Stop judging those of us choosing to be a mom of one as selfish and start thinking this instead…Self-care.
According to the CDC, women in the U.S are choosing to have less children, yet there is still a stigma on the decision to only have one child. The only child tends to be labeled or worse in my opinion…they are pitied. Then the parents are seen as selfish. The stigma may have lifted some recently but it’s still there. And it’s flawed. I’d like to offer a different (in my opinion, more correct) take on this reproductive decision.
I am a one and done mom and this choice wasn’t selfish…it was selfcare.
According to the Oxford dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Most people would agree that parenthood and raising a child is a period of stress. It’s a long period.
How many children (many or few) a woman decides to have is nobody else’s business. But since people like to judge and have opinions, how about they all start dropping this selfish concept and start considering what a gift this really is.
I’ll start with the gift to the world…a reduced carbon footprint. According to a study reported in The Guardian, having fewer children is the best way to reduce your ecological footprint. Followed by living car free, flying less and going vegetarian. This helps climate change.
Since I live in L.A and a car is indispensable, I love to travel abroad so I need a plane, and I can’t give up carne asada tacos because I’m Mexican, then the only way to reduce my carbon footprint is to stop at one child.
I’m also saving my Facebook feed from yet another baby picture and update.
Ok, ok so I didn’t make this decision in support of climate change. This report came after the fact. But it offers a fun comeback to the judgers with a multi-children mindset who think I’m selfish: at least I’m only screwing up ONE person’s life…you’re messing with generations to come!
Let me emphasize that I would only direct this to the people that judge my decision. I don’t support judging others for having multiple children.
Oh, and my Facebook friends actually love my son’s pictures and updates (not verified but that’s what I’m going with).
All kidding aside, this is the real tangible gift: I’m giving my child the gift of his mom’s sanity.
That sounds more like self-care than selfishness to me.
The Oxford dictionary defines selfishness as “(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”
At the surface, choosing to only have one child may seem selfish. I mean, I am depriving my child of having a sibling which seems to point to a lack of consideration for him. It may seem that I’m more concerned with my own desires. Yes, I am concerned…about being the best parent I can be. I want to give my ALL to this parenting thing. I want to be a present and mindful mom AND wife.
I was incredibly concerned about my husband’s needs and I thoroughly considered his desires. He had an incredibly difficult time transitioning into father-hood and although he’s an amazing dad, having two would definitely bring him down to ok-dad level (and potentially worse). We’re not ok with that.
My son deserves the best mom and dad he can get, preferably sane ones. We don’t need to challenge our sanity any more than we already have.
To be able to work, maintain a household, take care of my son and do all the other million things I need to do for my family requires me to get decent sleep. So again: Self-care.
I realize this sleep-deprived period doesn’t last forever. Yet, there is a weight and concern I haven’t been able to lift when thinking of raising yet another human being.
The potential for a difficult pregnancy, a sick child, a child with special needs and boobs down to my knees all felt like good reasons to stop while we were ahead. Oh, and heaven forbid something happened to my husband, or we divorced. Then I’m raising TWO kids on my own. Or worse for my husband…something happens to me! Nope. That man can barely handle one on his own.
There were many other reasons for us to stop at one that ultimately, don’t matter.
What matters is doing what I need to do to take care of myself. That is different and unique for each woman.
Choosing to stop at one child seems like a pretty active role in protecting my well-being and happiness. It’s easier to get workouts in, eat healthier, get alone time, work, read and have sex when only dealing with one child. These are all detrimental self-care elements.
My son is 8 years old and to date: I have zero regrets.
I’ll be honest though, I sometimes worry I may regret the decision when were older and my husband and I find ourselves alone at Thanksgiving. I imagine us pitifully sitting at a large dining room table with homecooked goodness steaming in front of us. We’re alone and missing our only son because he is out chasing a cute blonde traveling through Asia. This image doesn’t last as reality hits, and I remember that I don’t cook and that we’re a fun adventurous couple who would be hard pressed to find lonely.
Realizing that choosing to be a one and done mom is an ultimate act of self-care is incredibly peaceful and gratifying.
So next time you hear someone say moms who chose to only have one child are selfish, please politely (or not) correct them with: no, it’s not selfish, it’s self-care!
Self-care isn’t new age mumbo jumbo. It’s self-preservation.
So, do whatever self-care is best for you and support the mom’s around you in their self-care efforts. Big or small.
Sarahi Nunez Mejia is an organizing wizard, events mastermind, wife and mom. She lives in a 500 sq ft tiny house with her family in Los Angeles and blogs about the lifestyle of downsizing and minimalism, prioritizing experiences over things, and using your money smartly at Tiny Living In LA.
If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to subscribe to our email list to get more blogs like this straight to your inbox.