'I AM AN ONLY CHILD, AND THIS IS WHY I DON'T WANT TO HAVE AN ONLY CHILD'
Ami Amin on why she wants her daughter to have a sibling...
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Only children can feel the absense of a sibling even more when they have their own children, says Ami Amin
As soon as I felt the urge to become a mother, I knew I didn’t want to raise an only child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t appreciate being a spoilt brat. But I would say that it’s overrated.
For starters, I often felt a bit ignored around my parents when they were having grown-up conversations. It actually got quite boring having all these toys but no one to play with: I’d have to be both the greengrocer AND the customer in my pretend shop, and the best story I can share about my childhood is the time I made my own Countdown set using some cardboard and an egg timer.
This may sound strange to someone with siblings, but I feel like I missed out on having someone to fight with. I don’t think I ever argued with anyone until I was a teenager. As a result, arguing has always felt like a really big deal to me, and often disproportionately upsetting.
It’s through sibling squabbles that many children find their strongest ally for the future, and I have always felt the absence of that bond; most strongly after becoming a parent myself. I’ve got dozens of cousins, some of whom are very dear to me. But it’s just not the same as growing up living under the same roof as someone who you can love and hate in equal measure and who is as important to your parents as you are.
While I respect my parents’ decision not to improve on their first attempt, I very much want my daughter to experience the woes and wonders of having an unconditional friendship. I want her to grow up learning that the world doesn’t revolve around her. And, while I’m not quite ready to take on another small person at this moment in time, I really hope that one day she will have her partner in crime to play make believe games with, fall out with over stuff that doesn’t matter, and play the customer to her greengrocer in her pretend shop.
:: Read Flic Everett's counter piece 'In praise of the only child' here.