Author’s note: this piece was written in 2014 when I was the mom of an only child and when I was receiving many comments about how I did not know what it was really like to be a mom until I had more. Now the mom of four children, I still fully stand behind what is written!
While I am still waiting for number two to make her debut, it is on my heart to speak to mothers from a very real place in my life right now. If you are like me and only have one child and maybe you are a family who will only have one child, please let me be the first to say you are not a lesser mom because you “only” have one child. You still have hard days, you still have victories, and you are still a mother and it’s still a hard job!
Our society typically seems to think that having multiple children and managing it all is the mark of super mom. But it doesn’t take six children, dinner on the table every night, and homeschooling them all to be super-mom.
I am so very tired of hearing how difficult it is to have multiple kids.
Because in the end, motherhood truly is hard no matter how many children. There should be no judgment of the woman who has one child who can’t “control” their behavior but pity for the woman with multiple children with one acting up. We should be praising all women, building them up on their journey and supporting them where they are. So this one is for you, mom of one child.
The difficult job of motherhood
Whether a working mom, stay at home mom, or somewhere in between, motherhood never takes a day off. The morning where nothing goes right are the days when we all feel stressed and inadequate. Whether with one kid or 7, the struggles and challenges that each new day brings are no less taxing
Being a first time mom is hard because nothing could have ever prepared you for the job you would take on. The long nights, the cranky days, the days of trouble shooting and trial and error. You have no idea what will work with your kid and you keep hearing a million pieces of advice from seasoned mothers and none of them work. You feel like you’re doing something wrong. You feel like you can’t do anything right. You feel like you should know what’s best for your child and sometimes you just don’t.
Life with a first or only child is all a learning experience. You don’t have other children to know how you did it last time (not that it would necessarily help) and chances are there are days when you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing at all. So yes, mom of one child, your job is just as hard.
“Having one must be easy”
No, not exactly. Having no children was easy. (Well easier). But things still don’t get done, there are tantrums regardless of if I have one, two, three, or more children, and in the end it’s not easy.
Entering into motherhood is the greatest “unknown” I have ever had in my life. There is nothing like it. Preparing for childbirth, making decisions for the first time that i had never considered before, and researching everything for my first child was difficult. Now that we are moving on to number two, I feel like I can relax and calm down just a bit. I am not as concerned about every little detail. BUT every new decision I make with my daughter seems so daunting all because it’s new.
Related: Do you need a family reset? We all do from time to time and here’s how.
I love my child and it is nice to have only one child, but again it’s not easy or cheap. Having children (no matter how many) is an investment of both time and money. I mean, financially, we can pass most everything on from our first to our second, third, fourth… except for food of course. In terms of watching child, older children have more of a set routine and historically children have always been a part of the village that raises other kiddos in their family.
Staying up all night with just one child while they are sick is not easy.
Learning your own parenting style is not easy.
Having any number of children is not easy.
Feeding hungry mouths can be just as hard with one or more.
Transitioning into new, unknown stages is not easy.
Teething and growth spurts are not easy.
Setting a routine is not easy.
So no, mom of an only child, you are not lesser of a mom.
“You are going to have your hands full when you have two”
Wait… I don’t have my hands full now? I walked out of church this past week crying almost as hard as my toddler because nothing I could possibly do was making her happy. My hands are completely full and I am trying to juggle this life just like any other mother out there. And I know you are too!
For those that are planning on having more than one child, it seems like the comments are always about how easy life is with just one, but that number two is going to be a holy terror and make your life miserable. In the end, while every child is different, every family also operates differently. We all learn to adjust to the ebbs and flows of life and adding children is no exception. There are moms that have several children hat can handle their days better than a mom that has one and there are moms of one that understand children better than a mother of six.
And like it’s always said, it’s not necessarily the hands that are full, but the hearts that are. And that applies even to the mom of one who struggles to make it to bed time each and every day.
So again mom of one, you are no lesser of a mom.
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In the end, mom of an only child, you are super mom.
You come to the rescue with kisses for scraped knees, words of encouragement in times of failure, and you save the day by picking up and fixing the broken pieces of a favorite toy. You are absolutely not a lesser mom.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!