Growing up, I always thought I would be the mom with a litter of children — dozens of little ones bouncing from room to room in chaos — I knew what motherhood was like. It was my plan to have kids, enough kids to compose my own soccer team with at least a couple left on the bench (and if they inherit my skills, they'll be benched for a while). My life goals included doing laundry every 20 minutes until my death and knowing how to prepare school lunches so well that the government gave me an award for efficiency and service. Well...all of that didn’t happen. Here I am, one child by my side, which is just one of at least a million other ways my life didn’t turn out as I'd planned.
But that’s OK. In fact, it's better than OK. And I’m not just saying that because there’s not a lot I could do to change the whole "having just one kid" thing apart from accepting sperm donations and hoping the cobwebs on my uterus are removable. As a mom of just one child and a person in the world who sees other families with only one child, there are definitely some perks to the particular arrangement of our family portrait. Yes, it's not the ideal I'd pictured as a kid, but I mean, I also assumed I'd have a pet unicorn. The fact is, our childhood notions of what our adult lives will be like often bear so little resemblance to what our adult selves want or need, which is why it's crazy to be so attached to them.
And when I take the time to appreciate the life I have and the little girl I share it with, I wouldn't have it any other way. What I've realized is that having just one kid isn't merely how some families "end up" (although that also happens and that's fine). For some of us, having one kid becomes a very real choice, based on what we know to be best for making our families as strong as possible. Here are a few of the ways having only one kid makes families stronger: