I know this is often asked with the purest of intentions. Or maybe someone was just trying to make conversation to get to know me better. This is not written towards those people who don’t know better – this is aimed at people whom I may love dearly that continue to ask these kinds of questions without thinking. Even after I have said my piece and ended the discussion with “Someday, but not right now.”
This is also for people who don’t know me personally and then will read a sentence or two of text online before jumping to conclusions and then judge me with the intensity of a thousand suns. Y’all gotta chill.
I’m sorry to report this to those who don’t have kids yet – the question about whether you’re having kids or not doesn’t seem to stop until maybe you get 3 or 4 of them. Then after that, you get comments about how you should stop having kids because 7 is too many. Hey, if that’s your thing, you do you! Why are these people so interested in your kids, anyway? They’re not the ones who will be paying for them.
Sydney Kleinman from Scary Mommy came up with some fantastic responses to this question, and I can still relate to how uncomfortable that pressure to procreate can be.
Sure, you can fumble around and find something polite to say back if this kind of question throws you off guard. I usually do this most of the time. But once in a while, I will resort to a death glare if the question is brought up one too many times.
Here are some of my favorite responses to use for three scenarios I usually face:
“You got grandkids money?”
Remember when you tried to convince your parents to go through a McDonald’s or something because you were hungry and got tired of the food at home? Well, the response above is perfect karma.
I love my mom. I also love my in-laws. Almost immediately after our wedding ceremony was finished, we got bombarded with this question, especially from the hopeful grandparent candidates.
This was probably most often done at this point in jest, but it really started to annoy me. I realize that there are some not-so-great expectations that guys have to deal with from society in general, but the one where I’m supposed to be in misery for several months and then experiencing permanent changes to my body? That’s a big deal to me. Not to mention the amount of time, money, and resources that will be needed to support such a great venture.
So if you catch me with a cup of ramen noodles, do NOT even go there.
“I have to focus on me for a bit.”
Sure, this one may make me seem selfish, but I think if you take anyone though the physical and emotional pains of labor, make them sleep deprived for several months, and give selflessly to a completely dependent being, I think even the most rational person would tap out from exhaustion.
People seem to forget sometimes that moms are people, too. We have needs to be met as well. I do a whole lot of “nothing” around the house that somehow manages to keep PJ safe and happy for another day. Just because the laundry or dishes didn’t get done doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard at work.
I was one of those women climbing the corporate America ladder before I fell pregnant. Work outside the home is important for me too (because money!) but when I returned to my job at the time, I was overloaded with breadwinner duty and baby duty. There was too much on my plate, and I crashed after trying to maintain everything for about 4 months straight. What I was doing was not sustainable for my health.
My career path has definitely changed up a bit since having PJ, but I believe the change has been for the better, even if it’s a bit delayed. However, I think a sibling for PJ should wait until I can take a few more steps in the direction where I want our family to go.
“Nah, I’m good.”
I realize this isn’t very easy to say in some cases, but it is OKAY to tell someone that kids are not your thing. You really don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. Like for me, I just don’t want another one right now. PJ is enough.
…No really, I just don’t want more right now. Maybe later.
Maybe. Now leave me be!