One and Done
Written by Eran Sudds
I once went to a palm reader when I was in my early twenties. I was single and caught in a job rut. I desperately wanted to know what my future might hold. The woman told me that a new job opportunity was on the horizon, love was “waiting in the wings,” and that my palm showed one child in my future.
I took most of the reading with a grain of salt (because, really, how much more generic could she get?).
Still, I was concerned about one thing: I had always envisioned having two kids.
Was my palm lying? Did she read the wrong hand? Had I not spent enough time earlier in life, clenching my fist and creating more lines? Or was all of it just a bunch of BS anyways?
Because now that I have that one child, I find myself constantly struggling with the second child debate.
Do I really want to do this all over again and have another one?
I love my son, don’t get me wrong. He is magnificent.
He is goofy and loveable, charming and full of energy. Sometimes I can’t believe we actually created this little human with this huge personality. I would love for him to grow up with a sibling like I did. My sister is my best friend. She is completely irreplaceable and a huge part of my life and well-being. I want my son to have someone like that in his life. But, that’s where my list of “Reasons to Have Another Baby” ends. Seriously. At this point in time, I don’t have another good point on that list.
On the other hand, I have lots of good points listed on “Reasons not to Have Another Baby.” But even just admitting that, I feel like a horrible human being and a disgustingly selfish parent.
Why does it feel so wrong to be “one and done”? Why does everyone I encounter say to me, “Oh, you’ll change your mind,” when I tell them we’re not currently considering having another?
Is it really so awful to have just one kid?
Am I ruining my poor son’s life by not giving him a sibling? Is it as selfish as it seems?
I recently read “One and Only” by Lauren Sandler—who was an only child and is the parent of an only child—to help me understand this decision we are making. On the very first page, I read something that filled me with a monstrous rush of emotions:
“My mother was deeply devoted to raising me. To have a happy kid, she figured she needed to be a happy mother and to be a happy mother, she needed to be a happy person. To do that, she had to preserve her authentic self, which she could not imagine doing with a second child.”
That, my friends, is why I’m stopping at one.
Maybe it’s selfish. Maybe there are ways to preserve my own authentic self after we have a second child, but I just don’t know if I’m cut out for that. I honestly can’t tell you the sense of relief I got from reading those few sentences. Someone finally put into words what I’ve been feeling.
I want to be the best mom I can be for my son, and I know, deep down in my gut, that that means paying attention to my own happiness.
No matter how many times someone tells me “the second one is easier, you’ll see,” I just can’t be convinced that that is what is going to bring me the greatest joy.
I want to travel again, and take my son to see the world. I want to run a thriving business. I want to connect with friends and go out for nights on the town. I want my hormones to be under control. I want to sleep in. I want my body to feel like my own. I want the freedom to take classes and learn new things. I want to have conversations that don’t involve the latest sale on diapers or how to sleep train my kid.
I want my son to see a happy mom, a mom who is in love with her life. I want him to have a mom who inspires him, and is his biggest fan. If that’s selfish, so be it.
I hope that one day, he says otherwise.
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I’m a Selfish Mom, and I’m Okay With It
This post was previously published on Eran’s blog.
About the Author: Eran Sudds is a photographer, writer, mama, and postpartum depression survivor. She is the creator of the Good Mother Project and is passionate about making sure other mothers and mothers-to-be know how amazing they are, as both moms and women. In her spare time, she wears many other hats: singer, music-arranger, Sound of Music enthusiast, micro-manager, traveller, French-speaker, dreamer, wine-drinker, risk-taker, and mama to a gorgeous and giggly little boy. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter