I can't remember exactly what it was I was looking for when I stumbled across a blog post in Psychology Today which, depsite that whole black-women-are-the-least-attractive-people-on-the-Earth debacle a while back, is still one of my favorite sites to troll. There's always something interesting going on over there, and the piece I found made me forget what I was scrounching around for in the first place. It presented an interesting argument: are parents with just one child happier than the ones who have, you know, two and three and whole broods?
I don't know about that, but I do know they're probably wealthier, since kids are expensive as all get out. And maybe a little less frazzled, since the more little ones there are in a confined space, the more spazzed out the adult in charge tends to get. And maybe their countdown to that magical year 18 is a little shorter since they only have to wait it out once. But happier? I can't say that for sure since I'm an only child raising an only child. But I do think it kind of shortchanges the poor kid, not having any siblings and all.
I don't buy into the blanket statements about only children being more selfish and totally self-absorbed and balking under the pressure of being the one and only apple of their parents' collective eye. But I do think there's something to be said about growing up with other kids right there in the house and learning all those valuable lessons you get from having to share space and toys and everything else in the house with your brothers and sisters, even if it's just one.
Plus when you're an only, there are no fun stories to tell about resolving a squabble over a doll or strategizing to beat your sibing to the bathroom every morning before school. There's just... you. That was one of the things I hated the most about being the solo kid. The loneliness. Sure, all of those days spent playing in my room by myself made me more creative and resourceful as I blossomed into adult. (Can we be honest that, even if their parents are in fact happier, only children do tend to be just a eensy bit more odd than the average multi-sibling-ed kid?) But it may also be the reason why Girl Child and I slip into a pattern of being more like sisters at times than mother and daughter.
Naturally, I don't advocate for parents popping out more youngsters than they can afford--or want--to take care of. But if the bank account and the circumstances align, I think having more than one is ideal for the kids. The author's byline didn't say what side of the fence she fell on, or if she was even a parent at all, but her reasoning was pretty airtight for letting one be the onliest one. I don't think I'm any happier for having just one, and I'm positive my mama wasn't, either. Heck, if my punishment track record is any indication, then all signs point to a resounding no.
Does the number of kids you have determine how happy you are as a parent?
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