Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Controversial subject - what do you think ?

I posted this same subject on a Folksy forum some time ago and it sparked a huge reaction.

Many moons ago I was at a "do" with my hubby and I didnt know anyone.  We were seated at a table with about 10 - 12 people on it, so you get chatting to whoever is next to you.

The normal stuff, your name and what you do for a living, so on and so on.  Then the question that ALWAYS comes up "Do you have children?".  The answer is always the same "No", and that's when the conversation either stops dead or the person asking has no interest in speaking further.  I have found they either have nothing to talk about except their offspring or they are truly shocked that a couple can be happy without kids.  Can anybody tell me why on earth a childless person is viewed with suspicion or disbelief?  

Am I too busy with my career? (joke) erm no

Am I a lesbian? (no) Am I selfish? (no) Am I a child hater? (no), Is there anything physically wrong with me?  No. !
It's when the conversation then carries on to "why don't you have children, don't you like them?" (suspicion - possible child hater), "did your work get in the way"? (selfish), "even gay couples have children" (what?).  Maybe I should invent a child or two?

  I remember that one of the replies on Folksy was something like "to be honest I wouldn't know what else to talk to you about if you didn't have kids".   I have to say I found that quite sad and it begs the question why cant she talk about anything else?  

It's a strange one isn't it ?  I'm sure if I had kids I would talk about them (obviously), but I wouldn't ignore someone if they didn't.  

What do you think?



  1. Oh Rosa, you make me smile.. My sister & hubby do not have children, finally after 30yrs.or so of marriage, the topic is finally worn out.for most anyway. From my life experience, people cover topics that they are familiar with and are able to Make Intelligent ( or not) conversation out of.....This can help with what people you choose to give any effort to.
    I raised two children alone, and hidious at marriage, I love to talk to , clever, self sufficient, witty , non-condesending, creative, selfless individuals...I too get bored at parties.lol your fan....Debix

  2. Blimey! I can't believe you've experienced that! It's downright rude of those people not to try and find some common ground for starters, but also, whilst I am a mum, I'm really keen to keep my own life too! I want to talk about careers/hobbies/news/cars/holidays/embarrassing moments and comedy stories, even the X factor (!)but I'd go nuts if everything had to be child oriented!. There are some of us there, you need more dinners out to find us!

  3. this is only in your mind ...best to talk about abstract topics :-)))

  4. I think some women may feel uncomfortable when talking to a woman that unexpectedlyis childless - I think it may be because they are fearful that you may not have been able to have children and that they have stumbled onto painful ground??? That might be my fear, that I have caused pain in the same way that if I said 'are you married' and the woman said 'I am a widow' and I would worry that I had caused pain.

    The last thing I want to talk about is kids !!! YIKES!!

    That said, childlessness as a choice is an admirable life choice, I think it is becoming more and more common - I suppose traditionally it has not been the case = the discomfort!

    Me, I am lost if they don't have dogs! lol!

  5. That's an interesting one. I guess it might help if you said "no I don't have children because........" that way no one can assume anything. It's your choice. some people don't get married, some have pets, some have affairs, some have children and you wonder why because they obviously don't want them around. Ooh the list is endless. Whatever makes you happy x

  6. On a similar note, people with grandchildren are uncomfortable with the fact that I do not care about having grandchildren. Obviously i will love them if they come along but i don't want them in particular x

  7. It's a hard one. I wouldn't ignore you for not having children but going from being a full time employee to being a full time stay at home mum my experiences have changed. I have two children they occupy almost every waking and sleeping moment. (Right now the youngest is creating havoc in the corner while I am on here) I don't go out to the cinema or to dinner or anywhere really that doesn't somehow involve the boys. I still have lots of other stuff to talk about but the boys are the people I spend most time with so they are often in the conversation.
    I hope next time you are out people are not so rude. :o) xxx

  8. It's a damn less expensive and less worrying without kids and hey you get to do what you want. In this day and age the financial support does not even stop once they leave home!! That said, my two girls are lovely, although one did decide to clear off across the big pond. But, to be completely honest I could have easily gone either way - it just happened and then I felt guilty with just one - I know weird eh? But at gatherings I never really talked about them as there were many other subjects to talk about - not like my two sister-in-laws who seem to just live for their kids and grandkids - blah, blah, blah

  9. thank for for writing this! i am child free by choice and my take on it is that there is nothing that a child could add to my life that would compensate for the things i would have to give up to accommodate him/her. perhaps that makes me selfish but so what, i personally believe it's selfish to bring more humans into an already very over-populated world.

    my friends all have children and despite their assertions pre-child that they won't turn into baby bores, they all inevitably do because that is what their world revolves around. if i'm ever asked if i have kids i tend to reply 'no, i'm more of a dog person!' in fact i am very probably a dog bore because my two are my world and i genuinely can't imagine loving a human child more than i love my fur babies. i don't hate kids but i don't find them endlessly fascinating or even particularly interesting and i guess it's just as well-can you imagine how much more crowded planet earth would be if we all wanted to breed!

  10. Hello Rosa, Just wanted to say thanks for the comment on my blog, (about the comedy animals-doing-splits draught excluders! totally agree by the way!) but couldn't reply because you're set to no-reply on blogger profile. So I'm posting it here instead x

  11. Fortunately it's never happened to me - it's their loss if they have nothing else to talk about!
    Some people are 'tribal' and only seem happy in their 'group'.

  12. Great post and I remember the topic. Mine is grown up now but I can remember there being just me and one other lady at the school gates who were not the 'norm' and we stuck together chatting about all kinds of things but rarely the kids.
    Like some of the others always have been more of a dog bore, or any pets really. I have friends without children by choice, we always found plenty to chat about.
    Seems to me that these people were just rude in general.

  13. Hello Rosa, sorry, replying again here as I can't think of another way of contecting you! To change your blogger settings so that people can reply by email to your comments, you need to do the following:
    1) Go to your blogger dashboard
    2) On the top left you will see your chosen profile image, and then just to the right of that a link that says "Edit profile"
    3) Click this and then check the box that says "Show my email address"
    4) Scroll down and add your email address to the form (if it's not there already)
    4) Save your changes

    This means that if I get a comment from you, I can just reply directly to it in email. It's very useful but it does mean that your email address is available publicly, which some people don't like, but I think I'd prefer that people can easily reply to me, so I do it anyway.
    Best of luck!

  14. whether you are just not ready for kids or never plan to have them its your own choice. I love being a mum & wouldnt change it for the world but its hard work & there is no rush these days women have children older as its not the only thing we are on the planet for in this day & age & if you never have them so what its hardly like we arnt already an over crowded country. women lose themselves when they have children & sometimes maybe thats all they become is a mum but if they are happy with that then good on them too who is to judge our choices

  15. Try working with children and not having any...suddenly I become a second class citizen, unable to offer any professional opinion and seem to grow an extra head. The thing is I would love to have children but is hasn't happened yet...I'm not sure people who ask that question (followed by the usual 'oh') realise how hurtful a reminder it can be. It used to really upset me but now my textbook answer is 'oh no, I like to be able to give them back' which usually elicits much less pity and more envy ;)


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