lamiki

on life, ambitions, and dreams

Flower

Today is Sunday

Good Breakfast... Flickr krug6Sundays are days of rest. Days when we sleep in, giggle each other awake, and crawl to get pancakes and do things regular people do, like go grocery shopping, do laundry, and clean.

As we waved to our neighbor this afternoon while carrying 80 pounds of cat litter into the house, he asked if the race season was over. The race season is something that devours the majority of our weekends and “spare” time. My husband shouted, “Yep, now we have more time to take care of the house!” Our neighbor laughed. God, I’m sure he hates the fact that our yard looks like Jurassic Park. And when he walks his dog, he cautiously looks over our fence, scouting for Velociraptors.

Today we were domestic, and it felt good. We even hosted a group of friends and played board games over lasagna and wine. These are friends who have known my husband for our entire life together, and they all have or are having babies.

Lately, when someone I know learns that I have a husband, it surprises them. I’m not sure why as I have some very sparkly diamonds that I wear on a very specific finger and don’t hide. After their shock wanes, their next question is, “Do you have—” or “When are you having kids?” It’s as though by telling them that I am legally attached to a man means that the next logical step is to take over the world, one teeny-tiny baby at a time. Otherwise what’s the point of getting married in the first place, right?

This opens a can of worms and sparks internal dialogue. What I really want to ask them, but never do, is “Why do you want to know?”

There are a few reasons why they’ve jumped to ask me this question:

  1. They are curious about my life and genuinely care about me
  2. They only believe people are married to have kids
  3. They think married people who don’t have kids are weird and hate kids
  4. They think married people are weird, period.

Thinking more about the situation, this question is generally asked when I’m in the “getting to know you phase” with someone. Therefore, people who fall into the #1 category will generally not ask this question because they care and they know that the question of to procreate or not procreate (not practice, mind you) is a personal question, because it is.

The reason why a person asks this question tells more about the place that person is in their life and what their own views are, than it does about me.

Photo Credit: Krug6

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  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more – I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been asked about when we’re having kids (we’re not) and the sheer disbelief when I tell them it’s not really something we intend to do. You don’t go around asking people upon first meeting them about their sexuality or criticizing their religious beliefs (at least not any decent human, anyway), so the preference for or against children should be no different!

    • After your series last spring, I was hoping you’d stop by. Thank you, Lindsey.

  • Brianne

    For plenty of folks, it’s a simple white noise type question. Small talk of small persons. “Do you have kids” isn’t a big deal question. “Why don’t you have kids” IS a big deal. I deal with well-meaning Mom friends all the time when they find out Shannon is an only. “Oh? Why don’t you have more?” I’m still looking for the most polite way to say “none of your dang business” … I’ve been met with a few really persistent types that aren’t put off by “One was right for us.” Even mentioning to one that I’ve had miscarriages (trying to make the nosy woman feel uncomfortable for asking) was only met by an offer for an adoption referral. I didn’t even know the woman’s name, just that she was another mom in the dance lobby I saw every week while I sat in the corner and read my book. I really need to stop being so polite.nHugs,nBriannenn(Oh, and as to why else to get married, everyone KNOWS it’s not to take over the world with teeny tiny ones, but to change your last name. An acquaintance of mine was totally shocked to discover that for a time, I was considering keeping my maiden name. I believe the quote was “If you don’t love him enough to change your name, you’re making a mistake getting married.” Wow, I had to check my calendar for what decade it was.)

    • Great distinction between asking “do” (clarify a fact) and “why” (explain your actions/reasoning/etc/.) nnThe conversation about changing your last name is a big topic. I had a hard time deciding as well and it was a decision that was very important to John (didn’t think about his perspective on it at all). Luckily for me, my sister married a man who shared her maiden name but not family ties, so the name is still in the family 🙂 nnWould love to know, why did you consider keeping your maiden name?

  • Kari J

    I would just like to mention that I have been married for 11 years and have never wanted children. When we were first married we were told we were young and would change our minds, and that it is gods will that we pro-create. The longer we have been married the less we are asked about our desire to have children. My friends and family all kind of get a chuckle out of thinking about us with kids since it has been no secret about our desire to have kids. Don’t get me wrong, we like kids and we love being aunts and uncles. Kevin, my husband is great with the kids and they love him. We just don’t want to have kids 24/7. The multiple animals in our house creates a zoo enough!

  • Kelley P.

    Marrying at 19 and then waiting for nearly 15 years to have children allowed many to share their comments and opinions. Most of the time, I considered they were just being curious and at worst, were trying to put their own values onto my choices. I’ve found that much of what makes me bristle when people ask those types of questions is my *own* questioning of my choices. And now, as long as I feel confident in my choices, the best defense of those types of personal questions is a cheeky reply. If they still don’t ‘get it’, they’re not worth it. nnSounds like it was an incredible Sunday. 🙂

    • I’ve found that most of the times when people ask questions on subjects similar to this or give advice in general it’s because they’re responding to what’s going on with you through their own lens. It’s rare to get unbiased feedback because everyone brings what is happening in their own life to conversations they have in their life. That’s why we’re human, have thoughts, memories, ideas, opinions, etc. (Wordy, but hopefully you get the idea).nnSpeaking of questioning your own choices, you should read yesterday’s post about justifying yourself, speaks to what you’re saying: http://lamiki.com/2010/11/make-no-excuses/

      • Kelley P.

        In my experience, rarely is there unbiased feedback. Everyone is always looking at life through their own lenses. There may be less emotional feedback, or less opinionated feedback, but generally, all feedback has a bias to it. It helps when making big choices in life to take all feedback into consideration, and then when these types of questions come up, one can answer powerfully, unequivocally, and in no uncertain terms. nnIn these types of personal questions, the “asker” can hear the uncertainty in “askee’s” response and what we think might be us being annoyed because it’s personal might really just us being uncertain about our own reasons. I guess the question to ask oneself is “why does their question bother me?” rather than “why are they asking me that? It’s none of their business!”. nnA powerful but polite answer does wonders at stopping the direction of the convo. Likewise, being honest about the considerations one has taken in choosing their course can open up an incredibly enlightening convo about the other person and what it looks like in their world. One’s new best friend could be waiting behind a seemingly personal question.

  • Jessica S

    I almost think there could be a #5. coming from someone who has a small child, we like to know if our friends plan to have kids so we can have play dates! Not that we wont be friends with them anymore or think badly of them if they choose not to or are just not ready to have children, but out of simple curiousity if there could be a budding friendship amoungst our youngsters in the future. rnI could go on and on and on and about this topic as well, but I wont. The simple fact for us is we wanted a child, it took us a while to get said child, he is here and we plan to have no more. We as well get the ever annoying question as to when is number 2 coming and we get the “you will change your mind” when we say we arent having more. It drives me nuts. No one really understands why people make the choices they do when it comes to starting a family and its none of their business sometimes. But as I said above, I typically ask my married friends that dont yet have kids if they want to have them at some point in their lives, and if they say no or yes it doesnt change my personal opinion what so ever. rn

    • That fits under #1 I think :)nnMost of the time friends with kids are asking us because they want playmates as well. John and I just giggle and I say that we’re going to let their kids get big enough and be the troublemakers — or the babysitters for our kidlets. Thanks for the comment, Jess. And I think I’m guilty of asking you about kid #2 as well.

  • “giggle each other awake”nnBest four words I’ve read in weeks. Well written, Laura.

    • Thank you, Sam. That was one of my favorite lines, too.

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