There’s Nothing Wrong With “One And Done”

“One And Done”, for those of you who don’t know, is the new catch phrase for couples deciding to have only one child and that’s it, that’s all.

I can certainly understand what is behind it for a lot of young people. These days, the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 is estimated to be anywhere from $230,000 to $360,000. I hope that’s not in U.S. dollars.

I know of one young family who were spending more than $200 a month just on specialized baby formula.

Add to that the cost of living – rent, mortgage, gas, groceries – all of these have skyrocketed in the last year or two. My husband and I’ve had one of our adult children move back home to save money, as I’m sure many people of our age have.

Young people who have families or friends to take them in are lucky. Their only other choice these days seems to be living in a tent.

Some couples are deciding not to have any children at all, and I don’t blame them either. It’s hard to be positive about the future with climate change and wars and…well, let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

Oddly enough, there has been a little bit of backlash to this idea of One And Done. Some say it’s not a complete family with only one child. It’s not healthy. There are still stereotypes about only children being spoiled or lonely or having “only child syndrome”.

What’s that? you might ask. “Only Child Syndrome” means being unable to share, becoming annoying, entitled, weird or peculiar. I was pretty sure someone made that up, but there was apparently some research done in 1896 (!) that came to that conclusion. When I find the study, I’ll let you know.

I have experienced first had what it’s like to be an only child. And yes, over the years I’ve been told I must be spoiled or lonely, or both. But maybe I was lucky, or maybe it didn’t matter, because I had a great childhood.

It was pretty rare growing up in the 60’s to be an only child. Contraception was in its infancy (pun intended) and most families had at least two children. Everyone I knew had a brother or sister or both. My husband came from a family of six kids.

But my parents were a little different from most of the other parents I saw. They were in their late 30’s when I was born. My mother was 37, and that was pretty unusual for a first time Mom back then. When I started school, most of the other Moms I saw were in their mid-to-late 20s.

My Dad never called it One And Done; he referred to it as “Started Late and Finished Early.”

There were great advantages to not having any brothers and sisters. Christmas presents were ALL FOR ME. I almost always had my parents’ complete attention. I didn’t have to share a bedroom or wait in line for the bathroom.

The only thing I can think of that I didn’t like about being an only child was being all alone in the back seat of the car. I kid you not (sorry, another pun).

Brothers and sisters? I had plenty of friends – neighbourhood friends, school friends and even my cousins. And sometimes we fought like siblings, but we also had great adventures together. As far as I was concerned, these were my brothers and sisters. And many of us still keep in touch.

In conclusion I would just like to say that I have met a few people who grew up with siblings and who definitely acted entitled or weird, or who were certainly lonely. So there goes that old research.

If you want one and then want to be done, all the power to you.

That’s one lucky kid!