KatieKatie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

When I wrote for a different blog a few years back, I posted a piece about a survey that stated that married moms envied single moms. The gist of the survey was that the responsibility of having a husband on top of having children made married moms feel like it might be easier at times to be single instead. I must admit, I liked the results of the survey since I was a single mom who often envied married moms. In my post, I rambled on about how I could see how married moms would feel that way since being a mom is pressure enough, minus the husband. I also may have written something about how being single was great because I could leave dirty gym clothes on the bathroom floor. This prompted a few responses from angry readers, the most memorable of which was a handwritten letter from one who told me that one day I would be a “horrible wife.”

Well, I’m not a single mom anymore. I still leave dirty gym clothes on the bathroom floor but so far, my husband has not declared me “horrible.” I do not envy single moms — not by a long shot. I have found myself envying a different group of moms lately, however. It has nothing to do with husbands, or lack of husbands, or marriage at all. It is simply a numbers game.

I have “single child” envy and am not ashamed to admit it.

My three little models, dressed and on an adventure

Let’s be clear here. I love all my children. My daughter, my stepson, my stepdaughter and the growing little girl in my belly. I love my dog too, who sometimes feels like an extra kid around the house. I would not trade one minute — past, present or future — with these kids. I just think, like the married moms felt about marriage in the survey from a few years ago, that the pressure of added kids can be overwhelming at times. If you know me and the fact that my children have not even reached Kindergarten age yet, you are slapping your forehead and saying “well, duh, Katie.” Still, I’m not proud to admit that the little green monster bites me from time to time and it’s generally when I see a Facebook status update from parents of one child.

A few recent examples:

A friend with a teenage son surprised him last week with a trip to New York City. They did all the fun Christmassy things and took pictures all over town. I think I even saw a status update about seeing Tony Bennett perform? I immediately thought, “Wow, great idea. I’ll have to do that when my kids get older.” Then I quickly remembered that if I was taking an impromptu trip with one, I would be taking it with all of them. Just a fun, quick trip to the Big Apple for me plus one… plus one… plus one… plus one more. I sighed. There are likely not any of these trips in my future. No surprised teenagers. No Tony Bennett.

Another status update, or series of updates, on Facebook centered around a friend who has one daughter who is about six months old. Everything about this Christmas season centered around the baby. Special outfits for every different relative who was visited. A Santa visit or ten. Debating which toys to buy and which to pass over. I considered myself lucky that my children were actually wearing clothing on Christmas, and I can’t really even take credit for that because they all woke up somewhere other than home and were dressed by other people. Forget coordinating Christmas outfits. A Sesame Street shirt for one, Mario Brothers shirt for another and a T-shirt touting the words “Vail Colorado” for another. Other people took them to see Santa and other people bought them the majority of their gifts. If I had made the effort to dress one spectacularly, I would have had to channel that energy times three. The same goes for Santa visits and fantastic gift ideas.

Even as I’m writing all of these things, the phrase “the grass is always greener” keeps popping in my head. I know there are a lot of parents of one child who wish from time to time that they had more. I very highly doubt that many people are envious of my specific situation but the concept of a multi-child family itself is probably something that people with a singular child envy on occasion.

I do not wish that I had just one child but instead I wish that I had all of the energy and attention for each child that I feel like parents of one devote. This is all that I’m saying here. There is enough love in my heart for each one but sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough of… well, everything else. The good news, of course, is that my kids all have each other. And thank goodness I am not a single mom trying to raise all of these little ones on my own (I bow down to you moms who do it).

Still, I am envious of you, moms of one child, and your seemingly endless time and energy that you devote to that child. If I don’t “like” a lot of your statuses, that’s just the petty sixteen-year-old in me. I really do like what you are saying. That little green monster just gets in my way.

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Category: Kids

Tags: combined family