You may have noticed that this is not a mothers blog in any way. But I feel compelled to write this down. Mark it down to mid life angst - this will probably be one of a handful of posts on the state of parenting in our household.
For many many years I was asked the question 'why don't you have kids?'. And yes it was often asked subtly (not always though) or with my (purported) interests at heart (because naturally EVERY woman wants to be a mother. Not). But it was also asked with malice and one up-man-ship in mind (I have kids and they have made my life SO much better. Whatever, say I). I learnt to swat away the question, deftly and without pain to either party. I didn't want kids up to a certain point and no one was going to plan my life beside me.
And then five years ago I had a child. And yes he is Magic. M.A.G.I.C. The cherry on my already Sundae of a life. And yes he is one of only 5 people I would jump off an actual cliff for (really, and not just in a hypothetical situation). He and V are mine and mine. We live in our own little bubble for the most part. I love this situation, with no reservations, regrets or wants. It fits me and I fit it.
Meanwhile the question hasn't gone away, merely morphed like an alien looking for a new way invade the savvy humans. Now it's 'why don't you have a second child?'. This is not usually asked with any of the subtlety of the pre-child years. It's usually a direct question from people who have two or more kids. It assumes that because I had one I can naturally have another and therefore it is just me stopping this from happening. Never mind that there may be 300 other factors like health or age or god forbid not wanting to have another child. It's not always one up-man-ship (although it is sometimes), it's sometimes (intentionally) cruel (although they have no clue about my situation one way or another). It's often as if they have found the secret of siblings (whether to play with each other or be there for each other after the parents are long gone) and think everyone should be in the same club. It's not everyone but it's enough that I notice. It's often unasked but always implied in polite dribs.
I wouldn't mind the question were it from a well meaning but non pitying place. Or a less passive aggressive place where your second kid is not the win of a race. Good for you. You wanted 3 kids or 7 kids and you got them. Seriously I am pleased for you. Whether or not I can have or want a second child or an eight child is entirely irrelevant to your existence.
Will he be lonely when we are dead and gone? Sure he will. But grief is a lonely situation anyway. Also the state of siblings is not always utopian. You can hope and work for your kids to get along but there is no guarantee they won't fight or ignore each other as adults (far more common to have adult squabbles over inheritance or just not get along than one would think). And I've seen plenty of well balanced and wonderful single children. So that argument doesn't hold any merit. And yes I have a sibling and I know what it's like to have shared history and blood with only one other person. We have a great relationship and he is one of the 5 I'd jump of that cliff for. I'm one the sets that do get along. But I'm aware it isn't so for all others. Also this is not the reason I'm not having more kids. What my reasons are are entirely mine.
I have strong opinions (you know this) and I'm the queen of telling it straight (you know this too). But I've tempered these and toned down my speak aloud-ness of responses. I instead find other ways to vent my frustration. Words on a page like this work for me. As do cryptic WhatsApp status messages.
In closing, my son is an only child. This may or may not change; I am approaching my dwindling fertility 40s rapidly and there are other circumstances that govern all decision making. Decisions and lives that you know nothing about and are not yours to comment on. I love that he is my sole focus. I'm not clamouring for more kids. He is what I need and have and want. I'm not judging people with more kids and I wish they would stop judging me. So don't use your passive aggressive shit on me world. I ain't going to be riled up by it anymore.
I am a single child and I turned out ok and so did others that I know who are in the same boat :) I don't think there are set answers, but like you said, the people most likely to ask you that question are those who have two kids and assume that to be the natural state of affairs.ReplyDelete
To each his own. Disclaimer, I have two sons, and am enjoying watching them grow up :)
Thank you for writing this post. That's all I am saying.ReplyDelete
The world is full of people who are unable to mind their own damn business. It's just no fun dealing with them.ReplyDelete
Like the rest of life,
siblings don't come with any guarantees anyway.
My brother went and predeceased both my parents by a few years.
Sister has issues which make companionship difficult, but I'm still glad to have her in my life. Out of the five siblings he grew up with, the spouse is close to exactly one of them. I also know some wonderful single children, who do not seem lonely at all......
I'm one of them child-free women, no maternal gene apparent. But the godmother gene and the athai/aunty/mami/akka genes are well and thriving. So I have no regrets, only many many joys. Ignore those who try to rile you, because they and their pissant opinions do.not.matter. There, my two bits on the topic :)ReplyDelete