This having an only child thing is a tricky business.

It’s one of those topics I’m afraid to look up on Amazon.

I’m sure there’s books about the subject. I’m even more sure the internet is just BURSTING! with ADVICE!

I want to ask her preschool teacher how obvious it is that she’s the only only child in a class of 12.

But I don’t want to know the answer.

Or maybe I do?

There are lists of famous people who are only children (Carey Grant, Frank Sinatra, Rudy Guiliani) also famous people who are middle children (Madonna, Donald Trump, Bill Gates) and of course the babies of the family (Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Billy Crystal) I’m sure there’s also lists about only girls in families, only boys. Blah blah blah. Cody is a middle child and an only boy.

Needless to say he’s good with the ladies. And successful.

I am the youngest, I tried way too hard to be grown up like my sister way before my time.

I should technically be the funny kid.

And that brings me to Addie. When there’s only one there’s a bigger chance to screw up, you know, because there’s only one. You don’t have one to practice on and a second one to get right (because I’m sure that’s how it works.)

Eh. Sorry, I just have to say it out loud.

I’m really afraid of screwing up.

Thanks for listening.

Comments

  1. Danielle says:

    I feel the same way. EXACTLY. I am afraid that a child who has all my hopes and dreams dumped on just her will not be good. I am frequently saying how few well adjusted adults I know who are only children. I am also afraid to look online but will need to suck it up if we don’t have another so I don’t screw my girl up totally!

  2. My husband is an only child and his parents constantly worried about if they were screwing up.

    That. Is why he is so wonderful. He had very caring parents that paid attention to him all the time. (I forgot to feed my third child dinner tonight – she was napping on the couch while we were eating – she also took her 1st school pictures in a cheerleading costume because I forgot it was picture day – I don’t worry about screwing up – I know the damage has been done)

  3. If your worried you care enough that everything will turn out okay. Love is the most important thing and she has plenty of that!

  4. I know what you mean. There are things that I’m sure I would do differently if I had it to do over again. My mom was just telling me today that she’s done way better with my little brothers than she did with us.

    All that said, you’re not screwing up. You’re doing great.

  5. I’ve typed up a comment 7 times and it always sound sarcastic and mean and know it all ish… I don’t know anything about parenting, I’m not a parent.

    But from a teacher’s point of view, if you know you’re child isn’t perfect, if you don’t make excuses for your child, and you tell your child no when necessary so when they hear it in my classroom they don’t flip out, I think you’ll both be just fine!

    Hopefully that sounds like I meant it to, lol!

  6. Look, Listen and Love. And and she will be just fine.

    lceel Reply:

    @lceel, YOU and she will be just fine.

    It helps if I type when not distracted.

  7. Maybe this is just my twisted way of thinking… but I sometimes think that despite my parent’s best tries at NOT screwing me up (or screwing me up, depending on how you look at it) – kids are resilient. You can have kids come out of the worst situations with the best attitudes… and the kids with everything are total screwups.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this – other than to say that if she has half of the qualities of her parents, she will be just fine.

  8. If you’re worried that you’ll screw her up, you’re in the right place–what do they say, only good moms WORRY about being bad moms? The really bad moms don’t care :-)

    Having blabbed all that, you obviously love her and that is the most important thing. I know, duh.

  9. Maura Barth says:

    My husband is an only child and he is one of the most giving, patient, and genuinely kind people I’ve ever met. His parents just did their best and taught him the things that they knew… right from wrong, good manners, please and thank you, etc. He grew up to be a wonderful person.

    I am the oldest of 4, and am 10 years older than my only sister, who is the youngest. all 4 of us are different, but we all turned out to be good people. I attribute that to being raised by good people.

    I think we get a lot of who we are from watching who our parents are… and if your little girl is watching her parents she will turn out to be a wonderful person!

  10. I’m pretty sure we’re all worried about screwing it (them) up – only child or not.

    I’m just glad we’ve got this community to fall back on. :)

    You are doing great and will continue to do great with Addie – I have total faith in you. :)

  11. You do the best you can and love them unconditionally. Here are two things that help me remember what to do:
    (1) Having a heart for my children:
    http://dialinghome.blogspot.com/2010/02/fpw-having-heart-for-my-children.html

    (2)The video: defining a movement:
    http://dialinghome.blogspot.com/2010/02/defining-movement.html

    You are doing just fine! And with one, you don’t have to divide your love or attention that is the hard part of having more than one.

  12. I’m an only. I turned out okay…ish. Heh. I can’t speak from a parenting stand point, but I can say that the relationship between an only & their parents is really special and unique. You & Cody will do a fantastic job with Addie. I have no doubt.

  13. I’m an only child and I’d liek to think that I turned out better than OK. All thanks to my mother who sacrificed her career and made sure she was there when I got home from school and did her best. Also my dad was a lawyer and…he was hardly ever home. Don’t worry I still loved him very much.
    You madam, are doing a great job already! Your daughter will grow up to be a very impressive, intelligent young woman!

  14. Spring B says:

    I’m an only and I turned out fine. I value my frienships so much more, I value my extended family that much more. My relationship with my parents was unique & very special. My mom was my best friend and NEVER let me think I deserved the world from other people…although she & dad gave it to me.

    Because you care about screwing up, you won’t. We all do the best we can. I’m sure I will screw up in some way with my daughter, but hopefully, all the good I do for her will outweigh it. You’ll be fine, and moosh…she’ll grow up to rock just like her momma!

  15. Michelle says:

    If you practice on your first, and then get it right on your second…then my son will have the perfect girl training! :D

  16. Sorry to burst your bubble, but even with two you can’t escape the fear that you’re going to completely screw them up.

  17. Don’t forget that there are some serious benefits to being an “only.” (My older two kids could list them for you ad nauseum.) Also I have to tell you that you will screw up some things, because all moms do. But it is impossible to screw up an ENTIRE child barring some horrific child abuse. (And being raised in Indiana as an only does NOT count as horrific child abuse, unless you never take her to the State Fair.)
    You love that little girl. There is no doubt that God picked you to be her mom because you are exactly right for her. He also knew exactly how many siblings she would end up having, so if it is zero, then that is exactly what she needs.
    You are a great mom. Trust yourself. I do.

  18. I have 2 boys, I’m afraid of screwing up all the time! You can only do your best, one kid or ten. She’s looks like a happy, healthy little girl so I’d say you’re doing a great job.

  19. For the past, I would say, 2 years my husband and I have been having the argument on whether to have or not to have another. Sara is 4 in May and I always said to myself I would never want to have more than 3 years in between children. When your really look at it though, she is not really missing too much. She is 4, she won’t remember everything that goes on at this age. She has fun with her mommy and daddy, she gets to go on road trips and we go swimming and bowling and all the fun stuff children like to do. She has friends her age, she enjoys the company of children at daycare. She will be starting kindergarten in September and will make even more friends there.

    I know that a friend can never replace the friendship of a sibling, but as long as she is happy at this age I think that’s all that matters.

    I think my biggest concern about letting my husband win the only child battle would be when she is old and we are long gone. She wont have a sister or brother to call when she’s lonely. She wont have nieces or nephews to come over for a visit. She wont have a close person she could trust her life with. Grieving our loss will be lonely. Things like that bug me. I just wish that in the future I will be blessed enough to have another, but for now, I think it’s just fine to have one.

    You shouldn’t worry about classifying Addie into a group of funny one’s or shy one’s or messed up one’s, I think you should just do you best and be yourself. You’re a Mom, you’re not perfect, no one is. Even if you had 5 children, they would be all different, you would make mistakes with all of them, and they would be who they are regardless. You are a great person, you couldn’t screw up to the point of irreversible effects if you tried. Think of all those poor children with drug addicted parents who let their kids eat dirt and live is squalor… for the unfortunate ones who aren’t removed by children services, there are many that come out of places like that and succeed. Some go on to become business moguls or engineers.

    Just think positive and try your best… and I guarantee you will be successful!

  20. Ditto Jeff’s words. The fact that you care shows what a great mom you are.

    I had 3 only children in my close circle of childhood friends. I’m proud to still call them my friends–they are all caring and wonderful, and the ones with children of their own are terrific parents.

  21. Uh… I don’t mean to be insensitive, but have you seen your kid? She’s as amazing as they come. Every time I see you with her I’m in awe of your patience and parenting skills. It’s something I’ve never seen first hand. Don’t worry. You’re doing a bang up job.

  22. Two of my cousins are only children and they are wonderful. One is 24 and in school, and the other is 3. They’re not perfect, of course, but they are two of my favorite people.

    Try not to worry too much. I think you make an amazing mom! Just from seeing the pictures you post, Addie seems like the happiest kid in the world, and that didn’t happen by accident. You and Cody are doing wonderfully!

  23. Me Too.

  24. I look at it in totally the opposite way. If we had five kids, wouldn’t that multiply the odds of raising a hooligan exponentially? But, I guess with one, you can’t say, “Yeah, I know she’s a douchebucket, but look at him! He’s so perfect! Clearly my parenting skills are not to be held responsible for the douchebucketery.”

  25. Ah yes. I feel you. I think we’re almost too strict with our DS because I worry that he’ll end up a spoiled brat despite how many times we say he has to earn the things he has.

    But, the fact that you and Cody are concerned at all is a good thing. She’ll feel that. Since I’ve been around her, I can say I think you guys are doing great.

  26. Casey- I have two kids and they are both only kids. They are both so different and their needs differ so drastically that even though there are two of them, my parenting approach differs greatly with them. All children have their special gifts that the Lord gives to them and we have to develop them individually. All children should feel like they were an only child and not mixed with the bunch and treated as a whole. That is what self esteem is about. You will do wonderful, I know many that have seen you grow and change and you will be able to give her a perspective no others will. You have the right keys and tools and prayer works miracles.

  27. Amy in StL says:

    I don’t have kids; this is the main reason. I’m terrified at the thought of raising a person.

    But honestly? Despite all the bad things my parents said and I went through as a child…I’m a pretty okay adult. I have my faults – we all do – but I have my good points too. A lot of them (when I’m not being mean to myself!)

    As a parent I think you just try and set a good example and give your kids the freedom to learn and grow. And if you fail at all that? Well, they have a great idea of what not to do!

  28. Casey,

    I think you know I inherited my 5 kids. I am constantly worried that I am messing up with each and every one of them on an individual basis. LOL!

    But seriously, I did think like you did about the whole get it right with subsequent kids. Now, I’m not so sure. It sort of feels like there’s just multiple opportunities to screw up because they are all so very different.

  29. I am so worried about this and my boy is only a month old. My hubby doesn’t want any more kids so I’m pretty sure this will be it. How do you know if you are spoiling them too much? I just want to get it right!

  30. Amen.

  31. Casey~
    I am a lurker and coming out in the open to tell you that if you are worrying about the job you are doing as a parent, then you don’t have to worry! The fact that you care shows that you will do a fine job with the moosh. I have three children, and I do often refer to my oldest as “the experiment kid”… But, as they each grow older, they each have their own personalities and present to my husband and I their own sets of challenges, so I just get to do the “only” X 3 with the benefits of an occasional fight between siblings! :-)
    Keep up the great work with Addie–oh, and I LOVE your pics!

  32. My mom is an only child. She kicks ass.

  33. I’m an only child…my parents were 24 & 28 when they had me – we grew up together! We did everything together, it was always the 3 of us and I learned how to be really creative because I didn’t always have a play mate. I’m sure there was a time (like when I was in high school) that my mother wondered if I was going to totally screw it all up and if she had contributed to it…but days go on, kids grow up and my parents are my best friends. They even sold our family home of 28 years to move 3 hours away to our town so that they could be closer to me and my family. I was perfectly fine having one child (since that’s all that I know anyway). I’m incredibly close to my parents and I know a lot of that comes from the fact that it was just the 3 of us for all of those years…by the way, they BOTH walked me down the aisle!

    You are doing a great job! She will turn out to be the most amazing, funny and independent woman and who knows maybe 28 years from now you will be up-rooting just so that you can be closer to her again!

  34. I agree with an above commenter, if you are worried that you are screwing up you are doing it right.

    Also, my oldest is way more responsible and obedient than the younger. I totally blame her…its not my parenting skillz…LOL

  35. I’ve been reading you for so long…and been quite scared to say anything.

    I had a baby and a hysterectomy at age 23. I worried so hard about how she was going to grow up alone with no sibling. If she would be too spoiled, too bratty, too alone.

    We adopted a baby later. When she was 7. He has lots of special needs. We didn’t know that at the time.

    I’ve been very careful to cultivate the beauty in my daughter, rather than to dwell on the negatives…and it’s working really well! ;) So far.

    Until she turns, you know, all girly and gets her period. :(

    You are incredible.

  36. I’ve got 4 boys and I’m pretty sure no matter how hard I work to insure a “normal” childhood for them…they will still have issues. Period.

    I’m still overwhelmed at times that I’m the grown up. Actually in charge of them. I still need may parents – A LOT, even though they didn’t DO everything perfectly…I have figured out they know more than me.

    Hope ours make it to that point sooner than later!

  37. I know you. I know your daughter. You are FAAAAAAR from failing that child, sweetie. You are an amazing mom, Addie is an amazing little girl.

    XO

  38. Anna Grace says:

    You are officially my favorite blogger, and I read (read:lurk on) a whole lotta great blogs!

    Oh yeah. And you’re a great parent. So tell your inner voice if it can’t say nothin’ nice to you, not to say anythin’ at all. Or you could just stick her in a closet if she insists on saying things to you like you’re a bad parent. My inner voice is mean to me, she kinda lives in time out.

  39. See… now I’m afraid I’m totally messing up with the 2nd one. Poor Ana doesn’t get nearly as much attention as Zoe did. Just look right here at this exact moment in time. I’m commenting on your blog… and Ana is off is the TV room with the Wiggles. You know what though? She’s happy and laughing… so I suppose it’s not all bad. (Right?)

    I honestly think that whether you have 1 or 2 or 5 or whatever you still worry about whether you’re doing it “right” or not.

  40. I think it’s being afraid of screwing up that makes you a good mom. If you thought you were doing everything right and had it all under control, that’s when it’s a good time to worry.

    Addie’s going to turn out awesome.

  41. I am an only child, and we both know I turned out WONDERFUL. (yes, with a beautiful accent).
    Don’t worry honey. Life is full of people without siblings. And I am sure God will bless her with a husband who has many siblings (just like he did me).

    The only concern I have is when YOU are old and SHE is the ONLY one to take care of you. Then, there may be a problem. (currently living through that……will let you know how it turns out)

    Hugs.

  42. You are truly and honestly a much better mother than I am…or than I will EVER be. I mean that with ALL of my heart. You are doing great.

  43. I have an only child who is 6 and even though that ship has 99.99999999% SAILED, I still think about this all the time. I worry, I ruminate, I daydream and scheme ((should I fight an uphill battle and MAKE it happen)) and then I realize: he’s okay. He’s more than okay. I’m the one who has to think about the differences but he has never known it any other way. He has nothing to compare it to. I think because you worry and care, it means your child is going to be more than fine because you are a great parent. And having more or less doesn’t take away from that. Glad to have found you.

  44. I think there is a tendency to equate negative things with upbringings that are different to our own. I’m guilty of this. I’m not an only child, but my husband is. And it is oh, so tempting to equate certain less desirable personality attributes to his only child status. This is of course, without any merit whatsoever. It’s impossible to know what he gets from being an only child, what is personality and what is a whole bunch of experiences jammed together. For him, the only negative part about it that as far as his parents are concerned, it’s all on him. And that can be a lot of pressure. At least my parents have the ability to spread the crazy around.

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