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One and Done

Please, people, let's do away with the expression "One and done".

Ever since my daughter was a year and a half, I've been asked (mostly by people I've just met) whether I'm planning on having another child. When I've answered in the negative, I've often been met with reproach, disbelief (of the "don't you know you're supposed to have two?" variety) and a firm admonishment that I'm bound to raise a lonely, selfish, entitled child.

In these cases, I've done everything from brushing it off to explaining my family's reasons for having one child: including benefits to the environment, our well-being, and our finances. I've gone so far as to cite research that has shown the opposite to be true--that single children are often MORE likely to share, to show compassion, and to behave in a way that is less "spoiled" than children with siblings, since they're not fighting for resources and their parents' attention.

The bottom line, however, is that we love our little family. We like to travel light in life, and have found that that's easier to do with our family of three. It also means that I get to be an extra set of arms and eyes for friends with second, third or fourth children--a gift I cherish.

When well-meaning (or maybe not so well-meaning) people ask, "Oh, so you're one and done?" it sounds like having a child was simply something to cross off my to-do list, that I don't particularly like children or that Emma has made parenting so disagreeable that I've done the baby-making equivalent of dropping the mic.

Mama out.

So, for all you parents and non-parents out there: please consider removing "one and done" from your lexicon. If you have opinions about the number of children one ought to have, please keep them to yourselves. Family size is a very personal decision, and no one should be made to feel that one child does not constitute a complete family.

I promise you'll never hear me ask, "Two and through?"

Jackie Parker is the founder and director of Crowning Point Tutoring and writes about and teaches courses on the art of Living Abundantly for Less.

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