Material Moms, The Mothership

[Material Moms] The Single Child – Deborah Giam

Does choosing to have only one child make the parent a selfish person? In this week’s Material Moms, mother-of-one Deborah Giam shares why she doesn’t regret her decision one bit.

What's wrong with choosing to have just one child?

What’s wrong with choosing to have just one child?

Ever since I had Little Miss, one question I constantly get from people is this: “So, when are you going to have another one?”

I’m fairly certain I’m not the only mother-of-one who dreads hearing that.

At a friend’s wedding lunch recently, an old school mate was at the same table. She herself has one child, but obviously wants to have a few more. She asked me casually if I wanted the same. When she heard my reply in the negative, she was flabbergasted. “But why don’t you want to have another one?”; “Little Miss would be so lonely without another sibling.”; “C’mon, you have to have another one.”; “You already have a kid. What’s another one?”; “Really? Are you sure you don’t want to have more kids?”

It was like that throughout the entire lunch. By the end of it, I was more than ready to down a bottle of wine by myself and go straight home.

Here’s the thing: I work full-time and we survive on my income. Every cent I earn goes either to paying for Little Miss’ things, or towards the household. My friend doesn’t. She runs her own business and has a fairly robust trust fund. It’s easier for someone who can pay to get as much help as possible, to have as many kids as she wants.

Unfortunately, that isn’t my situation. It wasn’t that I’d planned to only have one child. In the past, I had always thought that maybe I’d have two or three kids. Life, though, has other plans for me.

But do I think Little Miss suffers because of it? I don’t think so.

No one will ever fight with her for snacks. I’m not kidding. She’s usually more than willing to share the snacks with me, but only because there isn’t anyone else there trying to steal them from her. She’s possessive that way.

She’s comfortable talking to people older than her. Little Miss loves having conversations with not only me, but almost anyone who cares to listen to her (if she’s not in a shy mood, that is). She loves showing the books and toys she has to people, and can come up with really interesting theories about them. Come to think of it, I kinda love having conversations with her too.

She gets my undivided attention. On weekends, I love finding out what she wants to do and then making it happen with her. Whether it’s spending a day at the beach or simply hanging out at home to cook, the time we spend together is truly precious to me because she is the centre of my world.

So, no, I do not plan to have another child. It’s my choice and mine alone – and I make damned sure I give my all to my only daughter.

material-mum-deborah-giamAbout the author: Deborah Giam is a full-time digital native, having worked and played in the online world for most of her life. Her second job is mother to a precocious four-year-old who loves dinosaurs, airplanes and Hello Kitty. Forget designer labels she’s happiest in an old-school world shooting with film, traveling the world and exploring new places. See more of her travels and photographs at www.livinglavidaholga.wordpress.com.

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Material Moms, The Mothership, Young Minds

[Material Moms] Own Time, Own Target – Deborah Giam

As a parent, you tend to think you know what’s best for your child. From the moment you find out you’re going to have a kid, out comes the books and websites and support groups that will tell you everything and anything you need to know … or so you think.

Mother-Daughter-Picture

I may be stating the obvious, and a lot of parents discover this little fact for themselves after their child arrives, but each and every child is different in their own way. I say this because I’m going to talk about how the Little Miss does things in her own time. I don’t mean those hurry-up-get-changed-we’re-late-for-school type of mornings, but the fact that when it comes to major milestones, she’ll only go at her own pace and do it when she’s well and ready.

Little Miss was a late walker. She started cruising and toddling around from about the age of 11 months, but it wasn’t until she was almost 16 months old that she well and truly started walking on her own. Before that, she always needed the safety of someone’s hand holding hers (usually in a death grip). We knew earlier on that she could probably walk by herself, but she wouldn’t hear of it and wouldn’t give it a try. Then one day, off she went! In the beginning it was a little shaky – she walked like a drunk zombie – but she did it, and she did it when she was ready.

Then came potty training. I tried in the beginning to see if I could get her started, or at least used to the idea, but it was pretty hard. We had a couple of accidents here and there, and she just kept asking for her diaper instead. Eventually, I thought, “I’m not going to push it. She’ll get upset and frustrated, and I’ll get upset and frustrated. What’s the point?” It wasn’t worth the negative energy. Lo and behold, one day she declared, “Mummy, I don’t want to wear a diaper anymore.” I was slightly skeptical, since she was right about to go to school, but I thought I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. If she’s telling me that she doesn’t want to, then she probably knows what it’s going to entail. So I packed her school bag with extra underwear and a diaper, just in case, and told her teachers of the new development. Since then, she’s been diaper-free (except at nights), and we’ve had very few accidents.

The pacifiers that Little Miss threw away!

The pacifiers that Little Miss threw away!

The next milestone came when she stopped using her pacifier. She loved her pacifier. And by love I mean obsessed. She needed one at night to get to sleep, and would often be around the house with a pacifier in her mouth. From the time she got into the car going home from school she’d be asking for one. If it was up to her, it would be a crime punishable by death not to have one with you at all times. I was starting to get worried that she’d be one of those kids sucking on a pacifier even through primary school. I tried when she was three to get her to stop by offering rewards if she stayed pacifier-free. I think it worked for about two days, and then she went back to it. We constantly told her she was too old to have one, and that it was time to give it up. One day she said to me, “Mummy, next year I’ll be in K1. I’m a big girl. K1 no more pacifier.” I thought, okay, now this is interesting, so a deal was struck. When January 1 came about, and she was going to start with K1, she would throw her pacifiers in the trash. And she did. Every one of them. She gathered them all, took them in her hands and threw them into the bin. It felt like such a momentous day! As a backup, my mother suggested that I kept one or two on standby, but I didn’t because I felt this was a choice Little Miss made, and it was a choice she’d have to stick by. I did ask her what I could do if she was upset and wanted a pacifier. “Make a funny face, mummy”. That’s exactly what I did – all of two times.

So what comes next? Who knows, but I’m sure it will happen in its own way and its own time.

material-mum-deborah-giam

About the author: Deborah Giam is a full-time digital native, having worked and played in the online world for most of her life. Her second job is mother to a precocious four-year-old who loves dinosaurs, airplanes and Hello Kitty. Forget designer labels she’s happiest in an old-school world shooting with film, traveling the world and exploring new places. See more of her travels and photographs at www.livinglavidaholga.wordpress.com.

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