Posted: May 23, 2014 8:00 AM
We hear a lot about the benefits — and importance — of having more than one child. The sharing, the comfort, the fun. But some women are choosing to be one and done and are raising an only child by choice. Find out why and what experts say about the only child personality.
Photo credit: Sam Edwards/ Caiaimage/ Getty Images
Only children tend to thrive in leadership roles and are able to make mature decisions earlier than counterparts who have siblings.

When it comes to only children, people make a lot of assumptions. Some of these come from thoughts about what an "ideal" family looks like and others come from notions of what only children are really like. Mental health and relationship expert Rhonda Richards-Smith, LCSW, says, "While many have heard the age-old myth that only children are spoiled and selfish, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, only children tend to thrive in leadership roles and are able to make mature decisions earlier than counterparts who have siblings." The third part of this assumption trifecta comes from thoughts on what every woman wants. When we see families of three we assume they're a factor of circumstance rather than choice. This isn't always the case. Some women skip the big family "ideal" altogether in lieu of something different: what they actually want. We spoke with women who are choosing to have only children simply because it's the best choice for them. Here's what they have to say about being one and done — by choice.

Cameron Garriepy
Cameron Garriepy
is the author of Buck's Landing: A New England Seacoast Romance and a champion of emerging writers and independent authors everywhere whose second novel, Damselfly Inn, will be released in late 2014. About being one and done, Cameron says, "We didn't make a firm decision from the beginning to only have one child, but after our son was born there was a feeling of completion. We make a good trio. We thought about having another, but there was never a moment when we felt that our family wasn't done yet, that having a second child was necessary. As our son has grown, we've truly enjoyed the increased freedom and flexibility we have as a family of three, and now I can't imagine changing that."

Photo credit: Cameron Garriepy
Lauren SandlerPhoto credit: Lauren Sandler

Lauren Sandler is a journalist who writes with a focus on gender, freedom and cultural politics — including a Time cover story on only children and her recent book One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One. About being one and done, Lauren says, "There's a whole book of reasons why I think I may be one and done. Amongst myriad reasons, having just one child allows me the freedom to dedicate myself to a full life outside motherhood — not just work but also my relationships, my pursuits, my inner life — as well as be present with my kid."

Nicole Standley

Nicole Standley is the editor for The JetSet Family where she curates social media content focusing on luxury family travel, fine dining and pop culture events. About being one and done, Nicole says, "My husband and I always thought we were going to have at least three children. The thought of one never crossed my mind. In fact, the thought of two never crossed my mind. But in my mind, my home was filled with three, four or even five kids. Then something very powerful and surreal happened when I was in the hospital holding my daughter. It was the most overwhelming feeling of satisfaction I have ever felt. I was holding perfection and I had the daughter I always wanted. I had no idea of her personality only a few minutes old, or what the blueprint for her life was, but what I did know was at that moment I had absolutely everything I had ever wanted, wished for and I didn't need anything else. I knew in my heart this was my last one and I was very OK with it."

Photo credit: Nicole Standley
CeciliaPhoto credit: Cecilia


Cecilia is a work-from-home mother and business owner who blogs about life and books at Only You. About being one and done, Cecilia says, "My husband and I decided that having one child was the threshold where we could function optimally as individuals as well as give our best as parents. We were "older" parents who had just launched our own business and had recently moved back to the States in order to better control our work/life balance. I also have a stepson and lifelong issues with anxiety and depression. Given everything, my husband and I wanted a life in which we could comfortably take care of not only our children but also each other and ourselves."

Ericka Clay

Ericka Clay is a published author and the editor-in-chief of Tipsy Lit. Her novel, Unkept, is due to be released in early 2015 by Bannerwing Books. Come say "hey" to her at her blog, Ericka Clay, Author. About being one and done Ericka says, "I know my limits. I know what I can handle. I can manage and enjoy a beautiful daughter while weaving a lifetime of poetry, of words. If we added to our family, the words would have to unravel and that wouldn't be fair to any of us."

Photo credit: Ericka Clay

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