Remember the days before advanced digital photography? That’s when my first child was born.


The picture is a bit dark, but it’s hard to miss this sweet little one. With his Gerber baby lips, soft dark hair and rosy cheeks, this child changed my existence. His birth was rather traumatic, and the moment he was born, he had only a heartbeat. Not breathing on his own, blue in color. Yet God used the nurses to mercifully keep him alive, no damage done.  

Those first few months were a delightful yet overwhelming time, figuring out nursing (I almost quit), sleeping schedules (or lack thereof) and how to manage our new life with a newborn.

Now, nine years and three more children later, our home is full of boisterous laughter, sibling squabbles (let’s be honest here), and lots of hugs, kisses and messes.

But you know what? Even as I look around my home and see what joy I have been blessed with in my life, I think: I wish I could go back to having only one child.

Do you ever wish you could start over with motherhood? Go back to the beginning and cherish the moments that have flown by or do things differently? One mom looks back on the past nine years and shares why she wishes she could go back to having only one child and what she thinks of motherhood now.

“Why wouldn’t I want my other children?”, you might wonder. No, it’s not like that. 

It’s like this:

I wish I could go back to having only one child, because now he’s growing up. I didn’t cherish the little moments like I could have. I was always waiting impatiently for him to get to the next stage, ever eager for him to reach another milestone. To sleep better or not have to be carried around as much, or be able to talk. Now I find myself grasping at those moments with my one-year-old, only to have them quickly fly by as she grows too fast.

The 16 month old, Lydia, flying down the hall as she runs playfully from her brother.

I wish I could go back to having only one child, because life was really so simple with only one. At the time, I arrogantly felt that I must have things so hard! And I guess I did, relatively speaking. As a new mom, life is so different compared to what it was before. 

But truly, now that I have four, I can see that this is where it starts to be the crazy life! And I love it! But it makes one very thankful for grace ;)

The craziness of trying to get 4 kids in a picture all at once!
The craziness of trying to get 4 kids in a picture all at once!

I wish I could go back to having only one child, because I made mistakes. While it’s true that we learn from those mistakes, it’s still a bit cringe-worthy how I handled new motherhood sometimes. And yet, perhaps I am who I am because of those early, messy situations.

Thankfully, when I look at my 9 year old and see the thoughtful, compassionate and hard-working boy he is becoming, I think that somewhere along the way God used our imperfect efforts to parent in a good way. I feel this way about my 6 and 3 year olds as well….so glad they are still somewhat “small”.

Leah’s 6th birthday at grandma & grandpa’s house

I wish I could go back to having only one child, because I know now that I don’t know everything. Sadly, for a time I was one of those judgmental moms who thought I had it all figured out. The more children I have, the more I realize that’s not at all true. Perhaps you know what I mean! And it’s okay to have convictions about certain aspects of motherhood, but I’m learning to give grace and recognize that my way isn’t the only way. Instead, I see God’s faithfulness shown to us over the years. I wish I would have appreciated that more–and given my children more grace.

I still get a soft smile on my face when I travel wistfully back in time to those first weeks and months of being a new mom. They were most certainly precious, something to be cherished. To be looked upon with the understanding that life changes so quickly and all we can do is embrace it, fully, learning from each moment, as time marches on.

Our three year old, Jude, when he was a month old.

How about you: How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your motherhood journey? Are there things you wish you could go back to if you had the chance?

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10 Comments on Why I Wish I Could Go Back to Only Having One Child

  1. I so got this, and have often felt guilty wishing I could go back and change things, not because I don’t love all of my kids, because I do, but because when I had one I thought things were so hard and that I could figure everything out, when in reality, it was pretty simple and I knew nothing. Beautiful post!

  2. So true…time flies by. I couldn’t wait for my first child to do everything and experience everything. Now I just want to freeze time for a few minutes.

  3. I’m a a first child, and I was an only child until my 2nd birthday. My mom still talks about how she would just hold me as a sleeping infant, staring at me and trying to memorize everything about that feeling because she knew it would be gone all too fast. She would never leave me alone in a room, not even if I was sleeping in a swing–she’d carry the swing around the house with her everywhere she went.
    I have 6 little siblings–mom never again really had the luxury of being focused on just little one, but she’s always said that she treasured every moment of that time.

    • Your mom definitely had a lot of foresight in that! That’s so awesome that she took the time to cherish those moments :)

  4. Great post! I am definitely feeling this as I have a 2 week old, a 3-year-old, and a 6-year-old. Now that I don’t have a choice I wish I could carry this baby in my arms constantly, be awake in the quiet still moments with him all night, and nurse for hours on end. But life moves too fast with many kiddos and I can just grasp at those fleeting moments with my new guy!

    • Thank you Lacey. You are definitely very busy and I agree, it is hard to grab those moments with more than one child! When we are aware of it though, like you are, I think that gives an advantage. Blessings to you!

  5. I feel the same way sometimes! The days may seem so long, but the years really do FLY by. I’m trying to stop and savor more, which doesn’t always come so easily for me. And I’m learning with each new mothering step that I can’t do it in my own strength… but that God has grace for all my failures!

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