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Is one more fun?

(39 Posts)
fatmomma Sun 01-May-05 00:15:21

Hello all,

I'm new to mumsnet and enjoying following the conversations. This is my first attempt at kicking one off.

I have one ds, almost 2 years old, and absolutely adore having him. The majority of the time he is a pleasure to be with and even when he is being difficult I can cope with the stress.

Since he was born dh and I have been adamant that we were not having any more but lately I am starting to question this. Am I being selfish by denying him a brother or sister? Will he be lonely growing up? I even worry that when we die he will be all alone! Or am I just feeling this way because my friends are starting to have their 2nd babies and I'm jealous/feeling left out (I loved being pregnant).

If you were an only child what do you think? If you were from a big family would you have prefered to be an only? How did having your second child change your parenting experience?

I'd love to hear what you think.


tiffini Sun 01-May-05 00:22:53

i know a couple of people who were only children, and they say they are happy about it and never yearned for a sibling.
And yes in my experience more than 1 is more fun, but harder work.

oops Sun 01-May-05 00:34:22

Message withdrawn

LGJ Sun 01-May-05 00:35:03

My DS is an only child, as result of very good, very strong medical advice, lucky to have him, and lucky to be here.

He is hard work at times as he has no one to dilute him, so to speak.

But, by the same token, he is so very articulate.

Swings and roundabouts.

He has lots of cousins, we are a close family, he will never be lonely.

You have to do what is right for you, not what you think society expects.


psychomum5 Sun 01-May-05 00:44:40

I am not technically an only child, but I have only half siblings that were not bought up with me, so in a sense I have been. I was lonely, if you want my honest oppinion, and I have now got 5 children who all say they love being one of many. They always have someone there for each other and all play well together. Thats not to say that they don't fight, they do, and they bicker, and it is hard work, but it is also so rewarding too.

My MIL was an only child and altho she loved it when she was younger....she is very close to her own mother (now in her nineties!!!), she wishes now that she did have someone to share things with other than her DH and sons. She went on to have two sons but with a large gap, so they too grew up almost like lone children......both went on to desire large families with small age gaps!

Having said that, I have a couple of friends with only children and the children are delights, the parents are so much less stressed than me (for obvious reasons really!), and they would recommend it to anyone.

I think the key here tho is whether you would be happy just having the one. If you think in any way that you will regret it, then none of you will be fully happy and may yearn for what you don't have, instead of relishing all that you do.

I hope this makes sense....and also that it helps....xxxxxxxxxxxx

edodgy Sun 01-May-05 00:47:26

I am an only child and i always wanted a brother or sister but it also had its advantages as well..I make friends easily due to years of practice when i went on holiday with my parents if i didnt make any friends there i wouldnt have had any other children to play with, i also had the sole attention of my parents. It taught me to enjoy my own company and to amuse myself though I do remember times when i wished for a sibling to play with, all of my friends had brothers and sisters and although they argued i knew they were best friends. My parents both died by the time i was 22 (my dad died when i was 15, my mum when i was 22) and i really wish now that i had a brother or sister as i dont really see any of my aunts or uncles etc and it would be lovely for my dd to have aunties and uncles on my side and i also know that if i'd had siblings to share my grief with certain times would have been made alot easier and i wouldnt have felt so alone. I have 1dd and am currently pregnant with no.2 i consciously made the descision to have more than one child because of my own experiences. Also my dp has 5 siblings and its lovely to see that big family environment especially as most of them have kids now. To be honest i feel like ive missed out more as an adult than as a child due to being the only one. I dont think only children are deprived or necessarilly spoilt (this assumption used to really annoy me as a child as i got no more material things than any of my friends). I think its a personal descison and you know whats right for you and your family.
hope this helps

Sugarmag Sun 01-May-05 07:04:32

Well, I have a sibling and two children - so no advice here on what it's like to be or have an only child. What I would like to say is not to take too lightly the comments about it being harder work.

Don't get me wrong - I always wanted two kids, I didn't hesitate to have my second, I adore them both and now feel like my family is complete. They're only 2 and 4 but already play together, learn from each other, hug and kiss each other, amuse each other when mummy or other friends can't or won't, and yes, fight with each other too. I can't imagine life with only 1.

But I think it's fair to say that life with 2 children is more than twice as hard as life with one. People say the second one is easier and in some ways this is true - you certainly don't sweat the small stuff second time around. Dummies, good or evil? Didn't sterilise that spoon before DS stuck it in his mouth. Which pushchair/carseat/highchair to buy. You pretty much don't worry about it unless it's going to kill him. But unless your second is an absolute angel baby who never cries, never wakes up at night and never gets sick, you start to worry alot more about your own well being.

I think it's the levels of stress with more than one that seem to multiply. Imagine you're trying to get their dinner ready and they're hungry and don't want to wait. With one child - give her a breadstick or put the telly on for a few minutes. Problem solved. With two - the little one is screaming, doesn't like telly at the best of times and won't be appeased with a mere breadstick, the older one needs help on the toilet - or worse yet has had a little accident. Very quickly your blood pressure rises!

And when they get sick, they never get sick at the same time. So it's one and then the other (and then maybe you if you're lucky) adn then maybe the first one again. Which can mean long periods of time stuck at home/off work/nursing sick people. Just another thing to think about.

As I'm sure you know, children demand a lot of love and attention. And you want to give it. You want to be a good parent and give them your undivided attention for at least a little while every day. You want to hear about their days, see what they've learned, read to them, draw with them, teach them something new, or maybe just sit and cuddle them. And sometimes they don't want to share this time with a sibling. Which I think is fair enough. I mean, they do play together, and I do play with them both together adn stress the importance of sharing. But it's also important that they each get a little bit of you just to themselves. Which is fine except it means the amount of time just for yourself gets smaller and smaller.

Please don't misunderstand - I'm not trying to put you off. I love having two children and wouldn't have it any other way. But it seems that a lot of people seem to add on the "yes it is harder work but.." as a bit of an afterthought. I just thought you should give that side of it a bit more consideration.

Twiglett Sun 01-May-05 07:10:33

I think if your DH is adamant he doesn't want any more then you should discuss it with him

yes personally I find 2 more fun, but I would also like more and DH is fairly adamant he doesn't (partly due to my horrible pregnancies with weird unexpected side effects). I am from a family of 4 children, DH is one of 9 btw

I think I must be unusual because I find having 2 easier than having 1 (but will admit to having remarkably placid babies, its only when he hit 3 that DS started to get challenging )

There is a 3 year 3 month age gap between my 2 and DD is just coming up to her first birthday. DS entertains DD, DD entertains DS it just seems to work (despite daily niggles)

but I do think you need to discuss with DH why he is so adamant he doesn't want more and start from there, it might actually be a feeling he can't overcome so may be a moot point

bobbybob Sun 01-May-05 07:17:07

I also have just the one two year old. Of my friends with children, lots have older children and a child the same age as ds, or they are pg or have just had another baby.

Paid parental leave for self employed people will finally hit NZ in July 2006, and so I have set 7 months before that as a date before which I simply do not have to decide whether or not to have another. It will also give me time to decide whether I really need another child, or am just getting clucky at all these other babies.

cupcakes Sun 01-May-05 07:23:53

I have a ds (almost 5) and a dd (2). I think having a younger sibling is good for him in lots of ways but I also wonder if he'd be happier as an only child. At the moment they fight a lot and he gets very frustrated with her - she ruins his games, hits him and then he gets told off for retaliating... poor boy!
I had 2 younger siblings and really enjoyed their company when younger - especially when we moved twice in one year and they were my best friends. As adults though we have good relationships but we're not especially close which does sadden me a little.
I suppose it all comes down to personality and being related doesn't guarantee you'll be best friends for life.
To echo earlier sentiments...

swings and roundabouts!

wilfulwife Sun 01-May-05 07:40:25

first off,never listen to anyone who says"ooh ,but only children are spoilt,selfish,demanding,lonely,can@t mix with children,always hang around adults,blah blah bloody blah"RUBBISH.How we parent our children is what counts.I know plenty of spoilt,whining ,demanding kids with siblings.My Ds(6),is not spoilt because we don't spoil him,not pandered to -no way!he is very popular with other children,is incrediably fair minded and generous,he amuses himself well but loves having friends over.Ok,so you do have to make sure you invite lots of kids around,but actually most of his friends with smaller siblings really seem to love coming over-escape from their siblings i reckon!!He obviously has many faults-inherited my short fusee i think,but i can honestly say that it,s how you bring your kids up not how many you have.AAH,rant over!!but can't stand lazy generalisations about "only" children.If you are happy with one dont feel you"have"to have another,certainly not to provide a sibling anyhow.

WideWebWitch Sun 01-May-05 07:46:38

Haven't read the other responses but I had 2 sisters and we were (and still do!) always falling out, maybe because there were 3 of us, maybe because of other things, I don't know. But I am glad I have siblings. DP is envious because he's an only child and wishes he had my large (to him anyway, esp as both his parents are only children, I have tons of aunts and cousins too) family. I have a 7yo ds and now a 18mo dd and I love having 2 children but it is much more work, obviously! I have a big age gap so maybe it's easier than if there's a smaller gap though. It's hard to tell someone else what will be right for them though, all I can say is that I don't regret a second child, not for a minute and I thought I didn't really want another!

RachelsAunty Sun 01-May-05 08:16:53

I'm one of three and I wanted lots of children of my own. I wanted 6!!! I badgered & bullied my husband into having a child before he was ready and (my ds is 6.5) my dh has been suffering with depression ever since. We both love ds dearly & wouldn't swop him for the world, but I wouldn't badger or bully dh into having another. I really believe that I could end up with 2 children and no dh and I think its far better to have one ds with daddy than 2 without...
Not that I'm trying to put you off or anything,!! you understand, but talk it through at length and let him make his own decision........

Gobbledigook Sun 01-May-05 08:47:15

It's a tough one because it's what is right for you.

I have 3 children (4, 2.5, 8m) and I love it but then I am one of 3 and I loved my childhood - having 2 siblings was fabulous and I wanted to recreate that for my own children. I was close to my brothers as a child and we are still close now - family get togethers are great fun as there is lots of interaction when all of us are there. My 3 are great - they entertain each other and get on really well, hug and kiss each other etc. Obviously they have their moments when they bicker but nothing could take away from the wonderful moments when you catch them chatting together, hatching a plan or having a cuddle. It's just amazing and adds a whole new dynamic to your family when you have a 2nd, 3rd..sibling.

There are generalisations about only children and I know there will be exceptions, but my niece is an only child and boy can you tell. She's only 3.5 but she gets so much full on adult attention that she can't do without it. They were visiting us last week and she was totally unable to play without her Mum or Nan sitting with her and she absolutely cannot cope with my ds's chasing etc - she runs up to her Mum or Nan shouting 'hold me!'. This obviously is partly down to personality, partly down to how she's being brought up and she isn't used to other children as she is looked after by her grandparents while her parents work and doesn't go to nursery or toddler groups or anything. So I'm not attributing all of this to being an only child but I do think she'd benefit from a sibling.

A friend of mine is also an only child and does say that Christmas's and holidays etc were quite dull as a child as there would just be her and her parents and now she feels the pressure of being the only one to deal with any issues her parents might have.

So to answer your questions - I was one of 3 and no way would I like to have been an only child - I loved being from a 'big' family. Having a second child myself just made life better and having a 3rd better again - having 3 of 4 and under is hard, hard work but that's far outweighed by the joy you feel of seeing them all together.

However, you are blessed to have one child and he is not going to have a terrible life just because he doesn't have any brothers or sisters if that's what is going to work best for you and your dh.

RachelsAunty Sun 01-May-05 08:55:39

Just a sounds like I meant its only his decision, obviously, try & make it together!

Goldfish Sun 01-May-05 09:44:33

I am one of four sisters and although we argued a lot when growing up, we are all the best of friends now and see or ring each other all the time. I have 2 children a year apart in age and it was really hard work when they were younger (they are now 10 and 11), my 2nd child was a very bad sleeper and I did sometimes wonder if my first child suffered because I was so tired all the time. Saying that though, now they are older, although they do fight, the majority of time they are good company for each other, even though they go off with their own friends they still do things together.

One of my sisters had 3 children, the other 2 but one of them has one child and she is adamant that she will not have another one. She is quite happy with one child, he is now 7 and he seems perfectly happy. She doesn't care what anyone else thinks, she is doing what feels right for her, and I think this is the only way that you can be. Although me and my sisters are close, I know adults who have nothing to do with their siblings, and I think if I didn't have my sisters I would probably have made more friends elsewhere. I do have close friends (don't want to sound like billy no-mates) but I would probably have made more of them if I weren't so close to my sisters. (I think that makes sense .

Mog Sun 01-May-05 17:38:10

Gobbledigook - It's reassuring that you were close to your brothers. I have a dd of nearly 4, ds of 2 and new ds of 7 months. I worry a bit that my dd will get left out as we are not planning any more. Do you think it made you more adventurous or comfortable with boys. I can already see that dd gets involved in more raucous games since she has brothers (see this as a positive by the way as she can be timid at times).
Sorry for the thread highjack!

sallystrawberry Sun 01-May-05 17:45:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aloha Sun 01-May-05 18:08:54

I was one of two and for various complicated reasons wasn't and am not close to my brother at all. I really wanted to change that dynamic in my family. I have a stepdaughter of 13, a son of 3.7 and a daughter who is almost three months. I really, really like it. I particularly enjoy the love my son feels for his baby sister and the way they interact. My stepdaughter also enjoys her siblings. It's fab when all three are here together. However, I know wonderful only children, and all children are only children for a while. My stepdaughter was an 'only' until she was seven, my son until he was three. Very nice kids, both.
Also, yes, I would like to have an adult sibling I was close to and to have cousins for my kids, but it wasn't to be, so even having two or three children is by no means a guarantee that they will have family when they are grown up.
One of the reasons I wanted another child was because of the lack of cousins and aunts and uncles etc.

Flossam Sun 01-May-05 18:23:44

I was an only child and I have to say I'm adament I don't want DS to be. I found the opposite to Edodgy, I found it harder to make friends and absolutely hated school, both primary and secondary. I didn't know how to interact with other children and was bullied, which destroyed my self confidence. I didn't know how to stick up for myself. It could be alot to do with how I was brought up by my parents too, I fully appreciate that. But in some ways it makes sense that someone who has less contact with their peers (ie, at home) will find in harder to deal with them.

I will definately be hoping for another baby, I think DP is willing (although he will be home with baby a couple of days a week soon so his ideas may change! )! I think DS would be more likely to be spoilt as an only child which is something else I'd very much like to avoid. He will be my mum's only grandchild - need I say more?! Also DP believes that as an only child I have been 'emotionally spoilt'. I'm not entirely sure what he means! But I think it has to do with the fact that obviously all attention was on me!!

I think you sound like you want another - you sound as though you are trying to justify it to yourself - coping with the stress etc. How does DH feel about the idea? It's ok to change your mind you know!

swedishmum Sun 01-May-05 22:08:00

I'm an only child and the reason I hated it was more to do with the type of parenting I received than not having siblings. My dad ( a vicar) and mum (social worker) never had real friends, always thought I was too good for village kids, had no close family themselves, moved and changed my school frequently (from pre-prep went to 6 schools I can remember before taking my 11 plus at 9 etc etc... was always v bright and good at violin but no friends until much later. Am still hugely suspicious of why people like me and have to try hard to make simple social phone calls. Saddest family photo is of bride and groom families at my wedding - dh with his huge clan and me with my middle-class dysfunctional mini-group.
My views are obviously affected by my unhappy childhood so I have 4 children and couldn't be happier.

Gobbledigook Sun 01-May-05 22:34:40

Mog - hey our children are almost the same age! And like me, your dd is the eldest with 2 younger brothers AND the age gaps are very similar to myself and my brothers

I wasn't a girlie, girl growing up but I wouldn't describe myself as a tomboy either - I had dolls, just not loads and was happy playing with Star Wars figures as well as making up little plays and dressing up my brothers, like girls do

I wouldn't say it made me more comfortable around boys particularly either though I wasn't uncomfortable. I went to an all girls secondary school but met boys through working Saturday jobs and stuff like that but I certainly didn't have loads of boyfriends.

We just all got on sort of equally - sometimes 2 were 'ganging up' on the other but it wasn't always the same 2 by any means and basically we all got on and stuck up for each other if we had to!

I don't think you need to worry about your dd - I didn't feel in any way left out being the girl at all - we were all treated equally so all felt equal. Your dd is very lucky to have her two brothers - I adore mine and it was fun, fun, fun growing up with them. I wouldn't change a thing

jamiesam Sun 01-May-05 22:52:32

So you love being pregnant and you love being a mum? Hmm, sounds like an easy decision?!

Dh and I are both from big families (I have 4 brothers and sisters, he has 3 brothers) and I always assumed we'd have 3 children.

We have 2 so far, aged 3.5 and 21mths, are pretty much great friends and small squabbles are normal/healthy I reckon.

Advise from sister-in-law some time ago (who has 4 kids) - you can always cope with one less than you have. So if you do go for no. 2, ENJOY how easy it is with only 1! I'm trying to make having 2 look like a piece of cake atm (ha ha ha) as I'm hoping to ttc soon. Good luck.

fatmomma Sun 01-May-05 23:38:23

Thanks everyone for your input. It is strangely reassuring to have so many differing opinions from people who grew up in similar families. I guess it just reinforces what many of you have said - the parenting is more important than the size of the family.

I suppose my own experience reflects this too. I have an older sister and a younger brother but had a fairly lonely childhood from age 10 onward. Everything was fine until my sister hit puberty and turned in to the b*tch from hell! My baby brother was quite poorly as a child so parents spent a lot of time at hospital with him. I now get on well with my brother but really don't like my sister at all. Swings & roundabouts as many of you have said.

Jamiesam - you are quite right, when you put it like that it does sound like an easy decision! I would just have to talk to dh, although when I have mentioned it he hasn't recoiled in horror.

Of course, if we did decide to ttc that brings up the next problem - sex . Don't get me wrong, I still find my dh very attractive but since ds arrived my libido has disappeared . Any tips on 'restoking the fire'? I know Dr McKeith would tell me to eat mung beans and cucumber smoothies but i'm afraid I am a confirmed carnivor!

Mog Mon 02-May-05 15:35:41

Gobbledigook - thanks for the reassurance. It made me feel all glowing and rosy thinking my three could be as close as you and your db's.

And as well as having children the same age I read on another thread that third ds was the undoing of your wrinkle-free tummy. Snap - although I think part of it for me is having neither the time nor energy to do a single tummy crunch now I have three pre-schoolers. I was pretty good after the first two but now if I have a free moment I get horizontal and don't move!

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