Minimalist Family: Is One Child Enough?

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you know that I recently gave birth to my first child—a beautiful baby girl I call Plumblossom.

My husband and I waited a long time before deciding to settle down and procreate—so long, in fact, that my medical chart bore the lovely, geriatric-sounding “Advanced Maternal Age” label.

Which brings me to the subject of this week’s post… With my biological clock ticking (fast), DH and I need to make a decision soon as to whether we’re “one and done” or ready to try for another. It’s a tough call to make in the midst of first-time parenting sleep deprivation; however, we don’t have the luxury of waiting until Plumblossom is out of diapers to ponder a possible sibling.

Whenever I’ve imagined myself as a mother, it’s generally been to one child. In part, it’s because I’d like to resume our unstructured, nomadic lifestyle once our daughter is a little older; and it seems that planning around the needs, whims, and moods of one child would be much easier than two. We’d be able to devote our full attention and resources to her, and someday bestow on her a travel fund instead of struggling to put multiple children through college.

And yes, it seems more minimalist—with one child, we could get by with less stuff, smaller spaces, and fewer time commitments (be they doctor’s appointments, school activities, etc.).

On the other hand, I’ve seen the wonderful sibling interaction among my friends’ kids, and worry that Plumblossom may spend too many lonely hours wishing for a little brother or sister.

Both my husband and I have siblings, and therefore no experience with what it’s like to be an only child. So this week, instead of posting any words of wisdom or advice, I’m asking you for yours.

I know some of you will advise me to leave it to fate—a charming idea, to be sure, but one I’m not entirely comfortable with when it comes to major, life-altering decisions.

What I’d really like to hear are your experiences: did you decide to have just one child (or more) and why? What are the pros and cons to having (or being) an only child? Do you find minimalism becomes more challenging with each addition, or do shared possessions make for a greater “economy of stuff”?

Thanks in advance to all who respond–I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

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383 comments to Minimalist Family: Is One Child Enough?

  • Camilla

    I was widowed when 28. My son was 2 1/2 at the time. I thought for awhile that i would not have more children. I remarried and when my son was 6, i gave birth to another son. My eldest is so happy. His little brother is the best thing in his life. We love watching them together as there is so much pure love between them. A second child has bought so much to our life. We hope to have a third. I love the thought that they will grow up together and be there for one another till they are old and grey.

  • Cheryl

    I suppose the question is, is one child enough for you, or is one child enough for the one? Because you are loving and good parents, your little one will grow up just fine by herself. I had 4 children, and my sister had 1. The only differences that have stood out is that my 4 seemed to have more “give and take”, learned to share, and weren’t irritated with younger sibs. My niece, the only child, had no patience for her younger cousins and has been a bit more self-centered, but then, one could simply argue personality difference. The other difference I noticed was that my kids were my “kids”, whereas my niece ended up being more of my sister’s “friend”, which isn’t always healthy. Again, care to make sure this doesn’t develop is the best way to go.

  • Dana

    I grew up with a sister four years younger than myself. Although we are friends now that we’re both grown, I still wish I had been an only child. People bringing more children into the world because they’re worried about how their first child will fare without them…well, to be blunt, I think it’s a steaming load. I have yet to meet an only child that would have turned out to be a better person *if only* they’d had a sibling.

    Then again, I plan on having no children ever, so obviously take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  • Lord Metroid

    Do not plan your life around the children, if you want to travel they will come along for the trip without any problems. My family has always traveled with young children and babies without any problem. They are unimaginably adaptable.

    • Charlotte

      I know it’s off-topic, but I need to say it: Lord Metroid, I love your nickname and your picture! :D

      And I agree with you, children and babies are very adaptable, I have several friends with a nomadic lifestyle and their children just go along with it.

  • Steph

    Please do think about the future, when your daughter is an adult. I am an only child, and my Dad died recently, leaving me the only person to cope with both his death and with looking after my mum. I have never felt so alone and wished I had someone to share this burden with. I know not all sibling relationships are good ones, but having others to share the adult burdens with is something you need to at least take into consideration when making your decision. It’s very, very lonely, even if you have a partner and friends to support you. No-one else has the same feelings and responsibilities to your parents as you do.

    • Kimberly

      Having a child or more than one child does not guarantee that he or she will share the burden of taking care of older parents or the death of Mum or Dad. Trust me when I say take it from me. My Grandparents have 2 daughters (my Mum and Aunt). When my grandfather passed away 3 years ago. His daughters chose to not be involved in any way like burial services, clearing out their house, taking care of his surviving wife (my Grandmother), etc. I, as a grand-daughter, and my husband ended up doing all those responsibilities. Not that I’m complaining but I guess, it would have to depend on the child’s personality.

      As for me, I have 2 other sisters but we have never gotten along since childhood. I do communicate with my older sister once in a while but the closeness is still not there. My younger sister, on the other hand, and I have never talked with each other, which I don’t really know why or what caused it. At times, I used to feel lonely and often wished to have a close sibbling. Now that I’m an adult, I realized that I don’t really need to have a sister or a brother and I’ve still turned out fine.

      Just decide what’s best for your lifestyle and family – but nothing is certain and goes according to your plan.

    • Steph,

      My feelings exactly. I realized how incredibly blessed I was to have three siblings who I love and are my best friends in life. Having three someones with the same experiences as myself is a calming, centering part of my being. I think life without it would be very empty. Although some people grow apart, or were never close to their siblings, I think the potential of having a lifelong more-than-friend is one of the best gifts parents can give their children. So maybe siblings won’t be best friends. But maybe they will!

      I have two children now. The first child was a huge adjustment. Having my second has just added joy to our family–not additional clutter. The main adjustment had already been made, so adding another child was not hard. It’s a change of expectations: when you realize that you are your child’s mom or dad, and that is your priority, things that you thought would bother you just don’t. Your goals changes, your dreams change, and it’s wonderful!

  • Marilyn

    I have three grown children – my daughter was a bit of a surprise – but as things turned out – a wonderful surprise. She will tell you that her brothers are 2 of the most important people in her life. In fact when she gets married – I would not be surprised if her brothers are her attendants.

  • fehl

    Another opinion …

    I didn’t want children, but my SO wants one badly so we compromised on one. One commenter described it well : what are you interested in ? I’m not interested in babies, and tiny clothes, and toys and all this cuteness. I’m interested in showing the world to a brand new human being, watching him/her learn and discover. Plus I don’t deal well with noise, clutter and overload (hence the whole minimalism thing :) ). So I guess I would be a better mother of one than a mother of two or more.

    I’m the youngest of two btw – yet I was very lonely as a child as my brother and I are 100% opposites. Even to this day we’re friendly, but we kind of live on different planets. Anyhow, this loneliness was completely due my and my parents’ personalities, not to the presence of siblings. I was just a bit envious of my childhood friend (an only child and a great person altogether) because she got to go to movies, museums and to travel with her parents. Such a glamorous life for a nerdy 10-year-old !

    OTOH, my brother have two sons, aged 13 and 15 now, and they’ve always been very close as they moved house a lot. The problem is, maybe as a result, the youngest hates novelty and just won’t reach out to other people. Now the oldest is headed to college and it’s very tense.

  • fehl

    I must add that my main reason not to have children is the environment and sustainable development. I just can’t synchronize both aspects in my mind.

  • My sister and I are 14 months apart. I really couldn’t imagine a world without her by my side. We went through some rough times growing up, and her support and love got me through. She’s my best friend, and I love her to pieces.

    I guess what I am trying to say is…

    Isn’t minimalism about bringing to the forefront what is truly important in life? And doesn’t relationships top that list? There is no relational bond quite like that of siblings, and no better ‘gift’ you could give to your child than someone to share in the experience of growing up in the same home (with the same ‘crazy’ parents). ;)

  • Annabelle

    It’s not about how many, it’s about how a child is raised. If you stick w/ only one kid, try to get her involved with playmates and group activities so she has a fair chance (outside the home, cause we can only do so much!) to learn to get along with others (sharing, working through situations, giving/taking, etc).

    Congrats on Plumblossom and good luck with whatever decision you make! :)

  • Mindy Warren

    As an adopted only child, I do have to say I was so happy to have a devoted mother who played with me and read to me. I never wanted for a sibling with any deep desire. At one point, I did tease my mom that a second child would mysteriously dissapear if another baby came home. :)

    My only regret now is that my children will not have aunts and uncles from my side (my mom was one of 9 so I had many aunts and uncles and, of course, cousins).

    My husband is one of three. So it worked out in the end. :)

    When I see myself with children, I’d like to adopt one (since I was) and have one of my own. It makes for two.

    • Caroline

      Like this idea. My college bf was adopted and he had a younger sister who was the biological child of his parents. I think they tried extra hard to make him feel ‘normal’ (possibly also because he was a different race), and could be a bit over-protective, but he turned out great!

    • Charlotte

      I also think that adopting a child is a idea worth considering. I was never really interested in becoming a mother, but had this kind of warm feeling about adoption. Now, I’d like to have one child of my own and then adopt another.

  • valleycat1

    I had one child (I was one of 5). “Onlies” have their advantages and disadvantages as to children with siblings – at all stages of their lives.

    If you’ve always envisioned life with one child, then that’s probably what works best for you. This is a decision that really needs to come from your deepest self-knowledge on your own terms.

  • romney

    It seems like being an only child is particularly regretted when there are other problems – distant relationship with parents or lack of friends from moving house a lot, etc. Having a sibling may have helped with these things, but it may not. It may make things worse.

    I’m an only child and I have an only child. My advice is to do what you really want. If you have just one, make a point of giving them more opportunities to socialise and build relationships. It’ll be fine either way I’m sure.

  • Caroline

    I think kids should be a choice between 0, 2, and 3. I’m one of 4, which just seems excessive for the state of the planet, though I don’t think it’s terrible to be part of a big family. All of the only children I’ve known are a bit (or a lot) odd (in a bad way). Sorry, only children! I just think there’s something about having a sibling that makes you better able to deal with the rest of humanity. But 2 kids should absolutely suffice for pro-creating minimalists :P

  • Terri

    I haven’t read all the responses, but I will add my thoughts. I too was advanced maternal age when I had my first. All through the pregnancy I thought she would be the only one. But as soon as she was born, I knew she needed a sister. And she got one 2 years later. They are wonderful together. It is such a joy as a parent to see them together. And I also felt that being an older mama, it was absolutely necessary to have a sibling for her, since I won’t be around for her as long as a younger mama might be. At least they will have each other when I am gone.

  • Marianne

    I am an only child, of an only child. I have one child. The key is in you creating or keeping close with your extended family. It is important your brothers and sisters and thier children have a deeply connected bond with you and your child. Mother and Father didn’t have anyone else, but my mom made a deep connection with another family that is now spreading to its third generation with the grandchildren. My dh is being relocated to London and we will be taking our three year old, leaving my 72 year old mother here. I have full peace of mind my mother is in good hands! I’m leaving my daughters godmother, (the dil of her friend) with all the necessary legal responsibilities for my mother for any conceivable problem. My father passed two years ago, and if something were to happen to my mom, I would never be alone. I have the best godparents! But really, it’s the whole family! I call them my god brother and sisters!

  • me!

    don’t forget about adopting! adding value to someone’s life is much more powerful than creating a whole new person. Plumblossom can have a foreign brother or sister who she can love and grow with, and you can even find a child of the same age, if you want to. There are 7 billion people in the world, a good percentage of them in extreme poverty. Giving new life to a needy child is one of the most beautiful, minimalist acts you can do.

  • peony

    It occurred to me that the fact that you are asking for advice on this question indicates that you may have a longing for another child. If you were entirely happy with one child, you might not be asking for advice. I agree with the poster who said you will never regret having another child but you may regret it if you don’t. Think about that statement, does it ring true for you or not? This will give you the answer you seek. I don’t think its helpful to listen to advice from people who ended up having a bad relationship with their siblings, of course this can happen, but the majority of siblings love one another deeply.Do not allow negativity to have any impact on your decision, focus solely on the positives of having only one child, or the positives of having two. all the other stuff is just distraction.

  • Annie

    I have two “only” children, born 21 years apart. If I would have had the choice and circumstances had been right, I would have had two close in age. Both my children have been quite lonely for companionship, particularly since I’m not terribly outgoing. And now we live in a fairly remote rural environment and arranging play dates is difficult and consequently rare. Also, my son is homeschooled, which adds to the challenge.

    If you have different circumstances where there are many opportunities for interacting with other similar aged children (close family, friends or school chums) then it wouldn’t be a problem for you. For us, it has been.

  • Agatabel

    But more kids is the best way to re-use and recycle everything you needed for the first one – little bed, clothes, car seat etc!
    For the travel – kids adapt better then adults!
    For more space – when you have three – it does make a difference, there is more logistics required (I recently had my third daughter), it is like the world was planned around the 2+2 model…
    But even though… it is getting even easier with each one!!! Great opportunity to make use of the first child experience. Many less sleepless nights, guarantee!

  • Rainy Day

    I’m the youngest of 5 siblings and I love them all to pieces. I must admit, I too have felt that only children are…well, they can be odd. I can usually guess who is the eldest, who is the youngest, and who is an only child. It’s just in how they act, and I personally don’t want an only child. I love my own siblings too much.

    But this doesn’t really seem like a decision for the masses. I completely agree with peony. This is your decision. This blog may not be around for your entire lifetime (it may not even be around for another decade), but your children will be. If you feel that another child is right, then you should do what you feel is the right decision. Having less children can give you more time to focus and less time needing to raise children in diapers. Having more children will mean less money per child, but it can mean having more love to go around.

    I’m biased, clearly, but I think the final decision is yours alone.

  • Emma

    I’m a little late to this, but wanted to chime in – I’m an only child, but I’ve been mistaken for a child-with-siblings, because some people do have the bias that only kids are going to grow up really weird, or self-centric, or “odd.” My mother, who was the 2nd of four, says I act like an oldest child in some ways. My father’s siblings (also 3 of them) were all at least 10 years his senior, but they’re still fairly close–especially his sisters, who stuck around for a while when he was younger. He said it was like having four parents, though; with me, he’s more like a sibling in some ways. It really comes down to the total family dynamic – not the number of kids, though it is a factor within that dynamic. Both of my parents are extremely intense, focused people, and it was sometimes tough being the sole recipient of that harsh gaze. On the other hand, we weren’t that well off, and I got a lot of opportunities because they could funnel their wealth and attention into one kid. Personally, I’d prefer to be a little more hands-off with my kids, so I’m hoping to have two or three to share the burden of being parented :).

  • Robin Gillespie

    I would say 2 at least, for the kids’ sake, not for now but for later. I come from 7, and we are now spread around the country. But we are there for each other in a way no one else can be. Although my son had trouble sharing mom for a while, they have become good friends as teens. I know when we are gone they will still have each other.

  • Izzie

    I grew up an only child and wouldn’t change it. I was very happy being the center of my parents’ attention. I DO think however that if you don’t have more than one child it’s all the more important to socialize with others who do have children. And to just have a good social network surrounding you.

    It takes a village is true, and it’s soooo important, in order for kids to feel safe and have many different influences, to have a lot of familiar faces to turn to. Siblings or no siblings.

  • Tish

    I am adopted and an only child. Both my parents were older and my father was in the military so we moved quite a bit in my earlier years. I spent most of my time around adults so interacting with children my own age was challenging. I never felt lonely as a child and unlike most people I know I am comfortable going to dinner or a movie on my own. I had a wonderful childhood because I had exceptional parents. I think this is more important than the number of children in a family. However, I think I would have benefitted by having more social interactions with other children. Trust your heart to make the decision that is right for your family. BTW…I have two adult children, eleven months apart, who are like night and day. One wants two children and the other doesn’t plan on having any. I had planned on having just one child but the universal had other plans…

  • Coco

    My husband and I have only one child who is a young teenager now.
    We chose to just have one. Its just too stressful to have more in the sense of worrying
    about children all the time. Its hard. You worry when they get a cold
    Our child is not odd at all. So typical of people against those who have only one child to label them odd. I know LOTS of ‘odd’ people with siblings lol
    So thats just a dumb sterotype.
    It is sooo much easier having one for many reasons.
    Our child loves being an only child and most people would
    never think of him as spoiled etc cuz he has a huge heart

  • estelle

    hi,
    i being an only child , today feel that i should had more siblings, to shoulder the responsibilites of my widow mother emotionally..whenever i travel with my husband my mind is never at peace with worries about her safety and health clouding my head…it is best to have a sibling…

  • AngelFish

    I understand your dilemma. My husband and I are trying for our first and it is taking quite a bit of effort, as I am 36. We know that if we decide that we’d like a second we’ll have to start working on it very quickly after the first. I was the youngest of four, and they were teenagers when I was born, so I grew up mostly as an only child. My brothers and I are not very close, so while I have them, I could pretty much do without them. They certainly do not assist me in any way in caring for our elderly parents. My husband has a sister who is older by three years, but they also are not close and mostly fought while growing up. My best friend of 20 years was an only child and perfectly happy that way. All this has lead us to believe that one would be just fine …. yet we still can’t make up our minds. I suppose since we can’t know in advance how close two (or more) siblings will be, it’s pointless to try to make our decision based on what might make our child(ren) happiest. I can only say for certain that I’ve never met any parent of grown children who’s said they wish they’d had less … only people who said they wish they’d had more. A “bank account is full, but dinner table is empty” sort of thing. Best of luck in whatever you decide, Francine. Thanks for the blog (and the book). :)

  • Tracey

    I have 4 children and have lived a peaceful and simple life. Having more children doesn’t have to change your style of living. As they grew up, they did choose a sport or an activity and sometimes school activities made their mark on the calendar, but we kept it minimal so that we were not stressed running from one activity to another.This way the activities were not a burden but fun for the whole family. I can’t speak for family size and what is best, that is an individual decision between your husband and you. Regardless if you have 1 child or 20, you raise them the way you want to live. You lead, they will follow.

  • missy

    My husband & I are of “advanced age” as well and recently decided one was enough. She will be on her own, our home will be paid for & my husband will be due to retire all within three years (in that order). Having another child now would set back retirement five years. No thanks. I was raised an only child & loved it. Contrary to popular belief, socially I did fine. I was not spoilt, I was close to my parents, I knew how to share & play with others. Yes, I acted a little more adult but was able to experience so much more at a young age because my paremnts could afford to take me with them and logistically it was much easier. Join a play group, go to a park – meet other kids for your daughter to play with if you’re worried about her missing having a sibling. There is nothing wrong with having one child. The world is certainly overpopulated already.

  • Diane

    Interesting the different opinions here. I have one sibling, a sister 3 years younger and we live on opposite sides of the country and while we get along well enough, we’re not emotionally close. By choice, I have no children (my maternal instinct runs to creatures with 4 legs, not 2) and now in my 50s I’ve never regretted that decision (in fact I really don’t understand people who want children). To my mind, the earth is hugely over-populated and doesn’t need even one more baby, especially when there are so many already homeless. My 2 cents.

  • Renee

    My opinion is minimalism applies to things, and people aren’t things. Being parents to multiple children means that you are giving a greater gift to humanity because your children and theirs will outlast anything you do for the world in your occupation or otherwise. My parents were very kind. We didn’t have sarcasm in our home, and I think it helped us children to be kind to each other, which created lasting friendships. We also traveled a lot, and those times are precious to me because they also helped me to be closer to my siblings because they were my constant playmates on our trips. My son is now 3 and seeing the joy he has with his cousins and other groups of children, I want to give him a sibling. He has even asked for a sister. We can’t have children, so he is adopted and our other children will be as well. We feel it is right for us to have many children bless our home. However, each couple is different, so really look into your heart and see if there is a place waiting for another child. Also, don’t get scared into thinking you have to make this decision right away. Yes, maybe it will happen soon, but maybe it will be a little later. Yes, it may be more difficult, but if you feel the time is right, then you will find a way.

  • One shouldn’t apply minimalism to people. Is one friend enough? Is one parent enough? One can live minimally with no children, two children or ten children. It will just be done differently. You are in a unique position to have time for loving and caring for as many children as you wish. Isn’t that why you have less things, so there’s room in your life for what’s most important? Follow your heart.

  • Kids aren’t things. They aren’t stuff. You can’t categorize how many children you have along side of your towels and bowls. More kids does not equal more clutter. You can treat your first child as an accessory: you can dress them up, teach them tricks to impress your friends and family, glory in their individuality, and pat yourself on the back for a job well down. And you can drop one child off at day care, skipping through the majority of your child’s life, because let’s face it, you can afford daycare for one child.

    But when you have more than one child, it hits you: Your children desperately need you. You may be able to remember a life without them, but they have never known life without you. So you change your goals, your dreams, your sleep habits, your ambitions–and you are an ambitious minimalist–to fulfill the job you chose when you decided to become a parent.

    You have to give all of yourself, whether it’s one child or 22. Tongue-in-cheek, I think that if you’re going to give all of yourself, you might as well have several kids to enjoy.

  • Judith F

    I am 65 and an only child. I was so fortunate to have all the opportunities for lessons, travel and an excellent college BECAUSE I was an only child. The cost to have that rich set of experiences with multiple children is vey high and beyond most families.

    Yes, there are challenges to not having the built in companionship of siblings, but I like to think that those have made me more open to other people and other cultures instead of cozying in my familial womb. I know that I am responsible for my own happiness and for figuring out what to do on holidays.

    Never regret only having one child. It w not my parents’ choice; they wanted a dozen. But I see all the benefits in my own life.

  • Yolanda

    What about adoption? I think that is a “minimalist” way to build a family and there are so many children in this world who need a home and family. But of course if you choose adoption, you have to do it with love and awareness, not just for the sake of a minimalist lifestyle.

  • Roxxie

    I think everyone’s circumstances are different. Being military I see lots of families, even large families that travel all the time and live all over the world. My girls (and I have 5 of them), have lived in 8 different places in only 10 years. And although they have never been to Europe yet, we are hoping to get stationed in Germany next. Actually the fact that we travel so much is why we are minimalists. Especially with a large family it’s extremely important to be a minimalist. In order to make our family very mobile, I basically had a choice of stuff or kids, and I chose kids.

  • momofthree

    I think it is about what is truly important – if you want another child, isn’t that more important than any small loss to your minimalism? As an aside, a sibling provides way more entertainment and learning than any toy…my eldest was just reading a book to his little brother snuggled up to him, who was pointing out the funn parts he wanted him to read. Teaching their sister to walk, wave, blow kisses, say their name is way more interesting than anything or place they’ve ever had or seen. but you should do what is right for you. there is not one answer.

  • wendy

    When my oldest was young, I swore I’d never have another. When he was 2 1/2 I changed my mind and couldn’t get pregnant. When he was 5 I had my second; he’s about to turn 11 and I’m having my 5th. My advice is have two more, as close together as possible. There is an economy of scale, many things can be shared, 3 isn’t much more work than two and the three way dynamic has less conflict. All in all, three kids are about 1 3/4 the amount of work of one kid — but three times the joy and love.

  • I recently had my first child and faced this same dilemma in my head lately. Both hubby and I had talked and decided one child would be enough. He has 2 siblings that he is not close with, and I have 3 siblings, only one whom I am friends with. My father also had 3 siblings and none of them are terribly close either. I watched my parents take care of his ailing mother because nobody else could. I often wished I was an only child because I would not have had to take out massive student loans to go to college. Even as adults now, the four of us can’t agree on anything, I dislike two of my three brothers choices in women, and if I moved to a different state and didn’t see them, it really wouldn’t bother me much. I really want to be able to give my child more opportunities than I had in life. I am very happy with my little family, and my best friend and my child’s godmother is the sister I never had. It all depends on what you think is best for your child, but I know my son will be fine being an only child. We all find love somehow in some place along the way.
    On a side note, My co-worker started out as one of 3 and lost both of her siblings along the way due to disease and an accident. So in a tragic way she became an only child, but she has her husband and his family. Everyone told me, don’t have another baby just because people tell you the child will be lonely, you have to do what you feel is right for you.

  • barb

    exactly what steph said in the earlier response (in june).
    thankfully my husband was really a pillar of strength when my parents were sick, they’ve passed on.

    i’ve got six children in a small space and could not be happier (well, maybe i’ll be happier after i nail this decluttering stuff, love your blog).

  • [...] minimalism as an alternative lifestyle to the current consumer culture. Recommended articles: Minimalist Family: Is One Child Enough? and Declutter Your Fantasy [...]

  • J

    I think that for now, you should stick with one child, and later, if you decide you want more, there is the option of adoption!

  • [...] a follow-up to my May blog post in which I pondered a possible sibling for Plumblossom. Well, the decision has been made…so if [...]

  • N

    i can testify as both a sibling-got and an ‘only’ child. there have been times when we’re constantly separated from each other and forget each others existence, only remembering and crying Later to this loneliness when we are again face to face, in each other’s company.

    the/my conclusion? it is Never ‘enough’. there’s always some wanting, waiting for Something, sometime. but then, regardless of time, it is Always enough.

    whether they just be getting used to it, they never knew anything else or everyone says it’s fine and they’re dealing in their own way because ‘not dealing’ makes you look foolish when everybody looks fine in the same conditions–it is ‘enough’.

    in the end, you’re still making a decision now. where your kids’ future self isn’t there to tell their (future) opinion.

  • Kara

    Being an Minimist-in-Training, I feel that filling my life with what matters to me most is the goal. My husband and I have four children, and we are expecting our fifth. No, we probably won’t be able to live out of a backpack (well, not for more than a day of camping), but we are happy and fufilled with all of our wonderful children with us. We are working hard at becoming debt free, which will present us with all sorts of possibilities, even with all these kids. I can’t imagine life any other way…. btw, not saying you should have five kids, I’m just saying you should do what will bring you (and your little family) the most happiness. Good luck in your decision! ;)

  • aimee

    I have 2 kids, 19 months apart. I have one sibling myself and agree with those who emphasize how special a sibling relationship is. I also would argue that “planning around the needs, whims, and moods of one child” is perhaps not the very best scenario for a child because they need to learn rather quickly that it’s good to be independent, self-sufficient, and that the rest of the world does not revolve around him/her. Initially it IS hard to deal with sleep patterns and everything for 2 little ones, but quickly it becomes easier because you’re more experienced the second time around and because they just get older so darn fast! I also think kids benefit from NOT having your full attention all the time, but rather the freedom to play with a sibling. I have found it easier to be minimalist with two kids than with one. We haven’t bought new stuff for the second and the two kids play creatively and imaginatively together so much of the time. I love it! Good luck with your decision. And thanks for your sharing your tips with wannabe minimalists like me.

    • Eve

      Just curious… (I love how sweet and simple your response to this was). Are your kids both the same sex? I have a 3 year old girl and a 6 month boy. Coming from a family of 3 girls I am feeling sad for my daughter that she will not have a sister. I’d love to hear about a good sibling relationship between a brother and sister. Thanks!

  • nicole 86

    I am an only child and my childhood has been a sheer nightmare since my parents did not let me live my own life but had me live according to their standard. I thought a family need at least three children but all my relatives (husband, in laws and parents)decided two were enough. If I were allowed to go back, I would go for four children !

  • SusanFL

    I have one young adult child and I am a single mom. She told me she had a great childhood. She got so much enrichment- travel,lessons, outings and nice things- that otherwise would have been difficult to obtain. She has also learned to network with people and has used her skill in her public relations career. One of the best results though is that between her scholarship and the family help we could give her, she graduated from college with no student debt. She is the joy of my life, but I am happy she is an only child and so is she.

  • I grew up as an only child. While I had several children, they have all flown the nest except for my youngest, who is 13.

    My relationship with this single child is much better than with my other two; I do believe it is because I can devote 1 on 1 time with her and she doesn’t feel she has to compete with siblings. Both of my older kids have told me that they felt they didn’t have enough of my time (I worked several jobs when all 3 were at home so time WAS a bit limited) and, while loving their siblings, wish they were an only child.

    If I had to do it over again I would only have a single kid. While I love all of my girls I feel that I deprived them in multiple ways by having more than one.

    If your child gets lonely you can always have sleepovers and visits remember; my Katie has them quite regularly. Good luck with your decision–whatever it is!

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