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Parenting Truths About Raising An Only Child

Jul 12, 2017

I never expected to be the mom of an only child. But like most aspects of parenting, things didn’t go as planned. After years of infertility, surgeries, and doctors’ appointments, miraculously I finally managed to get knocked up.

When it came to having baby number two, I thought — if it happens, it happens. It didn’t happen. Now that I’m raising an only child, I realize I had some misperceptions about them. They’re spoiled, they don’t share, and think the world revolves around them. Naturally today I have a different perspective. Here are my truths about raising a sibling-less kid:

Sometimes, it feels like you've got a roommate

Woman reading iPad with daughter.
Copyright: langstrup / 123RF Stock Photo

With just one kid to wrangle, it can be easy for things like bedtime stories to dissolve into “girl-talk”, or formal dinnertime to descend into dining in front of the TV. Without having to manage a house full of kids, rules can sometimes become slack.


You never have to break up a kid fight

Mom breaking up a fight between brothers.
Copyright: highwaystarz / 123RF Stock Photo

Growing up with a younger brother, I’ve had my share of sibling squabbles. Having one child is no guarantee of domestic peace, but it sure helps — no fighting over the remote, who ate the last cookie, or who got the yellow cup. Luckily, my daughter has a first cousin to help her hone her scraping and sharing skills.


You have more free time

Little girl blows bubbles outside.

Raising one child isn’t easy, but I confess to having more free time than parents with multiple kids. One play-date or after-school activity can easily score my husband and I date a night out.


You become close with other single child families

Kids in strollers facing each other.
Copyright: ababaka / 123RF Stock Photo

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of my mom friend’s have just one child. We gravitate to each other so our kids can spend time with people their age. Since we’re not racing to drop off other kids, we get to hang out too.


You wonder how parents manage more than one kid

Mom asleep on the couch.

With just one daughter, I’m constantly driving to activities, helping with homework, and doing laundry. I can’t help wonder — how do parents of more than one kid ever manage to find free time?


You don’t change up your parenting approach

Little girl with dog.

Because my firstborn is also my baby, I’ve had to make a conscientious effort to adjust my parenting style. Without a younger sibling to look after, it’s easy to continue doing everything for her rather than letting her do things herself.


You worry something might happen to them

Little boy in pillow fort.

Losing a child no matter how many you have is the worst thing imaginable. But I think it’s a heightened fear for parents of only kids. All of your hopes and dreams are tied up in just one child.


You have more one-on-one time

Mom and daughter downtown.

This is a big one for me. I don’t have to split my time with multiple kids allowing me to spend more quality time with my daughter.

So would I trade the advantages of an only child for setting two or three more places at the dinner table? I look at this way — you take what you get and you don't get upset.

Photos courtesy of Pexels.

Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Laura Mullin is a playwright, director and the Co-Artistic Director of Expect Theatre and PlayME Podcast. Laura is passionate about the arts and works in theatre, film, and new media. She lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and their budding fashion designer nine-year-old daughter. When Laura isn’t writing plays or turning them into podcasts, she can usually be found picking up tin foil and duct tape off the floor after one of her daughter’s many avant-garde art projects. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

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