8 Things Never to Say to a Mom of an Only Child

Eye Roll 644

number oneI've got one child. It might be by choice. It might not be. It doesn't matter. It's personal. Still, that doesn't stop people from asking if I'll have more, when I'll have more, why don't I have more. Or stop them from telling me I have to have more, my life is no good without more, I'm not a "real" mom without more.

Hurtful.

Insulting.

Ignorant.

Rude.

These are declarations that I -- and other moms of only children -- really don't want to hear. Questions we really don't want to answer. So be kind. Take the time to read this list -- and the next time you find yourself saying something like this to another mother, bite your lip, and give her a sweet compliment instead.

  1. "When are you having another baby?" This is wrong for all kinds of reasons. Maybe I don't want another baby. Maybe I desperately want another baby (and can't have one for whatever reason -- feel like a jerk now?). Maybe I'm currently pregnant and don't want anyone to share the news just yet. Maybe I've just had a miscarriage and I'm in mourning (again with the jerk thing). I'll have another baby when I want to, if I can, and when I'm ready. Until then, not your business. Wait for the baby notice in the mail. Seriously, don't ask.
  2. "Oh, you 'don't know' cause you haven't had your second one yet." Don't know? Don't know what? I know exactly what it's like to be a mother. Last time I checked, one kid is all you need.
  3. "You're so lucky you can [fill in the blank] because you've got only one kid." So true, so true. Because I have only one child, I spend my days lounging around, watching soap operas (are those still on?), and eating bon bons. I'm thinking you might have one confused with none. I still do need to read Good Night Moon a thousand times (in one sitting), kiss boo boos, watch this ... watch this ... watch this!, survive with no sleep, go to the pediatrician, worry, wash crayons off walls, deal with mommy playground politics, do laundry, plan birthday parties, take showers, cook dinner, potty train, go to Mommy & Me class, have food spit in my face ... you get the picture. See that? One. None. That N makes all the difference.
  4. "Every child needs a brother or sister." If I don't want another child, I'm pretty sure I disagree with that statement. And I probably believe that my kid can have a happy, fulfilling life and won't turn out to be a serial killer. But if I do believe in the importance of siblings and feel beyond guilty for not being able to give my son or daughter one, then congratulations -- you just made me feel even worse.
  5. "Well. It's easy for you to be in shape because you were only pregnant once." That MUST be it. It really has nothing to do with the fact that I exercise and eat right. The one-kid thing is totally why all moms of singletons look like triathletes and moms of more are fat slobs.
  6. "It's so hard with three kids." The inverse of #3, but still, worth repeating. Are you implying that my job as mom isn't as hard as yours? For those of you who stay home with your three kids 24/7, or work and come home to your three kids, I'd agree. My hat is off to you and you can stop reading now. But for those of you who want to tell us single-kid moms how hard it is to have three kids, it's probably best not to do it at these times: a) When I see you in the coffee shop with my kid in tow, where you're meeting a friend for lunch (followed by a pedicure!) after having done your morning workout class. b) When I run by you on the road struggling with my 40-pound kid in a 20-pound jog stroller as you come breezing by, enjoying a long luxurious run because you just dropped your 3-year-old off at "school" and your 8-week-old twins off at daycare. c) Just after you've told me that you're going away on a four-day spa trip because you need some "alone" time when I haven't spent a night away from my "just one" ... ever. You might "have" three (a blessing not a burden!), but my one is always with me.
  7. "Don't you want to try for a girl/boy?" Sort of like #1, but worse. Are you saying the gender I got "stuck" with isn't good enough? Or is it that my life will somehow be incomplete if I don't have one of each?
  8. "Are you trying for another one?" I'm sorry, did you just ask me if I'm having sex?

A final bit of advice: Don't repeat all (or any) of the above EVERY SINGLE TIME we see you. We didn't appreciate it the first time.

Moms with "just one" kid -- what would you add to this list?


More from The Stir: 5 Things Never to Say to an Adoptive Parent

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Image via andrechinn/Flickr

a mom's life, infertility, siblings, miscarriage & loss, trying to conceive