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I have one child. That's it. Because I have one child, studies tell me that because he is the eldest (and the only), he will be very mature before his time, as he primarily interacts with my husband and myself. Recent research also indicates that if he were born female, he would have an even higher likelihood of success than he does now. 

My son doesn't have other siblings to teach things to or to boss around (although he does enjoy bossing around the cat). With only one child, our family is under the average number of children per family in our country, although we are spot on for living in Taiwan. (Note to husband: I do not want to move to Taiwan.)

I often wonder, though, what my son's life would be like if he suddenly had a large number of siblings. My Mother has told me in the past that she wanted six children. (Which would have made her an excellent candidate for living in Burundi.)

I know about the challenges that all parents face (potty training, tempers, learning to negotiate), but I imagine there are additional factors at stake with larger families. Most parents are faced with time and money issues, but if our family was larger, I probably wouldn't have a paying job as I would be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. With more children in the household, I might also have less time for my son as it would be divided among other children. We would also probably own a van.

Then there are the less obvious challenges: A recent study from Australia suggests that children from big families do worse in school. I'm not sure if those results are replicated in other countries, but after reading the study, it seems that most of this is caused by teacher bias.

And that part I can understand. My brother and I are three years apart, and every time I entered a new classroom, the teacher/nun would let me know that she taught my older brother. 

This was slightly annoying, as it meant that I had to make sure to differentiate myself from my brother. Maybe I was too competitive as a child, but I wanted to be more than "my brother's little sister."

Now that we are older, I don't feel the same pressure. My brother has his family and life and I have mine. We meet up for holidays at our Mother's house and watch our children play together. I am truly happy for the joys in their life and I try to celebrate our differences.

For now, my husband and I are happy with our single son. We want him to forge his own path - in school and in life. 

For those of you with "larger" families - what unexpected challenges have you faced as you grow your family? Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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Comment by Marcia Fowler on May 28, 2014 at 6:36am

It's not the van that gets filled, it's the house with the multiage toys. Stepping on Legos in one room, dealing with Playdough in another. :)

Comment by Lauren Markman on May 27, 2014 at 8:10pm

I don't have anything against's just a imagine that with more children comes more stuff!

Comment by Marcia Fowler on May 26, 2014 at 9:49pm

I love your line, we would probably own a van.

I now own a van.  I have only 2 kids and those kids have lots of friends. Thus, the van. They are great for transporting kids but that's about it. Not much room for anything else.

Comment by Lauren Markman on May 21, 2014 at 9:05pm

Thanks for sharing your journey, Debra! You've really given a full picture of your life with three. It sounds like your life is full of energy and joy every day and that you truly made the right decision for you!

Comment by Debra Jo Borden on May 21, 2014 at 10:36am

I love your post - it shows exactly the way a woman's mind works - research, advice, worries, joys, pros, cons - ALL of those things are constantly swirling in our minds EVERY DAY ABOUT EVERYTHING! It's exhausting to be a woman sometimes! :)

When our family grew from one child to two, I was worried that I would be able to have enough love for both of my kids like I had been able to give to my 1st. When my 2nd was born, I was amazed at how my heart grew - all of a sudden my heart just felt bigger - like there was equal space , not divided space, for another individual in my heart. It was a beautiful feeling in the delivery room holding my 2nd baby boy for the first time - now I think back and rely on that feeling when he throws tantrums, haha!

It is true that the time that each child gets is different than when you only have one to focus on, but in many ways it makes it easier on everyone. The kids have parents and siblings to rely on for advice, they play together, they laugh together, they fight together - there's a lot of energy when you have more than one bouncing around. There are more chances for a mom to be mortified in public, there are more chances for the couches and carpets to get stained, but most importantly it just enriches your family life.

My sister in law only has one child because that's all God has chosen to send to her. They have a happy life and sometimes our nephew wants siblings, but he also lives nearby so he can play with my boys all the time. They are cousins who feel like brothers. But if it's a matter of choice - I would personally recommend having 2 children if at all possible. My life with 2 kids was out of this world amazing, so then we chose to have a 3rd, and I will admit life is crazier with 3 than I expected, but every day is a gift and it's worth it to me to drive a mini-van, even if it makes me feel old. It's not always roses, but for me, the good times easily out-weigh the bad. But I am happy my boys have siblings because someday they'll have kids and there will be lots of cousins for their kids to play with, and if ever they feel like they need a friend, they'll already have brothers for love and support to lean on.

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