March 20, 2014

Your Voice: Parenting & Why One is the Perfect Number… For Us

As Matt, Liam and I were standing in the security line at the Honolulu International Airport, we stood behind a family of four that included a mom, dad and two young boys under the age of 5.  While the older one was swerving in and out of lane dividers, dad had a firm grasp on the younger one who was antsy and mom was struggling to keep a hold of the car seat and multiple carry-ons that she had in hand, as well as on her back.  The situation, as any parent will tell you, is something most of us can relate to.  However, as I observed this entire situation and as Liam was seated comfortably in his car seat making faces at the woman behind us, I leaned over to Matt and said, “Yup, we’re definitely sticking to one.”

People ask us all the time when we’re going to have more kids and how many we want to have.  I’m not afraid to say that we only want one, but it is a very personal question for reasons that I’m sure many other parents or soon-to-be parents should understand.  Having a child is a choice and having more than one is also (to a certain extent) is a choice.  When we do get asked the question, I feel like we always have to justify our answer, but I feel confident when we respond with the following:

We want Liam to travel the world:  I’ve been very fortunate to travel across the world at a very young age and we want to provide that for Liam.  Traveling to different cultures is the best way to learn and build experiences.  While we could travel with 2, the cost would prohibit us from doing it annually as we hope to do.

We want to send him to private school:  I’m Canadian and went to a French immersion school through 5th grade.  There are no guarantees that we’ll get into the school we want to send him to, but where we are now financially we know that right now we can at least try.  Exposing Liam to worldly culture is important to us and our preference would be to send him to school that teaches him that on a daily basis.

We want to live in the city:  I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a phobia I have with the suburbs (again a personal choice) and while our place isn’t the biggest…and we may not have the backyard – I’d rather have access to the el and play dates at the local playground.  There is a sense of independence that children have when they grow up in the city.  We want Liam to be exposed to all walks of life and while living in a city can be scary…I’ll take that pressure to raise a level headed child in a city of chaos.

There are no guarantees that having a second child will mean that they will be best friends: Very often when the 2nd child question comes up, a lot of people ask “Don’t you want to give Liam a brother/sister so they can grow up together?”  And my immediate response is that there are no guarantees they will be friends.  Family dynamics change as people get older and in some cases they break families a part.  The thought of a second child has definitely crossed our minds, but we wouldn’t have another child just to give Liam a friend – we will teach him to make plenty of friends in stage of life and every place he goes.

We want to be financially responsible: This is one that always seems to raise eyebrows, but let’s be honest – as parents we worry about money.  We do.  It’s inevitable that we will always worry about paying for food, our home, clothes, etc – everything that kids need.  While we would absolutely love and welcome a second child, the stress of money would increase.  I know we could always “figure it out”, but there is a sense of comfort knowing that right now we don’t have to.

So there you have it.  While it may not be every family’s choice, it’s our own personal choice, and we appreciate those who respect our decision without trying to convince us differently.  Like all things in life, respect is something we preach about, but never practice as often as we should and would just ask that the next time a conversation about having children comes up – remember to respect that person’s decisions.  You never have to agree, but you have to at least agree to respect each other’s choices.

About Tabitha Green

Tabitha Green is the Director of Marketing for WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association). She also has her own blog, “Defining Tabitha”, where she writes about marriage, parenting, travel, food, and fashion. Last but not least, she is a member of Crane’s MINK (Moms I Need to Know) Program as a Mommy Influencer and Parenting Resource.