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After reading the last three chapters of Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, I was convinced more than ever that if she and I were to meet we’d become fast friends. (It’s a growing affection, I know, for a certain demographic of American women like me: glasses-wearing; Gen X; urban-dwelling; career-oriented.) Then this morning, even before my body had a chance to process the coffee I was drinking, I learned that my imaginary best friend had joined a club in which I am not allowed. She’s having a second kid, and I am the mom of an Only.
In the last chapter of her book, ”What Should I Do With My Last Five Minutes?” Fey (pictured, above, with her daughter in 2007) articulates the societal pressure that is put on moms with only one child. “A background actor on the set of 30 Rock will ask, ‘You want more kids?' ’No, no,’ I want to say. ‘Why would I want more kids when I could be here with you having an awkward conversation over a tray of old danishes?’” Of course, I know this is happy news for Fey and her family, and I am happy for their happiness -- really. But I can’t help but feel like my team just lost its star player. Sure, there are others (Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Katie Holmes) but they’re just not funny.
The multiple-kid way of life is everywhere I look. When we drop our daughter off at pre-school, almost every parent enters the room with a round belly or a baby-filled Ergo leading the way. Among the group of parents we hang with, one just had a baby, one is expecting and two are trying for seconds. We recently visited my husband’s sister, who just had her third. To drive the point home, yesterday there was a story going around Twitter that said parents who have two kids really are happier (especially if their two kids happen to be both be girls). "See," the world seems to be saying, "you’re missing out."
But here is the thing that I don’t hear anyone else saying: We have only one child because we chose to have only one child. It’s awesome. We are incredibly happy. We love being able to focus our attention on our child and celebrate her milestones with gusto (“No more diapers! Whoo-hoo!”), discovering along the way that each phase she hits seems to be more wonderful than the last. We learned long ago that the family you choose can be more supportive than the one you are born with, and our lives (and often our home) is filled with close friends. I know the day will come when my daughter will say, like Fey’s, “I wish I had a baby sister.” Hopefully, the fact that we let her have lots of sleepovers, or that she can bring a buddy with us on vacation -- or that we can afford vacations at all -- will count for something.
At the moment, our girl is only 3 years old -- and that is her favorite number. We sing the School House Rock song, "Three Is a Magic Number" (“A mommy and daddy had a little baby…”) and have a family hug. Our cat squeezes in and it feels just right.
Angela Matusik is chief content executive at iVillage. Follow her on Twitter: @angelamatusik
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