March 15, 2011

So, Do You Want More Kids?

Subtitle: Reason #4385 to love Tina Fey.

Tina, who graces the cover of this month's InStyle, had the most clever response I've heard yet to an age old question: Do you want more children? (There's usually a "when" in there somewhere, too.)

Her response, and I can just picture her saying this with a straight face, was: "If you're asking me to do that with you, I cannot." So clever!

Because, truly, what is the appropriate answer when a complete stranger, in this case one with every intention of publishing your response word for word for the consumption of millions, asks you such a personal thing?

Don't get me wrong; I don't think it's inappropriate to talk about your family or your plans. Friends, sisters, playgroup pals - this conversation can come up on its own with many people.

Fellow grocery shoppers, moms waiting with you in the pediatrician's office, receptionists at your place of business - these are the folks who tend to be the most curious and shamelessly direct.

Asking away in your little corner of the world may be kosher, but prying into the the private matters of a stranger? Not the best way to make friends.

You never know what struggles someone has with this issue, how they really feel, what they want and what they may or may not envision coming next for their family. And the truth is, you don't need to. But somehow, the topic tends to be brought up by the people who least need to know such personal details. (And I don't just mean reporters.)

Shortly after B proposed, a colleague's wife asked when we wanted to have children. (My answer: "Probably after we're married?") She followed this up by asking a friend sitting next to me, at that time quite pregnant with her first, when she wanted to have a second. Head-spinning.

Post-baby, I first heard this question when Mac was less than a month old. My timeline for having another baby was quite fuzzy, to say the least, considering my timeline for getting through the day changed moment by moment.

Hats off to Ms. Fey for putting a punchline to an answer many of us struggle with when asked. Truth be told, I'm happy to say, "We hope Mac will be a big brother one day." When pressed for further details, though, I'm glad to have a witty and disarming comeback in my back pocket.

So, friends, what do you say when people (or reporters, if you're one of the many famous folks who read this blog) ask intrusive, if well-meaning, questions?

8 comments:

Brooke said...

Everyone assumes we are "done" with our boy/girl twins. When people ask me if we want more I just say "oh yes, if the Lord allows! We hope for a big family".

Whitney said...

I can TOTALLY relate to the "having a 1 month old" with people asking if we want more! And my answer is, "YES, but not ANYTIME soon!" But in general, when people ask too-intrusive questions, I take a deep breath, and then give a WAY too-detailed answer! A little taste of their own medicine ;)

Crown + Castle said...

I absolutely agree that it's so awkward when strangers ask this very personal question - and I get this question all the time when I am out with my 1 year old daughter.

I just smile and say, "why do you want to know?" This usually diffuses the situation without coming off as rude.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I loathe this question. Not from friends, but strangers. They have zero idea how hard it was just to get E and when I shy away from the question of more, they keep hounding with words such as "oh you have to give her a sibling!" and I usually remind them she has dogs. Oddly, that doesn't ever pacify them...

StratPack said...

Response in the nicest tone possible: "I would love to be able to tell you God's plans for our family, but only He knows, and right now, I'm so enjoying my family of three!"

Rowena said...

We say, "For us, right now, the motto is 'Cats, not kids.'"

Beth Messervy said...

jj and i share the same response: "when we're done paying off this one."

Kathy said...

I agree! Everyone says "you're done! you have one of each!" Oh, are we? Well, thanks for letting me know.

Love my babies more than life itself, and we'd be beyond blessed to have another! (and another?) :)

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