Do You think shows like TLC’s Duggar Family Help or Harm the Only Child Cause?

Cable television seems to have a fascination with huge families lately.  Shows like Jon and Kate Plus Eight and the 19-plus Duggar family highlight the trials and tribulations of families with huge numbers of children.   But my question is, do shows like these help or hurt the cause of those families who choose to limit theirselves down to one child?

Looking at the case example of the Duggars.  I believe at this time they have something like 19 children.   I found this post from Psychology Today that expresses my thoughts exactly:

FROM SUSAN NEWMAN, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: I didn’t know much about the Duggars at the time of the interview, but have since been looking into their lifestyle, their living arrangements, and wondering why 18 offspring or if it’s wise. The Duggar’s report being self-sufficient, have a lovely home, and are not on any public assistance… they say. I would guess that income from their Learning Channel TV show and commercial product donations allow them financial freedom right now. BUT, no mother-or father-can reasonably be expected to care for 18 children herself in the way that most of us believe is desirable, positive parenting.

Years ago I asked elementary school children ranging in age from 5 to 12 to finish this sentence: “My mother is special because…” Here, a smattering of responses:
…she gives me lots of hugs and kisses
…she helps me when I’m stuck on something
…she washes my clothes
…she reads me a bedtime story
…she plays games with me
…she helps me with my homework
…she makes my problems her problems
…she’s like a backdrop with padded velvet to comfort me
…she lets me get in her bed every night
…she knows what I’m thinking
…she cheers me up when I am sad
…she does everything with me

It is these one-on-one actions and feelings, cultivated over years of interaction, that bond parent and child and create enduring closeness. Realistically, the burden of caring for and “parenting” the younger Duggar children falls to the the older ones-to help with homework, to bathe, to dress, to feed, to kiss and hug.” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons/200901/are-the-duggars-family-20-or-industry).

 

Ms. Newman makes an excellent point.  Let’s be realistic here. I am a working mom with a full time schedule. Between work, commute times and bedtimes, I estimate I have two, maybe three good hours of quality time with my daughter a day – and a lot of that still gets taken up with cooking, cleaning, bathtimes, and the other day-to-day chores of life.  If I start having two or more kids, I’m not going to magically get more than those 2 or 3 hours, not without making some major lifestyle changes. I’d have to divide that time up accordingly.   I almost feel as if I’d be giving less of myself with more.

Perhaps I am wrong. What do you think?

The “Single” Mom Dilemma, Wherein a Choice Must Be Made

Let me be upfront in this post by being very clear: I am not a single mom.  I have never been a single mom, and I hope and pray every day of my life that I never have to become a single mom.  I have the utmost respect for single mothers, and wish I had but a fraction of the tenacity these mothers have. I simultaneously pity and worship my single mother friends.

However, that being said, half of the time when I am caring for my daughter, I do feel a bit like a single mom.  You see my husband is a law enforcement officer who works nights.  His shift causes him to leave me and my daughter at 7pm for half of the nights of the week, not to return until the next morning.  On those work nights, care for my daughter is 100% up to me.  All feeding, all playing, all bathtimes, all bedtimes, all middle-of-the-night crying fits…all me.  When my daughter was a little tiny baby, this situation often led me to tears.  A terribly, sleep deprived mother, woken every hour by an infant, with no one else to rely on. Now that she is a toddler, this whole process is much easier, and most nights I find myself alone with “Me Time” from about 8pm on…all in all, not a bad situation.

As I was reading my daughter her bedtime story last night, the thought popped in my head, “What if I DID have another child right now?”  That child would be just a baby, most likely. Without my husband to assist me, I would be forced to make difficult choices between my children. Would I not be able to give my daughter her nightly ritual of bath-book-snuggle-bed?  Where would I put the baby? Lay her down on the floor next to us?  Place her in a crib and hope she stays quiet as I dedicate time to my eldest?  Or perhaps tell my eldest daughter, “Sorry kid.  The new kid in the house outranks you in need. Put yourself to bed alone.”

As far as difficult choices make, the nightime ritual is a fairly minor choice.  But these choices one must make only echo larger and larger as the children age, forcing all parents of multiples to make difficult choices between their children.   I suppose all parents of multiple children adapt, and their children adapt.

But am I selfish in not wanting to HAVE to make a choice?

About This Blog

Our Little Family - Just the Way We Like It!

Our Little Family - Just the Way We Like It!

Only child…singleton…spoiled brats…

The connotations for only children are historically negative. G. Stanley Hall was one of the first experts to give only children a bad reputation when he referred to their situation as “a disease in itself.” Even today, only children are commonly stereotyped as “spoiled, selfish and bratty.”

Parents of only children are often faced with feelings of guilt, condescension, selfishness or just a general feeling that they are “cheating” their child out of a sibling.

Mommy blogs abound across the Internet, but there seems to be a severe lack of information and blogs about a lonely group of parents out there – those who either by circumstances or by choice have become the parents of an only child.  Thus, “My Only Child, My Lion” was born.  I am a parent of an only child by choice, and I plan this blog to be a resource and refuge for all parents of singletons.

About the Name

A fable written by Lokman, an Ethiopian sage of ancient times, shares the following story:

A hare, upon meeting a lioness one day, said reproachfully: “I have always a great number of children while you have only one or two now and then.”
The lioness replied, “That is true, but my one child is a lion.”