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The Power of One: In Praise of the ‘Only Child’

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Mama To One Child & Feeling The Guilt? Read On!

“IT’S SUCH a shame she doesn’t have any siblings at home to play with properly…” In a world where even my child’s teacher thinks it’s acceptable to comment on my 4-year-old’s single child status, only children – and their parents – get a hard rap. Spoilt loners who don’t know how to share are some of the kinder charges I’ve heard levelled at ‘lonely onlys’.

Full disclosure: I can’t have any more children naturally. But even if I could, I wouldn’t. That doesn’t mean questions about it don’t make me feel bad though. So whether by luck or circumstance, if there are any other mamas feeling the same single child shame, here is how to make the most of your small but perfectly formed family:

  1. Carve out some one-on-one time with each parent– great for bonding and the parent off-duty gets a little much-needed downtime too.
  2. The power of playdates – Compound life means our daughter often plays in the pool with kids of all ages: a makeshift ex-pat family.
  3. Consider a pet – our long-suffering dog is the ultimate sibling, reminding our daughter that the world doesn’t revolve around her.
  4. Single supplement – the financial freedom of only having one enables us to show our daughter a world she wouldn’t be able to access if she was one of a pack. Bon voyage!
  5. Finally, mamas – be proud of your family regardless of its shape or size – having a family (or not) is a personal decision and nobody should be made to feel bad – or be questioned repeatedly – about it. And be positive: the only problem with having an only child is the word itself – because it implies there’s something missing. Believe me, there’s nothing missing from our family. Except for maybe a good night’s sleep or a bit of peace and quiet, but isn’t that true of every young family?

Read more: Sibling Rivalry: Tips to Stop the Fighting!

Featured Photo by London Scout on Unsplash

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