Bill Cosby does a routine about how “parents” who have one child aren’t really parents. At first I agreed with him, because how can you really know true parenthood until you have yelled at the backseat to just STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER, ALREADY! Then I thought maybe the reason I scoff at parents with only one child is because I have 3. And maybe the parents that scoff at me is because I only have 3 and they have more than 3. And maybe just maybe that parent with the only scoffs at me, because she can control her one child so how hard can it be to control 3. It is that whole walking a mile in someone else shoes thing.
It is an endless competition that goes on unnoticed, mostly. Much like other competitions that go on among mothers, breastfeeding (how long and who bleed the most), sleeping (who slept through the night first or who didn’t), eating (who waited to start solids, who made their own food, who kids ate veggies, who kids is the pickiest. You win this one if you come up with a special condition name for your child’s pickiest.), etc. Add to it who must be the most experienced mom, therefore she knows the most and we have the parenting side of the Internet. I really don’t find much of these competitions going on outside the realm of the Internet. Or maybe I am too scattered brain from chasing after my 3 kids to notice. *ZING!* But can you really decide who is the best parent is by how many kids they have or don’t have?
The number of kids simply presents different challenges. The one I see the most for those with one child is not having a built in playmate for your child. While I don’t see that as a long time problem for the child, it might become a problem for the parent when you are asked for the millionth time to play Candyland. Sorry, but that game was fun when I was five, now, I am just trying to pick the right card that will end this game. With more than one child you have the extra demands of those other kids and, of course, the fighting. The endless fighting. However, I don’t think any of this makes one a better parent than the other. I can think of a few reasons why an only is better than 3: one college tuition to worry about, one set of clothes to buy, one little person’s demands to meet on a daily basis and one that can soak up all the attention you can provide. There are bonuses to having more than one kid, as well,: at some point I will have a built in free babysitter (this only happens if the spacing is just right), more slaves to do my bidding (i.e. chores), other little ones to use the baby stuff YOU JUST HAD TO HAVE, and more hugs and kisses to hand out and receive. In the long run there is no magic number. No number of kids will make you a better parent than other parents, except maybe for the people that have no kids at all. Parenting, in general, is a hard game. Mainly, because we are dealing with uncontrolled subjects. We are in a game with other little humans that have their own opinions and are programmed to rebel against pretty much anything you throw at them. Even those who end up with seemingly perfect kids always know there is a deep dark secret hiding underneath waiting to shatter the illusion in the blink of an eye. So really the only thing parents with more than one kid have going for them is practice, which really doesn’t matter because by the time you have practiced enough to get it just right, you are are on your death bed.