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Feature in Times at the weekend with mum of one child vs mum of four, anyone see it?

(16 Posts)
sewingmummy Mon 12-Jan-15 20:51:56

Just wondered if anyone saw the feature in Weekend section the Times on January 10th?

They had opinions from a Mother of an only child vs opinion of Mother of 4...I know the article was supposed to be balanced, but I found the opinions of the Mother of 4 pretty strong. She said 'how wretched and desolate and experience it must be for any child who has the inestimable misfortune of having parents who only wanted one baby'.

I've struggled alot over the past two years with the fact my DD is an only's only recently that I've turned a corner & started to accept our family of three & focus on what I do have & not on what I haven't.

Articles like this don't help...why do people think only children are wretched? Why does so much pity and/or venom have to be directed at parents of only-children?

On the day I read that article my husband played board games with our five year old, then they played on the trampoline (my husband is 47, but he's never afraid to get stuck in & play like a big kid), we all went to the park after lunch, then we watched 101 Dalmatians cuddled up on sofa & enjoyed a family meal together. My daughter spends her days in a stable, loving environment with both parents caring deeply for her. She also socialises with other children alot, we go out of our way to involve her with other children & always have done. My DD is far from wretched...she is loved, well-balanced, intelligent & happy.

I know far more people who don't get on with their siblings in adulthood than do get on with them. I'm currently going through a really bad patch with my own brother, but it has been like that for years. In fact he hated the fact I had been born & was vile to me when we were little...and he's still being vile to me now.

I'm not sure what the point of these articles are. Sometimes the size of your family is not under your control. I also think people will always support & champion their decision to have more than one child. Plus I almost feel as if parents of multiple children envy parents of only children but are loathe to admit it. It would mean admitting they regret having more than one child & who's going to say that??

Anyway, just wondered if anyone else had seen it & had any thoughts...

Azzurro Mon 12-Jan-15 21:52:44

I did not see it but will look for it and read it; just wanted to say I share a very similar experience to yours! Very nice post smile

DontCallMeBaby Mon 12-Jan-15 23:05:02

I read that. It made me quite cross - she might purport to be criticising only parents who have one child by choice, but one child is one child, regardless of how you get there. So actually she's calling the lives of children whose parents suffered secondary infertility, who had recurrent miscarriages, who had a stillbirth, a cot death, or who lost an older child 'wretched and desolate'.


I was also saddened by the comments from her 10yo about her friend's house being quiet and dark and no fun. For starters, I'd like to think my 10yo wouldn't be so bloody rude. I'd also like to think she could have fun with a friend regardless of whether the friend had siblings or not! In fact I know she can! I feel that child has been made TOO reliant on siblings and will have a nasty shock when her youngest brother (6 years older, so she will a quasi-only for quite a while) leaves home.

Mind you, the mother of an only wasn't much better, although that was significantly down to her being the wrong person to write the article. If you want a decent viewpoint about having an only child, don't get it from someone whose child is still only 2! Plus her middle class London-centric banging on about money and private schools did her no favours.

The piece written by the grown only child was much better. Some things were good, some things were bad, it is what it is. The only thing I disagreed with there was the implication that it's only only children who can't 'argue like a normal person'. I'm the eldest of two and I can't!

BTW I told DD her life was 'wretched and desolate'. She laughed at me and told me she enjoys the attention. grin

nulgirl Mon 12-Jan-15 23:24:20

She sounded like she was trying to justify her own choices to have a lots of kids by slagging off other families. It doesn't sound like she is confident if she feels the need to criticise. There are pros and cons to every size of family.

sewingmummy Tue 13-Jan-15 13:56:48

Thanks for your replies...glad it wasn't just me who was a bit wound up by the article...DontCallMeBaby you said exactly what I was thinking, but felt too scared to write!!

I didn't really give much credit to the view of the only-child Mother, mainly because her child is not an only-child...she said her partner had a child from a previous relationship, which means she has a half-sister or brother. Yes, they don't live together, but she can't be classed as an only child if she has a half-sibling surely?

I agree that the viewpoint of the grown-up only child was the best bit about the article. Although her views on wishing she had a sibling were quite hard for me to read. I don't get on with my sibling, so it's not great gain in my life that I have a brother...but obviously, that's my personal opinion. I guess the grass is always greener, people want what they haven't got most of the time...

I agree with DontCallMeBaby's comment about being too reliant on siblings, I think all children need to learn to be self sufficient...

One of my favourite books which my DD & I read alot is "Oh the places you'll go!" by Dr Seuss. I love it for lots of reasons, but I particularly like this bit, because we are often alone in life & we need to learn to be happy with our own company:

"I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

...On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are."

CateBlanket Tue 13-Jan-15 15:06:32

Not read the article but I'd bet the equity in my house that my only DD is happier than any of the kids from the four child family. My DD doesn't have a bitch for a mother for starters!

Cedar03 Thu 15-Jan-15 13:39:31

I read the article. I thought that the comments from mother of four were thoughtless and rude.

Thought the comments from the only child were about what I'd expect. It is what it is.

LalaLeona Sat 17-Jan-15 09:20:24

I can't believe the comments that woman made! I think we should email and complain to the times letter's page if they have one? It was so insensitive!

Bunbaker Sat 17-Jan-15 09:34:35

I haven't read the article, but she mother of four sounds so judgemental and insensitive. Good for her that she is so fertile. Many parents of only children aren't - myself included.

I would have loved it if DD had had a sibling, but it wasn't to be. Although the idea of having four children and the drudgery involved makes me want to lie down in a darkened room.

CynthiaDelgado Sat 17-Jan-15 09:50:52

I have 4 children. I didn't read the article but I can see advantages and disadvantages with any number of chikdren. Plus I think personality of each child will determine whether they'd be suited in a particular size family.

One of mine thrives in a larger family. One would make a perfect only child and I feel sad for him
Some days.

Bunbaker Sat 17-Jan-15 10:09:35

One of my friends who has four children found that by the time the youngest was ready for toddler groups, soft play etc that she was bored with them and the conversations with other mums, so the youngest child didn't get taken to them anything like as often as the older ones.

Bunbaker Sat 17-Jan-15 10:10:57

Oh, and DD (14) is having a horrible time at school right now. I couldn't bear to have to go through the teenage years multiple times.

accessorizequeen Sat 17-Jan-15 10:29:53

I haven't read the article but I'm a mother of 4 and several of my friends have just one. What a horrible way to describe being an only child. I did want to have 2, and ended up with 4 but like Cynthia I can see advantages and disadvantages of both. I'm one of 4 and I do like having siblings but I can also see that the only children I know are happy, they don't have to fight for their parents attention every day as mine do. I'm also jealous at times of how easy it seems with just one child, my 4 are close in age so just getting them out the door is a nightmare at times. And my mental and physical health not to mention our financial wellbeing , and my career ambitions are all been negatively affected by having 4. My best friend has 1 ds same age as my eldest, and she had recurrent miscarriages and wasn't able to have any more. Her family life seems wonderful, and her son is a lovely sociable boy. It's not a competition and siblings aren't the be-all and end-all.

CynthiaDelgado Sat 17-Jan-15 10:59:49

Absolutely what accessorise says. Mine are all v loved but they certainly get less attention and time and do less activities than they would do if they were in a smaller family. We go on less holidays etc.
Plus it's knackering. I've aged 30 years in the last 30.
Obviously I wouldn't swap them but the grass is always greener!

Lottie5 Sat 17-Jan-15 23:35:11

I haven't seen it but I think we have to take these articles with a pinch of salt - they often print apparently extreme views and provocative stereotypes to liven up a dull subject, generate discussion and increase interest in the publication.

The rather more boring truth is that every parent and every child is unique so what's true for one person may be false for another. We should feel as confident in the decisions we make as parents as we do in other areas of our lives. Unconditional love and acceptance is what every child needs from their parents - let's not get caught up on numbers of siblings because it makes us forget that every child is a blessing and there's no magic formula for a happy child.

LalaLeona Sun 18-Jan-15 15:32:03

Lovely post Lottie x

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