If You’re Mom to Only One Child You’re Still a Mom
Before you have children, parents make a point to tell you you just don't understand what having a kid is like. Then when you have your first kid, all the parents of more than one tell you you don't understand what it's like because you only have one. And while it is true that having two, four, or twelve kids is different than being the parent of an only, you should never let anyone make you feel like you're not as much of a parent as they are, and here's why.
Having a child makes you a mom. Full stop.
And by have, I don't just mean in your possession now or that you gave birth to. You're also a mother if you had a stillbirth or had a child that died after birth. Being a parent is about feeling that simultaneous all-consuming love for your children and total panic. Moms of one child experience this just as much as moms of more.
Having a child is a huge life change.
Going from no kids to one kid is a major thing. It completely shifts your perspective on the entire world, not to mention your priorities. That first transition is hard, and while there's still definitely some growing pains and learning experiences as you add children, it's really just one more little person to keep track of and feed. If you're ever feeling less than for having one child, remember: parents of more than one can't reliably call them by their correct names.
Having “just” one isn't easier.
If you're going just by the math, sure, having more kids means you have a greater demand on your time and mental/emotional energy than a mom of “just” one, but this isn't algebra. Every child is different. They have their own personalities, annoyances, and quirks, and it's really just the luck of the draw on whether you get an “easy” or “challenging” child. If you have two children who are naturally quiet, sleep well, and are reasonably low conflict, you're likely going to have it “easier” than a mom of one high-need, dramatic, intense, independent child.
So whether you're the mom of one feeling like you're not quite as much of a parent as someone with multiple children or you're the mom of more laughing at how easy the singleton mom has it, stop it. Seriously. We're all just trying to do the best we can and get out kids to adulthood needing only minimal therapy.