Monday, November 2, 2009

Interview With: Two moms who were only children

Today is the beginning of our baby month. I'm launching it today with some interviews. Later today, or possibly tomorrow, I'll put up the first giveaway. To be entered in this weeks giveaway just comment. Every comment this week is one entry. I'll draw on Saturday.

If you have a giveaway on your blog that is baby/pregnancy/TTC related we'll do a big one on Friday for everyone to visit all the blogs and enter. Be thinking of something you can giveaway. New or gently used. We all love baby stuff!


This is a picture of Lenora's family.

Lenora is a friend of mine who grew up as an only child.

Lenora, what was the hardest part of being an only child?

I had my mom's FULL attention. It was not like I had siblings who got in trouble over stuff, it was just me. So I felt like anything I did wrong was blown out of proportion and made into this big, huge thing. I felt stifled and watched and smothered. And it was as if she wanted me to be a carbon copy of her and as if she had to make up for me being an only,, with STUFF. I felt more like a duty than anything else. I also as an only, did not have an older sibling to help me with something, or a younger sibling to keep me young (if that makes sense).

What was the best part?

I had the farm cats, my dog, the horse that my grandfather had bought for me, two acres to run all over, ducks and chickens and nature to play with, so I learned to use my imagination and to be on my own and not feel like I needed someone with me to entertain me all the time. I got to read all I wanted. I probably did get to have violin and piano and guitar and voice lessons and a couple other things because I was an only child, and there was not any other child that would have wanted all that too. I'm not sure if I would have had ALL those music lessons on all those different instruments if I'd had siblings.

What made you decide to not just have one child?

I wasn't even sure if I COULD have children. But the Lord sent me a dream of three kids, two girls and one boy, and here I have been blessed with them! I wanted, and would still love, to have more children, but if I do they will be children of my heart and not of my body because due to health issues I can not have any more children. And I always felt like children were a blessing and that if the Lord wanted to give me more than one child, then that was His decision on how many we had.

How many children would you have had if it were totally up to you and nothing else?

How many??? Oh goodness...At least six!

What do you think you missed out on as an only?

Not having to learn early on in life to share with a sibling, not having a sibling to play with, to do things together with, to learn together. To even get in trouble together. Not having that ready-made best friend to fight with or do things with.

If you had cousins, did being an only make you feel closer to your cousins?

I was unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you looked at it) unable to get together with any cousins as my family was spread out between Michigan, Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, and there was just my grandparents, my mom and myself here in Texas. So I never got the chance to find out if friendships and relationships with cousins would be stronger.

Do you think your friends became like siblings to you, filling that space, since you didn't have any?

I tended to have only one or two really, REALLY good friends in elementary and junior high, then in high school I formed friendships with my two best friends, Susan who is a lot like a sister to me, and Sean who was later to become my wonderful dear husband. I lost track of most, if not all, of the other friends I had, only to find a few online on facebook just recently. For me, I think as an only, I didn't feel I NEEDED a lot of friends because for the most part I was comfortable just being by myself, on my own.


Here are Chantelle's boys.

My friend Chantelle was also an only child. I did almost the same interview with her.

What was the hardest part of being an only child?

The hardest part was being so alone. We lived in the country, so being an only child left me without friends or any socialization as well. I always have to sort of laugh when people think kids need public school for socialization (and my kids go to public school), but public school definitely didn't provide me with good socialization! The total opposite! Without siblings, I had no way to really learn how to talk to anyone. I knew how to talk to adults but that was it. I felt very afraid most of the time. When I tried to talk to other children, that rarely ever went well. I didn't understand about being teased and for the most part, everyone that ever DID tease me were for real trying to be mean, not the nice kind of teasing. But I’m not sure I could have ever told the difference anyway since I didn’t have siblings.

What was the best part?

I was very interested in adult type of things and I was really good at sitting still and reading, and I fully appreciated my grandparents and adults. I learned to work hard and loved it and I still enjoy working hard to do this day. My powers of concentration, things of that nature developed really, really well. Plus I am totally content as a 44 year old adult to just be alone for hours and hours and I’m fine with that and enjoy it. I can find things to do by myself and just be totally happy all the time. I can picture myself alone when my kids are full grown and very happy. As an adult I know how to find the right social situations, but I'’ve noticed I prefer a lot of alone time now (which surprised me). I think the best part also, was that I was very open to listening to God. There was nothing to distract me. When I was 12, I decided to try and have a relationship with God. I think my “aloneness” facilitated that and helped me to focus and concentrate. The process went very well, even though the first several days when I took my notebook and went to listen for God and find Him, nothing happened, but very soon it did! I think being an only child made me a serious thinker.

What made you decide to not just have one child?

This is kind of funny. My husband and I had always planned to have several children. Initially we talked about lots and lots, when we were first married. Very large families. My husband always said he wanted at least three or four. I always said I knew I wanted at least two, as I was not going to have an only child! We waited so long to have our first (just how it happened to work out) that my husband had almost decided that maybe we wouldn’t have any. (But he still wanted one.) I think all of that was so much responsibility to him (having the first one) that he felt that it was enough responsibility AND we had good and close friends, so it wasn’t like that our child was really growing up alone or anything. We spent a lot of time with him with kids his age. Then our life changed and we didn’t have those good and close friends (before I had our second child). Now my two kids mainly play alone with each other, even though they are seven years apart (one is five and the other is turning 12 in a month of this writing). They are soooo glad for each other. My oldest told me/us, when we told him he was going to have a new baby brother or sister, that he had always wanted a sibling and that he was so glad and relieved that he was going to have one! I had never even known he felt this way. He’s been the best big brother I can imagine all along to his little brother. It’s been amazing!

How many children would you have had if it were totally up to you and nothing else?

As many as God provided. However, I didn’t come around to that way of thinking until about 2003 or later. My husband and I married in 1987. God slowly changed my heart to feel this way. So I was close to 40 before God fully changed my heart to feel that way. Again this had to do with my parents. They very much pressed me to ONLY have one child. I still don’t really know why. It was very hard telling them I was pregnant with my second (my husband literally pushed me into their door. It felt like I was being drug into their house to do it.) It didn’t go well. My mom seemed more concerned than happy for me. But, once the child was here, both of my parents have been soooooo glad we had him! He’s brought us all so much closer (my second child) and I firmly believe he needed to happen! I’m so glad God provided him and the ways he came about. I feel like my relationship with my parents is much healthier now, and that I would never be so swayed by their influences again ever in the future. I don’t know why it took me to getting so much older (and so many different other things) to get to this place!!!!

A few years ago I realized that being an only child has problems “later in life” too. Like, you are the one solely responsible for caring for elderly parents! And, just in general, you are the sole ANYTHING to your parents. It's not been that big of a deal in my life, my parents are very proud of me and all, but I think it made it hard for me to ever do anything that might counter what they would “like”. I just got my ears pierced this year because I thought my mom (and maybe dad too) would disapprove. (We had discussed it a few times over the years recently. Neither my mom nor either of my grandma’s ever had pierced ears....and none of those people had any female siblings at all.) My mom may have disapproved but she loves looking at my earrings and all now! I don’t feel like she did end up disapproving. But I didn’t tell her I did it. I just let her discover them one day (and not even on purpose as I was afraid to tell, but once she saw them I told.)


Do we have any other only siblings reading today? If so, I think it would be neat if you would answer these questions on your blog, or in the comments, and tell us some things we may not realize about only children. Can't wait to hear from you.


Mrs. Stam said...

What a neat post!!! I have 1 brother and 1 sister and in our school we were the "big" family !!! Weird that 3 kids were consider "big" but when I meat my husband (5 brothers and 6 sisters, YES 12 kids) my idea of BIG FAMILY change a bit!

And now that I'm use to be around lots of in-laws and nieces and nephew, 12 does not look like a so big number to me anymore!!!!

I can't imagine being a only child!!!

Helen said...

I'm an only... and reading both of these interviews, I realized a few things about myself that I hadn't yet (probably because I'm only 21, lol) Like Chantelle said, now that I don't have to be, I LOVE being alone. I am so used to it, and it helps me find myself again. Also like she said, I grew up with only adults. I communicated like an adult from an early age, so school was tough. I found other children that were similar to me, but I was still teased and whether it was, "I like you" teasing or not, it hurt. Lenora mentioned the full on attention of her parents: oh yeah. I wasn't allowed to breathe sideways without my mom telling me I could. Plus, my parents were not the kind to let me lie around useless. Chores they didn't do fell to me, and that meant dishes, my own laundry, vacuuming, and scrubbing the bathroom from about age 8. But I think it was good for me, because those chores, and staying home alone often (also started about 8 or 9), making my own meals, buying my own necessities with the money they gave made me an independent person, and I don't think I could hold up under my husband's absences or this move across country the same way if I hadn't been an only. An older sibling would have been a disability to me growing up, and a younger one probably would have, too, in that I would have stayed "younger" longer, when I needed to be older quickly. I can honestly say, now, that I'm glad I was an only. But talk to me in a few years when I have to find a nice nursing home and I might change my mind, lol.

Mom's Place said...

Cool post!!! BTW, I just emailed you about the give away!

adrienzgirl said...

I don't want to enter the contest, but I read and comment daily anyway. This was a neat post. I had two sisters and a brother, and grew up with friends and family with just as many or more kids. I always wondered if only children were bored. I mean, I don't think I would have been bored, cause I could spend hours, or days even, in the worlds in my mind, and I have a child like that as well. However, now that I am an adult, I think I would be a little lonely without my siblings. I talk with them, share with them, almost daily. I would definitely miss that.

Andrea said...

That was really neat to read! I've only known a handful of only children so this was super insightful. :)

Yara said...

I loved reading this!
I especially love how Chantelle's boys get along so well & enjoy each other. I was an only child for 7 years, and it took another 10 before I decided to give my sister a chance.
NOW, we are best friends and I'm so happy for her.