren't close to needing any care yet, and I won't claim to know what that will involve. DH has a sister, but honestly I would think that DH and I would help out MIL (instead of SIL doing it), not because SIL is lazy or uncaring but she's not in any stable position herself. So DH having a sister isn't really "removing" any burden from him in this regard.

I have observed with my mother that she has been drawing a bit closer to her siblings at this time of her life, their parents have already passed. But I don't see how I'm guaranteed to be lonely in old age myself just because I'm an only; there's other relatives (SIL, my cousins, etc.) plus of course there's FRIENDS!

Anyway, I don't think being an only is better than having siblings, but I certainly don't feel it's the other way around either. Being an only is only one of several/many factors in your life. You won't be lonely in old age just because you're an only, you'd be lonely only IF you had no friends or anyone else either (and that goes for folks with siblings too; who is to say you'll get along with your siblings or even that they won't predecease you or move to China?). You aren't necessarily better off in the aging-parent department just because you have siblings, in fact you may carry MORE resentment if you're stuck caring for them while your sibs send a Christmas card every year. You'll only feel lonely growing up if your parents aren't there for you; and if you had a sibling it might be just as lonely if you're not close.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 04-06-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I second everything loahaire said.

My additional thoughts -

Due to medical challenges, DS will be an only. At times, that makes us very sad because both DH and I have this fantasy in our head that if DS would have siblings, we would have this big family and everyone would be super-close, picture-perfect family gatherings and so on but as we all know, that isn't a guaranty. When we confront the reality that blood relation doesn't mean closeness, it is easier for us to accept.

I am an only child. My parents were cool with friends being over at our house. I was almost always allowed to take a friend (sometimes two) along on vacation. I was never lonely. I have a very close relationship with my parents.

I can't say I ever wished for a sibling because I have never known any different.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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I was an only and loved it! I was, and am, very close to my parents - we used to do all kinds of things together and talk for ages.

I think what I loved most of all is that I got to be a part of both the kid-world and the adult-world. Meaning that I could go off and play with friends and cousins all day, but that I wasn't automatically excluded from adult events and conversations the way I see in some families. I still remember fondly the days when my mom and aunt and I would go out to lunch together. I felt so grown up!

Money was also tight in our family and I think it would have been a lot harder with a larger family.

I am having an only myself so obviously I don't think it was bad at all! I think the pp said - there are advantages and disadvantages to every family configuration. I know people who grew up in large families and hated it because they never had any space or time to themselves. Other people love it. I know of plenty of people who aren't close to their siblings or have actual problems with them.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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I'm 31 now and an only child. Parents are 69 now.

As a child beign an only was fine. I never wished for a sibling. I had two parents who were always there for me and very focused on me.

As a teen, it became more apparent that being an only wasn't so hot. Now this might have just applied to MY parents- but they were SO focused on me that I had no wiggle room and I felt totally smothered. They were very strict and worried about freaking everything despite the fact that if they had just opened their eyes a bit they would have seen that I was the type of teen that most parents would dream of- tough, not easily influenced, no one ever talked me into anything, conservative(as in not a wild child), and cautious. And yet I was constantly grounded (for BS things like being 5 minutes late for my 9:30 curfew) and really felt that if I had another kid in the house they wouldn't be so strict and controlling.

As an aduly, I wish I now had a sibling because I wish I had someone to help me DEAL with my parents. They are getting old and stubborn and they don't always make the best decisions for themselves. I wish I had a sibling to back me up from time to time when I try to help them out or help them through something. I'm at the point now where my parents are beginning to need parenting from ME. This didn't really sink in until I watched my mother( who is an only) deal with her mother's death. My grandmother developed cancer and it was hell for my mother to handle the dr appointments, and caring for my g-mother, and cleaning her house, and cooking, and food shopping and paying their bills, AND dealing with my grandfather who was in denial about the whole thing. If she had a sibling, it wouldn't have been so painful and difficult for her. She had my Dad of course but it wasn't the same. If she had a sister or brother, maybe they could have offered some help or support.

So I sometimes look down the road and think OH MY GOD I'll be on my own through all of that one day.

So I guess I decided that I really wanted more than one child for myself just so they had each other.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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It is what it is. I was an only child so I don't really know what it's like to have siblings. There were times when I wished I had a brother or sister, especially when we moved. We moved often in my early years because my dad was military and it was hard making friends and then having to leave them and start all over, a sibling would have added some stability there. We traveled a lot and it was a good bonding experience I think traveling so much with my parents as a threesome. I don't know that I was spoiled more or less than kids with siblings, I think again it all is the financial means and ideals of the individual homes rather than the number of kids.

I echo that as an adult I wish there was someone else closer to my mom to help her. I feel guilty living on the other side of the country some times. It's really hard the past several years as she has alzheimers and I can't even really talk to her on the phone anymore, but honestly seeing her in person wasn't any better. She barely lifted her eyes from her circle-a-word puzzle book the whole time I was there last visit. Her sisters (my aunts) keep me up to date pretty well on her status but I feel like a bad son lately. No one blames me though, I've lived in California nearly 20 years now have my career and now my family to concern myself with on this side of the country. And it wouldn't very well be right of me to expect a sibling to do anymore than I am if I had one, right?

I have social anxiety and I'm an introvert. Can you blame that on being an only child? Sure, if you want to ... that or the constant moving in the military and being told to shut up more often than I needed to hear maybe ... flip a coin there. I can't really pin blame anywhere specific for that myself.

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" - Dr. Seuss
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I thank god every day that I was an only child. This doesn't really apply to your situation though, since the reason why I do that is because my parents are not very healthy people--and it would have been hell to see a sibling suffer.

I do worry about the obligation that I have towards my parents as they age--but most of that worry stems from the abuse growing up and continuing mental health issues than the fact I'm an only child. In my observation, even with siblings, it's one child that tends to become the primary caretaker anyway. As an only child, at least you know about that ahead of time and can prepare, instead of feeling like you were abandoned by other people who are supposed to be helping!

From what I have observed from friends with siblings and aging/dying parents, it seems like sometimes it would have been better if there had only been one kid. I've been shocked at how many families get blown apart by inheritance issue, even over very minro stuff. I can't believe how many people I've seen stymied and worn down by an uncooperative sibling getting up in their grill about how one is caring for an aging parent, while refusing to lend a hand at the same time.

Siblings are nice, I'm sure--but they're also an uncontrollable factor. You can't count on them pulling together, even if they are nice folks (again, the families that I've seen detonate are the last people on earth I would have expected to, while some people I expected to pulled together!). More hands in the pot means that sometimes care decisions can be very difficult, especially if one sibling feels very strongly that, for example, hospice is evil because that means that you're "giving up" on the dying person and you should keep them alive by all means necessary (I saw that one play out in my own extended family. It was ugly.)
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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laohair: thank you- I wasn't really thinking of the burden of us as parents, but of the having company and someone to really understand what you are going through watching your parents age...I loved your post, thank you. You are right- cousins, friends...and something my mom keeps reminding me is that siblngs are not always close ANYway.

Caneel: I am sorry that you faced medical issues, but glad that it wound up ok for you and your family. I think you are right- I am imagining the picture...but also LOVING our picture as it is now.

round: it's sweet to picture cassady one day saying "we talk for ages". what a gift.

barnmamma: good points, and I guess at the core of my concern is that no matter what, when we have one...all of our energy goes into that one- and we aren't smotherers (I know I will have moments, but not our instincts) but when the one is the only focus, I wonder if we WOULD make it too pressured for her. This is not to say that having another is the fix to that, just something to keep in mind should we not have a second (or even if we do!)

jaesun: I think you are right- there are so many things we just can't judge in a vacuum. thank you for your post.

tiger: wow, that's tough- thank you for your response. I guess our kids wouldn't fight over the inheritance, since there won't be much!!
more hands in the pot is a concern- with money and space issues- we love our neighborhood and our apartment but it would be tough to find an affordable 3 bedroom someday.

thank you all.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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I am an only child & it has been fine. I have always wished for at least one sibling, but this is my life, I don't know any other way. For all I know, any siblings and I might not have gotten along & it could be a relationship burden now. I get almost total freedom from traditional familial obligations b/c there AREN'T 2498723 siblings & nieces & nephews. I also did not have any cousins close in age (oldest are 6 yrs younger than me), so I was never compared to anyone growing up. That was nice b/c I could just be my own person & not have to "measure up", except to my own parents. I am very good at amusing myself & I am v close to my daughter. I do not walk around talking about how I need "breaks" from her or anything like that. Granted, yes, I do like to go out & socialize w/ adults, but being w/ her IS company to me, so that works out well.

As for the aging/sick parent thing, I do have experience w/ that. My father died from pancreatic cancer almost three years ago. He and my mother were still married. DH and I went over every weekend to visit them. It was difficult to watch him go thru that & I had to listen to my mother complain about how my DAD'S siblings did practically nothing for him aside from his sister calling regularly. They barely ever came to visit & things like that. When he passed, planning the funeral was easy b/c it was just me and my mom making decisions. DH was there to support us. It is tough when I think about the fact that I am it for my mom as far as family goes now. It's a lot of pressure. But how do I know that a sibling would do anything for her? Or they might make ME look like I was the one not doing enough! That can work both ways. My grandmother is still alive, & she & my mom are VERY close, but she lives on the other side of the state, along w/ my mom's brother. My mom is not close w/ her brother & is still quite competitive w/ him. My mom has TONS of friends, though, so she is definitely not "alone"!

I have enough friends whose sibling(s) are bums and criminals to know that it is not all a rosy glow. There is so much unneeded guilt surrounding how much of a relationship they should have. I also have friends who were abused by their sibling(s), so even in childhood, having a sibling can be horrible. To end on a truly dreadful note, just b/c you have more than one child does not mean that all of your children will outlive you. One of your children could still end up being the only one alive to take care of you, etc.

There are lots and lots of pluses to being an only child. More attention, more money, more time. You don't have to wait for other kids to be ready to go somewhere, you don't HAVE to share (heehee), you know you are your parents' favourite kid in the entire world, you get to go on special trips alone w/ one or both parents, &, at least for my parents, I was not viewed as another pesty kid, I was invited to join them in chores & hobbies. They were not always trying to get away from me & have alone time like they might have if there were three of us. There are enough only children in this world that, believe me, it's not like we are some damaged group of people wandering around who don't know how to love.

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Old 04-06-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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I am a sort-of-only. My parents divorced when I was 2 (I'm 35 now). The next time I saw my dad was the summer before my senior year. During that time he had two additional children who are a few years younger than me. We see each other maybe once a year and talk on the phone a handful of times a year. I also have two foster sisters. My freshman year my mother took in my two foster sisters. They are both a year younger than me. While we do have a shared experience, they obviously have their own early childhoods, as do I. And while my mom does call them her daughters, she does not treat them the same as me nor does she expect assistance from them. For all practical purposes I am an only.

While I love my mom, she doesn't really "get" me and I don't really "get" her. We do talk weekly and she does fly out several times a year to visit. It's really hard for me because I know I am the ONLY one responsible for her when/if things go bad or she needs help. This wouldn't be a huge issue except for the fact that she makes bad financial and physical decisions (ie plastic surgery in third world countries). I know its just a matter of time before I'll have to step in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
As an aduly, I wish I now had a sibling because I wish I had someone to help me DEAL with my parents.
I so agree with the above statement. The only thing I would add is that it would be nice to have someone to commiserate with. My DH listens but just gets frustrated for me. A sibling would get frustrated (at the situation) with me.

Of course, my situation is unique. If I had a a loving relationship with my mom that involved respect and understanding I would have no problem being an only. But, as it is I feel so much obligation and irritation in our relationship.

I do think that it is important that parents of an only have a conversation about how illness, aging, financial difficulties, etc. will be handled. No one wants to strong arm a parent who is going through a hard time. If there is an open dialog and understanding I think it can totally work. And I do agree with laohaire about the pros. Despite the rough relationship I have with my mom now, there were some wonderful things about being an only as a child.

lather, rinse, repeat
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Growing up, I was fine being an only. Sometimes I was lonely and wanted a sibling, but those were pretty few and far between. I filled the gaps with friends and "adopted" family.

Truth is, I have siblings, but several are from my mom's previous marriage and several of them are from my dad's ongoing string of affairs. We're not very close though, I'm the only only. They all pair up or whatever. I do think the care of my aging mother will fall on me, and that does scare me. However I do have support of DH and friends, one of whom has ample experience. I know with MIL, her husband, not her sister was the sole supporter of her caring for her aging parents. He often taking over completely. He out of his three other siblings also took care of his father with failing health and is helping as much as his mother would allow him.

I do sometimes wonder and envy the good sibling relationships I see with friends and family. DH is close to his brother, as are several good friends close with their siblings and look forward to seeing them. Others seem to manage fine not having a close relationship.

I guess I just got to keep in perspective that I'm not really alone, sibling dynamics range far and wide, and I might be one of those people who doesn't very much get along with their siblings. And I may be missing out on something, but maybe no more than someone who isn't blessed with as many good friends as I am.

That said, I am currently pregnant with child number 3, and plan to have others (likely adoption at this point). So who knows, maybe I have unresolved only child issues.

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Old 04-06-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Well I have a half brother that was born when I was 8 and whom I saw once every 4-5 years, so I was effectively an only. Personally I hated it with a passion and still do. I vowed when I was a preteen that I would never have just one and put them through that, if it meant adopting, having them myself, whatever. Now looking back from 41 years I still feel that way. I know that's not what you were looking for, but remember that everyone's experience and personality is different and what one person loathes another will love.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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As a child I was happy to be an only. I never envied any of my friends who had siblings - in fact I was sorry for them!

It's only in the past few years as an adult that I've started to wish that I had a brother or sister. I think as my parents get older I'm realizing that at some point I'll be the only one left and that feels lonely and sad. Of course I'm lucky to have dh and my kids (and dh's family).

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Old 04-06-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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I am an only, and I have wanted a sister as long as I can remember. There are several sets of sisters in my extended family (including my mom, who is the oldest of three daughters) and I have always been envious of their relationships. I'm 30 and I still often wish I had a sister. Or a brother, that would be nice too! Now, I must admit that my parent's divorce when I was two probably had a huge impact on my desire for a sibling. If I had grown up in a stable, loving two parent family it might not matter nearly as much.

I have also been trying to decide whether to have a second child. If I was able to get pregnant easily, I'd probably go for it without a second thought. That's not the case, however, so a decision to try for a second would be very involved. And truthfully we could be very happy as a little family of three. But I keep thinking about how much I wanted a sibling of my own, and of Claire being all alone someday, and my heart just breaks. I don't know what to do.

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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My dh says he didn't like being an only as a child and he still doesn't like it now. His mom thinks that's why he has four children.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
I'm 31 now and an only child. Parents are 69 now.

As a child beign an only was fine. I never wished for a sibling. I had two parents who were always there for me and very focused on me.

As a teen, it became more apparent that being an only wasn't so hot. Now this might have just applied to MY parents- but they were SO focused on me that I had no wiggle room and I felt totally smothered. They were very strict and worried about freaking everything despite the fact that if they had just opened their eyes a bit they would have seen that I was the type of teen that most parents would dream of- tough, not easily influenced, no one ever talked me into anything, conservative(as in not a wild child), and cautious. And yet I was constantly grounded (for BS things like being 5 minutes late for my 9:30 curfew) and really felt that if I had another kid in the house they wouldn't be so strict and controlling.

As an aduly, I wish I now had a sibling because I wish I had someone to help me DEAL with my parents. They are getting old and stubborn and they don't always make the best decisions for themselves. I wish I had a sibling to back me up from time to time when I try to help them out or help them through something. I'm at the point now where my parents are beginning to need parenting from ME. This didn't really sink in until I watched my mother( who is an only) deal with her mother's death. My grandmother developed cancer and it was hell for my mother to handle the dr appointments, and caring for my g-mother, and cleaning her house, and cooking, and food shopping and paying their bills, AND dealing with my grandfather who was in denial about the whole thing. If she had a sibling, it wouldn't have been so painful and difficult for her. She had my Dad of course but it wasn't the same. If she had a sister or brother, maybe they could have offered some help or support.

So I sometimes look down the road and think OH MY GOD I'll be on my own through all of that one day.

So I guess I decided that I really wanted more than one child for myself just so they had each other.

Just my 2 cents.
This is exactly my situation!

I think the success of the only child thing really depends on the kid and the parenting. Even sometimes with the best of both, it can be hard (or has been for me).

There is a huge amount of focus on me by my mom because I'm her only child--sometimes to the point where I think it's odd and unhealthy. And despite her relative good health, she has already called me sobbing and tried to make me promise to take care of her if she gets sick. There is no one to help me with this task, and I really wish that weren't true.

So we decided to have two kids, if only to make their adult lives easier. I think there are plenty of other benefits, too, but that's the main thing that comes to mind right now. I don't want to do more than two kids and I am 100% positive two is pushing my good-parenting limit. But I think it's worth it to do my best for the future of my kids.

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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P.S. I have always sort of envied the seemingly magical bond between blood siblings and have often wished I had a brother/sister of my own! That also played into our decision to have another child.

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I feel as if the burden of my whole family (parents, grandparents, and mentally unhealthy uncle) falls squarely on my shoulder. But, I'm an only grandchild as well as being an only child. And it's lonely. But guess what? for the past 28 years all the family ressources have been directed at me. I'm 28, went to university for 5 years for free, and own a mortgage free house. I got to go to boarding school in Europe as a teen (my choice!), and have had numerous other opportunities that I would not otherwise have had. And, I like my family, so I can deal with the "burden" of them!
eta: Note that I did, however, choose to have TWO children, although this has substantially changed our family's lifestyle (e.g. used to fly to Europe every summer to stay with dh's family; no longer financially possible to do so - this is just one very major example.)

Kaya (29) + Laume (31) = ds Kanoa (8) and dd Zia (2)

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Old 04-07-2010, 04:18 AM
 
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I think I'm going on 4 in 6 years BECAUSE I grew up as a wide-space kid. (20 years between half-brothers and me) Said half-brothers and I have no relationship to speak of now, especially since our dad passed in 2008. (they could barely be bothered to ATTEND the funeral, let alone PLAN anything. *I* would have done more if I'd had someone to watch the kids for me to *do* it--it just would not have been productive for me to try to come and be with my mom while she met with the funeral home and all that with a 3 1/2 yr. old and 19 mo. old in tow.)

that's my take. I *wanted* a sibling, specifically a sister. (but I'll also state that my parents were not as involved as many here probably are and that might be a factor too. My dad was 'done' raising his family I think and through unforseen circumstances, he ended up being the at-home while my mom worked.)

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Old 04-07-2010, 04:48 AM
 
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I'm very sad to be an only. I was raised by a single parent and my childhood was very lonely.

FWIW there are gazillions of kiddos out there who need adoptive homes. For anyone who wants more you don't have to give up your dreams of a large family.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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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?

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Old 04-07-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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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

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Old 04-07-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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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.

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Old 04-07-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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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!

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Old 04-07-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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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.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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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.

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Old 04-08-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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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.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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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.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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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.

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