Join Date: May 2006
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AP Mom to 5
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
As a child I HATED IT! Now as an adult, I mostly worry about what happens when my mom (my only parent) can no longer care for her self.
When I was a kid, I always was jealous of my friends who had a sibling to play with all the time. I was an introvert for the most part but I did crave more time with other children (even though I was in daycare and school full time.)
When dh and I met, one of the things we talked about was children. I was adament that I would not have an only child. We'd adopt if we had to! Thankfully he's from a large family (fourth of five) and loved it so was more than happy to go along with my plan. We just had number three 12 weeks ago and are planning at least one more in 2-3 years.
I will say that being an only child, having three children and interacting with dh's large family, I do get a little lost and over-stimulated often. I need to take a lot more breaks than dh, partially, I think, because I'm just not used to it. Dh thrives on the chaos that his family creates (by shear number alone) while I find myself trying to find any reason to go home after a couple hours.
In the long run, I think being an only child is A-OK, but I was lonely often and wished I had *someone* who was family to play with (I have 3 cousins all much older than me and also all boys.)
(And as a side note- even kids who have siblings aren't always happy. Dd is 5 and really wants a sister, even though she loves her little brothers. You can never make your children happy, and as an adult, I finally get why my mom wouldn't get me that baby sister or brother when I was 7.)
I worry now about when I lose my parents.No one to be there with me.No one to help me with the arrangements or going through everything.The plus side is no one to fight with,but I think I'd rather have that.My mom is in remission from breast cancer,and it was really hard when she was going through it.I had no one to talk to about it that would understand in quite the way I did,yk?
Nic, loving mama to 5 with a SURPRISE 6th on the way.
Just as an FYI, being an only or one of twelve has little to do with eldercare!! I am the youngest of 4, and I have been handling, literally, EVERYTHING for my elderly parents for the past many years.
It seems there is one child, in most multi-sibling families, that becomes the sole caregiver. In our family, that's me. Forget about geography, they don't even bother to phone to check on Mom (either to me or to Mom). Dad died a couple of years ago, their interest in that was momentary. They aren't nasty, they're just too wrapped-up in their own lives to have much concern for their parent's lives.
Our parents have been the best, always supportive to their children. That three of the four have been so uninvolved has been really hurtful to them.
Honestly, I think their biggest concern with our Mom is whether there will be a big inheritance for them. They'll be surprised when the will is read...............
Had I been an only, I would have always known, expected and planned to be the sole caregiver for my parents. To have siblings makes you always hope that, maybe, just maybe, they'll come forward and do their share. Knowing my siblings from the get-go, they've never disappointed me in their refusal to step up to the plate.
There is 18 years difference between me and my eldest sibling. The two oldest hit college before I was toddling. My older brother is 5 years older and was physically abusive to me and has been estranged from our entire family for years.
All in all, I wish I had been an only, even though, in essence (because of ages), I was.
Dh was an only and thought it would be nice to have had siblings to help shoulder the concerns over his parents. Seeing that having siblings doesn't equal having help & support has made him glad he was a single!
Our ds is an only, by choice. We have already made our plans for our senior years, so he will not have to be burdened with certain decisions.
We have a better support network through friends than we do through the traditional family.
I think that family is what you make of it, not biology.