Menu

Having an only child is the perfect fit for us

My son is an only child, and it’s gonna stay that way. 

Having an only child is the perfect fit for us

Watching my sister unpack her double stroller from her SUV always fills me with a mix of admiration and relief. I love the fact that she’s given me multiple nephews, but I also love that she’s only getting one from me.


My son is an only child, and it’s gonna stay that way. That may sound sad to some, but for my family it’s perfect.

Before becoming pregnant with our son, I always imagined my husband and I would have at least two kids. But pregnancy has a way of changing our bodies, and sometimes, our minds, too.

After trying to conceive for some time, I was elated to get that positive test, but almost immediately I started feeling sick, which kind of robbed me of some of the joy I’d expected. By other people’s standards my pregnancy wasn’t a hard one—I wasn’t considered high risk and I wasn’t hospitalized—but being pregnant was really hard on me.

By the halfway point in my pregnancy, my husband and I decided that we were only going to do this once. It made sense not only when we considered how horrible I was feeling, but when we ran the numbers, too (as somebody who’s felt the crushing weight of student loans upon graduation, saving for college is a priority in my household). Financially and physically, having just one child felt like the perfect fit for us.

We were happy with our decision, but even before my son was born people began asking when we would have another, and most didn’t like the answer.

“Oh, you’ll change your mind,” was the common (and condescending) response.

Even my own doctor fell into that camp.

“When are you going to start trying again?” she asked shortly after my son was born.

“We’re not,” I told her.

“Why not? He’s so perfect?” she said. “Give it time, you’ll want another.”

Colleagues, friends, family members—hardly anyone trusted that we’d thought this through, and everyone had an opinion.

“It’s not right, he needs a brother or sister. He’s going to be lonely.”

“What if something happens to him? You’ll have no other children.”

“Two kids are not that much more expensive than one.”

“Couples like you who only have one child should have to pay higher taxes because you’re not contributing enough future workers to society.” (Yes, someone actually said that.)

I’d grown so accustomed to the negative reactions that when a nurse ended our newborn’s wellness appointment by asking when we were going to start trying again, I braced myself for another negative comment, but her response was perfect.

“That’s great,” she said. “I love it when people recognize what’s right for them.”

Her comment lifted me up and became my motto.

Whenever I felt like someone was judging me for our decision to stop at one, I remembered what that nurse said: I’m recognizing what’s right for us.

I love being a mom of one, but I think I would be overwhelmed and unhappy with two or three. In fact, I know I would be. We stopped at one because we recognized my limits. These days, when people tell me I should have another, I don’t take it personally (I can’t, I’m too busy chasing a 2-year-old). I also have two year’s worth of comebacks saved up for every argument.

Yes, my son will have a different experience than children who have siblings, but he won’t be lonely. He’ll have cousins and classmates and friends.

Yes, something could happen to him, but children aren’t tires—a sibling isn’t a spare.

Yes, having two kids is significantly more expensive than one, especially if you’re putting hundreds of dollars into an education savings account each month.

No, I should not have to pay higher taxes.

Knowing all this, and knowing that my son is my only baby, watching him leave babyhood behind has been hard. When he was 19 months old I took him for his last evening walk in the baby carrier that he was almost too big for.

He fell asleep as I walked, and as I stood at an intersection waiting for the light to change, I felt his warm, heavy little body on my chest and felt a sense of loss, too. I will never feel another baby of mine sleeping on me like that.

For the briefest moment I thought about having another baby to fill up that carrier, but by the time the light changed I was over it. Baby cuddles are great, I thought, but there’s a lifetime of parenting that comes after the cuddles.

“You can put the dog in the Ergo if you miss this. You don’t need another baby,” I thought.

When I watch my sister unload her double stroller and strap everybody in I’m in awe of her ability to do so much at once. She is an amazing mom to multiple children, but I know myself well enough to know that I would be overwhelmed in her place. I’m a great mom to one boy, but I can’t see my body handling another pregnancy or myself handling the stress of parenting two or three kids.

The second seat in my double stroller is reserved for my little dog, and I like it that way.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life