You Only Have One…

by adustyframe ~ January 28th, 2013

I heard this statement many times over the past years.

“I want to sing hymns in school like you do but then I remember–“you only have one”.

“You only have one to think about.”

“You only have one…..”

Every time I heard this, I wanted to cry (or shout!). When I first started hearing this, Lee was in prison. I “only had one” and I had that one all by myself.

I had no help parenting. I had no help with income. I had no help with home or car repairs. I had no help with anything–ever. So, yes, I “only had one” but I was overwhelmed and exhausted.

The “you only have one” was never said encouraging or helpful. It was always an accusation. “You only do fun things because you only have one.”

I said many times that as much as I wanted more children, I was thankful that God had not given us more children. Doing all that by myself with many children would have been much harder. I know that.

I know that moms of many have a lot of juggling. They have a lot of school work to prepare. They have many learning styles and personalities to deal with. I get that.

But you know, I wasn’t less of a mother because I “only had one”. I still had to do the housework. I still had to do school. I still had to cook. I still had to wash dishes.

As much as these statements hurt me (or annoyed me), I know that these people were speaking from their own insecurities.  These people also knew my situation. They knew I was completely alone.

But here’s why it hurt.

I never wanted to “only have one.” Each time these words were tossed my way, I felt a stab in my heart. I was the girl who wanted 5 children. I grew up in a home with 3 other siblings and I didn’t think 4 was any big deal. I always planned to have lots of children around me.

I always hurt that James didn’t have a sibling. He asked many times, “Why doesn’t God give us another baby?” One of my greatest hurts about Lee’s incarceration was the fact that we couldn’t have more children. I let Lee know that many times too!

So, when I was hurting over “only having one” others were using it as an accusation or way to put me down.

I wanted to have a house full of children. I wanted to have many children to juggle and more to cook for.

Please think before you say things to people.  If you are overwhelmed with your big family, don’t make yourself feel better by putting someone else down. Realize that your comments can drive  a dagger through hearts. Lots of moms who “only have one” would love to be in your shoes.


**This is one of the posts I said I’d share when I announced our pregnancy. There are more thoughts and posts to follow**



4 Thoughts Shared to You Only Have One…

  1. Pam

    I am an only child……I always heard……”you are spoiled”. “you don’t have to share……etc……the truth was both of my parents worked full time which was kind of unusual 60years ago. I was NOT spoiled……I cleaned my own room……helped with the rest of the house on Saturday mornings…….and every weekday I had a full meal on the table when my parents came home……I learned independence. When my dad left my mom and I ……I was 14 years old……my mom had a nervous breakdown……I was thankful I knew how to run the house…..even though there were only 2 of us. She didn’t have a drivers license we learned to drive together……we went to church together ……the grocery store etc. I never really minded being an only child until the last few years……..both of my parents have gone home to the Lord. I have a wonderful daughter …..she is an only child…..and wonderful Godly mom….wife and teacher …..

  2. Prairie Rose

    I think (hope) it was said to make themselves feel better about what they absolutely could not do. Parenting one IS hard. Single parenting IS hard, no matter how many children there are. But from my perspective as single mom of three, I often feel so overwhelmed with all the things I want to do, wish I could do, see other people doing (who have one, or who have older kids), and despair that I can never be the kind of mom I always wanted to be. Three is hard because they are different ages. There are sooooo many things I want to do with my 5 year old that I simply can’t because it’s too hard dragging along a 1 and 2 yr old, chasing them around, them getting into things, crying and fussing, etc. So when another parent with a 5 yr old talks about the wonderful things they’re doing with their kid, it just makes the mom of three feel completely inadequate and like they’re failing to be as good a parent as the other one. Hopefully, they’re “but you only have one” comment was intended to reassure themselves that they aren’t as awful a mother as they feel like they are when they hear the things you do. I do agree everyone needs to be careful with what they say — but I also think everyone needs to recognize that the things people say that hurt are often NOT at all intentional and those people would never hurt them for the world if they knew their comment hurt.

    I agree with you that we shouldn’t look for an offense. I also know that these people said it to me repeatedly and often even after I told them it hurt me.

  3. Robin in New Jersey

    I keep hearing from people: “good thing you have those three girls at home to help you.” Makes me feel awful. I am out working because of my husband’s sin and I can’t be here to do school the way I want to, to cook from scratch the way I used to, or take my kids on a field trip. I want my girls to concentrate on their school work, not do another load of wash. They are very good at helping and they don’t complain(ages 13, 15, 17), but I still get annoyed when people say it. And it’s not easier because I am single parenting when it comes to discipline and trying to help them figure things out. On the up side, the Lord has given me wisdom I never knew I had. 🙂

    ((Hugs)) Dealing with the consequences of someone else’s sin is so hard. 🙁

  4. Janet

    I’m so sorry that people have hurt you and then deliberately continued to do so.:( People think they know it all, but they don’t. Yes, you are so right–you still had to face everything alone!

    I was terribly hurt when a former single mom of 3, who was only single less than 2 years, criticized what I could not do–things that stressed me out–because she was able to do them and more when she was a single mom. I have been single for almost 13 years and it gets harder to me.:(

    Everyone is different. Every situation is different. Everyone’s temperament and stress levels are different. I think women would do much better to support each other than to put them down. One can be understanding while not being able to fully understand the situation.

    I was told recently that they thought it would be easier to parent as a single parent. Really? Wow.

    It’s true that every one has different motivation, health, and stress levels–married or single! I’m sorry 🙁
    My fave is when married women’s husbands go away for 2 nights and they say, “I’m just like a single mother.” Ummm no sorry. And it DOES get harder the longer and longer it goes with never a break!
    Since my husband now travels 2 1/2-3 1/2 weeks per month, I feel fully qualified to say it may bring challenges but it’s NOTHING like being a single mother.
    Easier to single parent? Outside of horrible abuse that’s really laughable.

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