I’m at the grocery store. The baby is crying. The big kids are arguing over who gets to steer the cart. The oldest one is begging for Pop Tarts, and while I’m explaining that they need to lay off the sugar, the middle child knocks over a pyramid of apples. Now two kids are crying and I’m trying to stay calm and keep my composure. I’m doing a great job. I’ve got this. Just when I start to feel really good about how well I’m handling this comedy of errors, some old lady looks over at me with a sympathetic sigh…
“You’ve got your hands full, don’t you?”
Seriously?? My first instinct is to tell her to f*ck off. But since that’s not an appropriate way to treat your elders, I kindly smile, fake laugh, and say, “Yep, I sure do.”
It’s funny how people love to pry into the details of other peoples’ reproductive realities. These days,
- If you have a child before 25, you’re too young, irresponsible, and destined for failure.
- If you don’t have kids by the time you reach your late 20s (or won’t be having kids at all for any personal reason), you will be perpetually reminded of your ticking clock. This insensitive comment is usually innocent. But if you’re one that asks this, please think twice. There could be 100 reasons, none of which are your business.
- If you have one, and that one is getting too old, people can’t help but to ask when you’ll be providing your child with a sibling. That’s your responsibility, right?
- If you have one boy and one girl, your life is perfect. Congrats! Well done!
- But if you have two of the same gender, the question remains.. Are you still going to try for that boy? (Or girl?)
- And then there’s my reality… If you have three (or more) kids, wow! You have defied the odds. Get used to backhanded compliments about your hands being full. Also… people you know and people you don’t know become inappropriately comfortable questioning you with what seems to be their biggest fear. With strange hesitation in their voices and a facial expression that’s like curiosity meeting terror, amusement, and (whatever is the opposite of envy)….
Can you relate? Pin it!
“Are you DONE or are you going to have more?” Let’s talk about that.
Throughout the past decade or so, I’ve been the subject of all of the above (except #2, I had my first when I was 23). For me, family making decisions are quite big and personal, so I do my best to avoid these questions. Frankly, I’ve felt full and complete after each child, have had awful pregnancies, and am not exactly Mary Poppins, so I’ve been known to answer all of the above statements (after one, after two, and now after three) with “I’m done.” (Because that’s nicer than saying “mind your own business.”)
Honestly I never knew I wanted more until I knew, and even then, it was more exciting to keep it between me and Boca Super Dad.
But today is a special day. I am inviting you into our personal space with an announcement about the future of our family!
Thanks to a quick outpatient procedure for Boca Super Dad, we are officially (really) done. Take that, inquisitive minds! I bet you thought I was going to say I’m pregnant again. Tricked you! Our little family is truly complete. It feels crazy and finite to say that, particularly as we are horrible planners and prefer to stay loose with our statements about plans for the future, but I’m very content and just feel lucky to have this amazing little family.
But for the record, I’ve shared this at my own will. When I was ready, and without you asking. There’s a point to all of this. There are reasons behind the constructs of different families. Some we choose, some that are surprises, some that break our hearts because we’d do anything to have it another way. While I know most people are well-intended with their questions, think before you speak, please. Unless someone choses to open the conversation, whether or not, or when, or how someone has children, is a personal matter and should not be subject to the opinions, judgements, or even curiosity of anyone else.
If you need to make small talk and reproduction is the first thing that comes to mind, here are a few other topics that work well instead… The weather, the Cubs (insert any recent sports event), politics (yes, even that is better), or what you did last weekend. All of these are great substitutes.
With that piece of advice, I’m out.