When I realized I was an adult and reflected on being a child

…I know.  Lack of posts.

I’m going to try to make this one quick because let’s face it – I have 19 days until I hand my thesis in (the new submission date is Monday July 1st as the end of the month falls on a weekend and I have confirmed that Monday will be accepted as June).

During my mental break today, I read this article from Slate.  Yes I love slate and I do post a lot of their articles.  But being 30, I do accept that my internal clock is ticking (ok, not that quickly mind you.  I’m of the generation where the mindset is that 35 is the right age for childbearing).  But I will admit to thinking about having children from time to time.

I would like to have children someday.  But I am smart enough to know that children are selfish little dictators who will temporarily take over your life.  The aforementioned article really reinforces how, in the USA, there is this obsession with keeping up the status quo.  I touched on it in some of my most recent posts.  How is it possible that women spend more hours taking care of their children now than they did in 1965?!

I guess the main thing is life balance.  I realized the other day that I am finally an adult now (as in, even though I’ve been an adult age for many years now, I’ve never really felt like one, for a variety of reasons but mostly: I’m the youngest in my family by about a million years, I’m still unmarried and I’m still a student) because I have the freedom to do (more or less) whatever the heck I want, but now have the self control to know better (for me this often comes down to food and financial choices – which I have a history of not making very good decisions in the past – in that I have been much fatter than I am now, and been known to put too  many purchases on the credit card.  I like to think that I have finally grown out of these bad habits in the past few years).  Yes, I would like to eat ice cream or whatever every day.  But no, I really shouldn’t.

So whether or not to have just 1 child?  I understand the logic.  Yes, it is much easier for 2 parents to raise just one child.  In theory, those two parents will be much happier.  But I also have some doubts about raising an only child (with my closest aged sister leaving home when I was 9, I was more or less raised as an only child, mind you).  And I can tell you that growing up as a nearly only child is no picnic.  Easier for the parents?  Sure.  Easier on the child?  Not so much.  Now isn’t the time when I go into the fact that as a child I was almost certainly clinically depressed, mostly due to bullying.  In elementary school I didn’t have any friends.  Is all of this due to my being an only child?  No.  Certainly there were confounding effects.  But if I had had siblings closer in age and had possibly developed a thicker skin earlier on, things would have been better for me.  I mean, children are honestly evil satanic little demons.  But lets be honest – it’s probably better to learn that from an early age within the safety of your own family.  For me, elementary school was an absolutely torturous experience that I would not wish upon another human being (except possibly as a form of punishment).

I suppose in the end I’ve turned out OK (although I am almost surely biased here.  Although I’ll be the first one to admit there is some room for improvement), though part of me always wonders how.  Regardless, I don’t think I could ever have just one child.  After doing a bit of scientific research (yay access to scholarly journals!), I found this article which pretty much resonates with me in terms of my experience growing up.   The main points being:

  • Only children are often less popular and less well accepted by the peer group
  • Being an only child didn’t affect the number of friendships formed
  • Only children were more passive or victimized – or alternatively, aggressive, than children with siblings

Mostly the differences between only children and children with siblings had to do with dealing with sibling conflict – learning negotiation, compromise and conflict resolution.  Since I pretty much avoid all confrontation, I think it is safe to say that I still probably haven’t fully learned the aforementioned skills.  : (  So I hate to be the one to say it, but for those parents who consciously choose to have only one child because it will make you happier (I’m not intending this as a criticism and I know full well that for many people, one child was a miracle) – but your child is likely to be less popular, less well accepted and more likely to be victimized.  Also, they will probably struggle their entire lives in dealing with conflict.  So happy you?  Maybe.  But possibly at the expense of your child’s happiness.  Just something to consider.

*Sigh*  Ok, so much for that being a short post.  All I can say is:  PhDs!

For now – back to the thesis!

P.s. I promise I really have been taking outfit photos lately and I will upload them soon.


2 thoughts on “When I realized I was an adult and reflected on being a child

  1. I gotta say, there were so many days I wished I was an only child. I have two older brothers and their reputations didn’t allow me to be anyone but their sister. They were both bullied and made fun of (both nerdy types), so naturally when I came along it just seemed to be the thing to do. It wasn’t until I went to college out of state that I could finally just be me and not someone’s sister.
    Good luck on the thesis!!

    • Aw – sorry to hear that your time at school wasn’t a picnic either – maybe being a child just sucks for everyone?!!

      Yes, college was the start of the golden years for me too. I didn’t go out of state, but I went far enough away from where I grew up and met enough like minded (kind understanding!) people that I could be me too!

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