Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Dealing With: Do You Have Kids? July 27, 2010

Last weekend I was invited to a dinner party along with some people I’d never met before. There were five couples, including us, four of whom had children, so I knew that at some point in the evening, someone would ask the question: Do you have kids?

In the past I would have squirmed and mumbled something apologetic, such as, “Um, no, unfortunately not,” and been given the “ah, poor thing” look. But thanks to you, dear readers, I was armed and dangerous this time.

When the woman asked me, I smiled and said, “I have a cat and a fish.”

She did give me a look, but not the sympathy look. She was utterly bewildered for a moment, repeated “a cat and a fish” with no question mark, and when I didn’t elaborate, she promptly changed the subject.

It was great!! So great that I’m seriously considering keeping photos of both my cat and my goldfish in my wallet so that I can whip them out and proudly show them off next time anyone asks.

So, thank you for all the ideas about how to handle this sticky situation. If you have more suggestions of how to answer the dreaded question, please keep them coming.

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12 Responses to “Dealing With: Do You Have Kids?”

  1. Alicia Says:

    Good for you!! I keep my dachshund pictures in my phone, ready to show anyone who will look at them, because to me they are my children. I always answer that type of question with “We have two dachshunds, Guinness & Luna”

  2. Cari Says:

    Ha! Love it, my standard answer is “yes, i have 3 dogs and 3 cats…” the subject usually changes pretty quickly after that!!

  3. Loved this! You were absent of apology.

    For me, I just say, “No it didn’t work put for us.” This removes the elephant in the living room-which is easier for me.

    Pictures sound great!

  4. cher Says:

    this is great! i have one of those purses that people put pictures of their kids in…except mine have pictures of our mice and our toad. people do not know what to say, but I do not get asked the question, “do you have kids?” anymore!

  5. Kel Says:

    This newly married thing of mine is causing a resurgence of this question, I have been hit with “maybe you will be blessed”…maybe I should take it as a compliment…how old do they think I am anyway? LOL.

    Last dinner party – I tried a firm “No” with no explanation and a big smile.

    Doesn’t someone have a short cut answer for “No I don’t have kids, I’m happy and healthy so please don’t look at me as if I have an affliction”.

    LOL – my husband was asked this by some strangers at which he looked forlornly at me and told them he wanted me to have a baker’s dozen of ’em but I just wouldn’t go for it.

  6. lmanterfield Says:

    Thanks ladies. So glad to hear of all those wallet photos! 🙂

    Kel, my brother once inadvertently gave me a great answer. When I told him we planned to have kids, he said, “Why? You have a great life.” (He has 3 wonderful grown children and is a great dad, and I know he wouldn’t swap that for anything, but he’s also given up a lot in his life.) At the time my feelings were kind of hurt, but as time ticks on, I realize he’s right. I’m not quite ready to use it as a response yet, but you’re certainly welcome to borrow it.

    • Kel Says:

      LOL, leave it to the brother for such a simple genuine comment. I believe I will borrow it, thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. happynenes Says:

    Owch. That’s a good one. Someday when I’m feeling particularly full of chutzpah, I will use that.

    When my patients ask me this question, I say… Three! Two cats and one BIG kid. (Wink) The one I married.

    I think my husband would forgive me for the teasing. He married this BIG kid after all. Anyway, I usually get at least a laugh and an eye roll… and then we’re on to talk about husbands.

  8. Emily Says:

    LOL, I think that is fantastic. My husband whips out his phone at shows pics of our two dogs whenever he can.

  9. CactusHeart Says:

    I make it a point to keep myself well-armed at all times because I get approached with that alot, especially now that I’m 30, and know that every year I get older will make the last one look easy. The last time I was asked if I had kids, inside I flinched, like I always do…because I KNOW it’s NEVER as simple as saying “no”. Nooo… Now starts that same tired old dance “you don’t have kids?” “Why?” What’s wrong with you?” “Are you infertile?” And no answer other than “yes I have/want kids” is going to satisfy them, so they start branding me with (inaccurate) labels “Oh, you must hate kids”, “you’re selfish”, etc. etc. etc. blah, effing BLAH!!!! I’m TIRED of having to go through this OVER AND OVER! I WISH there were a snappy “shortcut” answer that shuts em up! The last time I got asked, I got fed up of having yet one more conversation turn into a witch trial and, with all the acting skills I could muster gave a bewildered expression and replied “HAVE KIDS??? Now WHY on earth would I go do a thing like THAT???” That shocked expression on that couple was PRICELESS *lmao*! They were SO NOT expecting to hear THAT. I think the guy even stifled a chuckle *lol* HAH! 8.P

  10. CactusHeart Says:

    Oh yeah, and if you really feel like you get asked too much, or rained down upon with too many judgements or other stupidly thoughtless, insensitive bullcrap (by SUPPOSEDLY “sensitive” “loving” people, like you’re made to believe parents ARE), make some lemonade out of it and play “breeder bingo” *lol* -> http://www.happilychildfree.com/bingo.htm

    I’ve not only bingo-ed both my cards, I already BLOCKED BOTH OF THEM OUT A LONG TIME AGO! *lmao*

  11. CactusHeart Says:

    One more thing: A truly effective shut-em-upper is to counter their rude, intrusive question/statement with an equally rude, intrusive question/statement. I demonstrate:

    Moo: “So, when are you going to have kids?”

    Me: “Oh, I don’t know…I was thinking about the time you decide to get a nosejob.”

    That’s not a move I often pull… It may LOOK otherwise, but doing that DOES weigh on my conscience, even if that thoughtless idiot had it coming! *lmao* Only when I feel backed into a corner and I need the conversation shut down NOW. That’s an “emergency-stop” move, for sure *lmao*


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