A few months ago I was happily expressing to some friends some changes I had seen in Andrew. It was mostly sleep related, but I shared what we had done, what had worked and honestly, it was a pretty proud mommy moment.
Till I was met with "Well, you only have one kid. It's not that easy with more."
Later on Facebook, I was reading a blog written by a mom of one about her choice to not spank. Once again, the comments were full of "It's easy to discipline that way now, you only have one kid." Some of them weren't even that polite, just "You have one kid, what do you know?"
Sadly, this wasn't the first time I had seen this attitude. It wasn't the last either. It seemed pretty common.
Because we don't have enough "mommy wars" going on, it is now the amount of kids you have suddenly makes you a "better mommy". Apparently those of us with one kid don't really count in the mommy game. I'm not sure what having one child makes me, but it for sure doesn't make me a "good mom". One kid is a piece of cake, easy, and it also completely null and voids anything you've tried to do -- from sleeping to discipline to eating to teaching.
As with everything else in the "mommy wars", it just makes me weary.
I don't know what it's like to have multiple children, so I'm not going to pretend I do. I will in a few weeks, but for the past three years, it's been Andrew and mommy. He's gotten (mostly) my undivided attention. Does that negate our experiences together?
Andrew is a child just like any other child. His status as an "only child" do not make my experiences with him less valid, less worthwhile, less true. It doesn't cancel out my experience as a mother either.
As I said, I don't know what it is like to have more than one child. But I know what it is like to have one child. One child that I love very much. He is a blessing, a treasure, a beautiful soul that I thank God for everyday. My time as Andrew's mommy is not any less valid because he is an only child.
This attitude of hierarchy in motherhood has got to stop. Regardless of the issue, it has to stop. Between the battles of formula feeding and breastfeeding, homebirth and hospital birth, public school and homeschool, we are all still mothers. We are all still plowing away through this job, praying we give our kids more than enough love.
Might I suggest that those of us with one child need just as much encouragement as those with eight? Or two, or five? Might I suggest that regardless of how many children you have, you are still a mother?
There is also another way that this attitude hurts that many do not think of; it hurts the mothers with empty wombs, hearts and arms. It hurts the mothers with arms waiting for a child to hold. It hurts the mothers who will only have one child.
Between Andrew and this baby (who is 33 weeks at the moment), I've had three miscarriages. They were early, but they still hurt. And anytime it has been mentioned to me "You only have one child...", it brings up a tiny bit of that hurt.
There are women I know who are on their hands and knees praying for one child. Whether that child arrives through adoption, medical help to get pregnant or something short of a miracle, they want their one child. Are they any less of a mother?
There are also those who have chosen to have one child. They have their own reasons, but it doesn't cancel out the fact that they are still mothers.
Remember to speak your words with love and with gentleness. At the end of the day, we are all moms. We have had different experiences, children with vastly different personalities, our own struggles in different areas, but one child or twenty, we are all still mothers.