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Responses to unwelcome questions

Discussion in 'Tilted Life and Sexuality' started by genuinemommy, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    From an early age, we're taught some basic social math: Man + Woman = Kids, right? But then, there you are in what is perceived as the prime years for fertility. You have a life partner. You're financially stable. You're happy with your life. For whatever reason, there aren't children. Maybe it's by choice. Maybe it's an illness. Personal or practical, it really doesn't matter what the reason is. It is what it is. You're ok with it, or maybe you're not. In any case, it's not something you really want to discuss. But it seems to be an endless point of confusion for those around you. They ask stupid questions.

    "Why don't you have any kids?"
    "When are you two thinking of starting a family?"
    "Don't you want to be a parent? You're going to be a great mom/dad."

    What unwelcome questions do you face?
    How do you respond?
    Please share any stories or advice.

    I know I'm not the only one who fields these uncomfortable questions.
    I often have a difficult time finding the right answer. Something short, quick, and overall positive. Preferably something to make people laugh, but definitely a phrase that will end their train of thought and redirect the conversation.

    Why don't you have any kids?
    Response 1) Do you have any idea how much one of those costs?
    2) Those little things? They're kind of smelly and gross, don't you think?
    3). We do. They're just not human. Here's a photo of Cinnabunny, Gunner, and our Baby. (rabbit and hamsters)

    When are you planning on starting a family?
    Response 1) We did. 4 years ago. When we got married. We are a family. We're just a really small one. There are only two of us.
    2) 4 years ago. Yep. That was a nice plan. Hasn't really worked out for us the way we expected.

    You'll be such a good parent.
    Response 1) Ha! You're too kind, but you must not know me very well.
    2) That's sweet of you to say, but God apparently doesn't agree.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  2. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    Yeah, we've gotten these questions from time to time. If it's someone we have to be polite with, like one of Mrs. Levite's congregants, then we usually say something vaguely evasive and somewhat brittle, like the sorts of things you've listed. But if it's just some jackass we randomly encounter at the store or something (yes, people will randomly talk to over-30 couples without children in all kinds of places), we both default to sarcastic, snarky retorts.

    I think my favorite was, right before we started IVF, some intrusive bitch at the supermarket with two babies in a double stroller asked my wife why we didn't have any kids yet, and Mrs. L fired back, "It seems like my womb refuses to accept his seed. We have sex all the time: he takes me like a stallion in heat, but nothing happens. Do you think we should stop doing anal?"

    The look she got back was absolutely priceless.

    The chutzpah of people is sometimes not to be believed. Honestly, asking those kinds of questions! It sucks to be on the receiving end of them, and the only thing you can do is keep breathing. But believe me, you completely have my sympathy.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
  4. Hektore

    Hektore Slightly Tilted

    It doesn't stop just because you have one either:

    When are you going to have another?
    You're only going to have one?!
    Why would you foster/adopt when you can have kids of your own?

    People outside the bubble I tell to worry about their own damn family and let me worry about mine. Inside the bubble it's pretty much the same only in a more polite tone and restricted vocabulary.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  5. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    My husband and I have had to deal with a lot of this. We're nearing 30 and still don't have children. I'm okay with that. While I want children someday, now is not the time--neither of us are settled in our careers, and we don't have the economic resources to support a child. Luckily, our family seems to understand our position. It did take a lot of explaining, patience, and sticking to my guns, but most family members seem to have gotten the message. Most. There is still one exception.

    Honestly, when people ask me why we don't have kids, I offer up a rather long-winded explanation that makes them regret they ever asked. Having studied human development, I offer up studies and statistics that support my position. When they argue back that I should have children before I'm 35, I point out that with proper screening, women can successfully have children well into their 40s. I also have several fun anecdotes about older mothers that I know to add to the length of my explanation. ;) Depending on who asks, I may go for the deliberate overshare, just to make them uncomfortable: "Well, I have the Mirena IUD. When it's done, then we're going to talk about having children."

    My opening sallies are similar to yours, genuinegirly. Why haven't we started a family yet? Well, you do know that according to people who actually study families, we are a family unit. Children aren't a necessary part of that arrangement, you know. Why don't we have any children? Well, because I feel it's incredibly irresponsible to bring a child into this world without having all the resources necessary to do so--financially, emotionally, and socially. Personally, I only have social resources presently. I have seen too many people struggle with their children and resent their children because they weren't prepared to be parents. I'm not willing to put my own child through that. I'll be such a good parent? Well, sure, maybe after I give up the drinking and smoking. :D
  6. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member

    We don't have kids and are in our early/mid 30s, so we get the kids one too. My wife usually feels compelled to tell people we've decided to probably not have any. She's too nice not to explain herself to almost anyone who asks about anything. I'm constantly trying to help her understand that she doesn't owe most people an explanation on anything, especially personal matters. The hardest one on her is the "well you must not like kids then" or "some people just don't have a maternal instinct", when neither of those are anywhere close to the truth.

    I'm more of the type to reply with something like "Well that's kind of a personal/nosy question, isn't it?!?" and flip the script on them. I have no problem telling people to butt out of my business. :p
    • Like Like x 1
  7. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    My wife & I get them from her parents all the time.
    Then when we say we are going to try to have kids, they turn right around and question that.

    Can't win for losing, as they say...

    While I tried intially to plan things according to logic.
    I've finally come to point of taking the "Idiocracy" approach.
    If it doesn't happen, then so be it. If it does, great...damn the consequences. STFU, let us live our lives.

    If a multitude of people throughout the ages can have kids in any way, shape or form...thru a infinite amount of circumstances.
    Then we can do it too, why not...I'm not going to fuck them up any more than any other moron or asshole.
    And I'd like to think I'm not a moron or an asshole...

    Are there going to be problems?...sure, but you can be healthy, rich & wise...and still have problems.
    Problem with people is that they want it all, whatever their pretty little heads are thinking of that moment in time.

    Step one, explain what's up calmly to those asking and what you'd like. (they should be happy with that)
    Step two, if there is doubt...essentially say, Fuck off.

    If they have a problem after that, then that's their problem...not mine.
    And that's exactly my point.

    The only thing I care about is keeping my job, paying the bills, staying healthy...everything else after that is semantics.
  8. SirLance

    SirLance Death Therapist

    Ditto. Ain't nobody's business. But I'm a smartass and would probably say something like "Well, as long as we're asking personal, intrusive questions, is your wife good in bed?"

    I have 4 young''ns. I might ask someone if they'd like a couple....
  9. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I'm usually diplomatic.

    It depends on the context. For example, this past weekend I got the "where do you get your protein?" from my mother. She followed up with iron and electrolytes (seriously, and this from someone who has taken a course in nutrition). My answer was: plants. If it was someone else, I may have taken the time to explain, but it was my mother. She should know better. I think her problem is more that I'm doing something based on principle required discipline, which is more than what can be said by pretty much anyone in my family. (Just as one example, if you 've seen their diets....wow...they shouldn't worry about me; they'd be much better off if they emulated me.)

    My SO and I used to get a lot of the "when are you having kids?" from my family. This followed the "when are you getting married?" they used to give us. They've since given up on both. We're both nearly 36 and have been together for nearly 12 years. If marriage and children were in the plan, it would have happened by now. At this point, if we were to have a kid, it would be delivered by an adoption agency, and we still wouldn't likely be married. I have 7.5 nieces and nephews, and my SO has 2. That gets both sets of parents off our backs, I think. It helps, I'm sure.

    Now whenever I get the question about kids, I usually respond: "Kids? Pfft, I can barely look after myself. Are you kidding me?"
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  10. greywolf

    greywolf Slightly Tilted

    There is a difference in getting those questions from your close family/friends and others. Your parents actually have a vested interest in you, and certainly would have in your offspring. Your close friends will be interested because the majority of married couples or long-term committed couples generally head that way. It is a fairly innocuous question asked once by someone close to you. But they should, must, respect your one-time answer that it is not something you want to discuss with them. Going beyond that puts them in the category of casual acquaintances asking the same thing. The response to that should be an icy stare and a flat response of "Why do you ask?" And for those brazen enough to say because they'd like to know, an equally flat "We hadn't planned to keep any children secret."

    You do not owe these people the favour of discussing your reproductive habits/goals any more than you owe them an explanation of your religious or political beliefs. All those fall under the heading of Your Own Personal Affairs.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member

    That reminds me of one of my other favorite responses. 'A kid? It took us over 11 years to decide we were responsible enough to get a DOG!'
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
    Except for that one time at the bar when you got hit on by the waitress and then that old lady bumped into you. Yeah, you remember:

    I was pretend married again a few days back. The Realtor wanted to know when the "wife" (current woman) and I were moving in and fucked up all the forms by giving her my last name. Talk of how the bedrooms would be utilized for potential offspring was amusing. No, no baby will be in the other bedroom... just my home office. At no point did the woman or I try to correct her. It's just easier to pretend to be like everybody else sometimes.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  13. laconic1

    laconic1 New Member

    I'm the only son in my family so my dad's questions were particularly annoying. He expects me to be a pimp, when in reality I am the not-gettin-none anti-pimp so that made it worse. His questioning would usually be something along the line of "Son, you DO realize that if you don't have a son the family name dies with you right? You don't want that to happen do you?" Now I personally consider having a kid just to maintain the family name to be absolutely the stupidest possible reason there is to bring a child into this world, but I try to be diplomatic. My response was usually along the lines of "I don't want kids, and even if I did have kids I'd probably end up having a bunch of daughters and the family name would still die."
    Another uncomfortable question I get asked about is my career. Those are harder to answer as well. Ever since I graduated college I have not been able to land the type of job that creates a solid career path. Questions like "are you still looking for a real job?" "what are you doing working in a place like this, you are better than this" come up. I never have much of an answer for those.
  14. spindles

    spindles Very Tilted

    Sydney, Australia
    I can't believe how early the baby questions happen. I got asked at my wedding when we were planning to have kids. It wasn't exactly top of mind at that stage.
  15. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    What are you talking about, we're STILL not responsible enough to have a dog...
    My eldest beagle has more sense than me.

    But a kid? Those are easy.
    Just put them in school, right?? :rolleyes:
  16. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus

    Frankfurt, Germany
    Why the hell are you in Afghanistan? It's a failed country.
    1) Meh.
    2) Moo.
    3) Trying to do something for the benefit of the nation, especially since I have the ability to do so.

    Hah. You're just there for the money anyway.
    1) Whatever makes you happy.
    2) Let's disagree!
    3) Not really, but I can't convince you otherwise unless I directly show you what I do, which I'm not going to do.

    I have more responses to those questions since I get asked those ones a lot.

    Are you interested in this/that security/procurement/construction/logistics/printing services project?
    1) No.
    2) Sorry, but I'll have to decline. I'm financially tied up in a bunch of other projects already, otherwise I'd love to. Thanks for the offer, though. Hopefully the next project that comes along can be cooperated on.

    (In Afghanistan, everyone asks you to do a project with them for the big money. The hassle that almost always comes with working together with people you are not very familiar with is really, really, really not worth it.)
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Freetofly

    Freetofly Diving deep into the abyss Donor

    I don't like the questions that at political, my family is so republican, the husband is a democrat.
    I feel like people want to kick my ass because I just dont' give a fuck. I'm so tired of the fighting in the family, so I don't say anything.
  18. Daniel_

    Daniel_ The devil made me do it...

    I'm not good at subtle. When we started being asked about having a baby, I just flat out told people we were trying, and that it hadn't happened yet.

    When people ask why we don't have one through IVF, I ask them to give me £10,000. Tends to shut them up.
    • Like Like x 3
  19. Bear Cub

    Bear Cub Goes down smooth.

    Not a big fan of the "when are you two getting married" talks, especially when you're amidst a nightmare of custodial issues and constantly teetering on the edge of it coming to an end.
  20. AlterMoose

    AlterMoose Slightly Tilted

    Several years ago, we started getting bombarded with 'When are you having kids?' by about a hundred well-meaning old people at church. My wife started answering 'when you stop asking.' It took a little while, but eventually we were left the hell alone about parenthood. And then we had our first child.
    Of course, then we got to start fielding 'your life is going to change more than you know' in this creepy, ominous tone from a bunch of people....