When my daughter was just a few weeks old, I heard something I would hear often from then on. The first time, it came from my own mami: "When are you going to have another one? You can't just have one. She'll be too spoiled."

Now, just change spoiled with lonely, selfish, too attached, sad, etc., and you have heard everything I have for the past five years when I tell people that my daughter is, and will be, an only child. Normal for most parents of only children, but I am Latina, and for some reason, a Latina with an only child is just scandalous.


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Yes, I said scandalous! Why? Because it's actually not a stereotype: According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanic households are larger than non-Hispanic households (3.3 persons per household for Hispanics versus 2.4 persons for non-Hispanics); and have twice as many children under 18. Which means we Latina mamás of only children get the most looks and criticism not just from the outside world, but mostly from our own families.

To my aunts and cousins, it was almost as if it was my "duty" to my husband to bear children, and that I would be doing the family a disservice by not growing it. To the older generation, it was a defiance of our Catholic roots, not just by refusing to birth more children, but by actively using contraception to prevent it. To others... I was just plain floja. "¿Una mamá de solamente una bebé? ¡Qué floja eres!" were one of my tía's exact words to me.

Is it lazy to want to work hard and enjoy trips to Disneyland, Peru, and Europe and experience the best with my only child? Because with two, we couldn't afford it. Is it lazy to recognize that my sanity and abilities can only fully devote myself to one child? Because with two or more, I can guarantee one will feel cheated of time.

I don't believe that children with siblings are better off than my only daughter, just as I don't believe she is superior for being an only child. Just because Latinas have more children on average, does not mean that I should too. I'm a Latina mamá of one... and my only girl is more than enough for me.

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Topics: child rearing  on parenting