5 Cathartic Responses To ‘Are You Going To Have Another Kid?’
By Crystal-Rose Madore
Photo by Yasin Emir Akbas / iStock
May 26, 2017
"Are you going to have another kid?"
The vast majority of people who ask such questions are just trying to be nice and show interest in your life, however awkwardly they may do so.
When you’re the parent of an only child, this inappropriate question inevitably comes up from well-meaning, but clueless people. Of course, they usually ask during a lull in the conversation, so it feels like everyone in the room has their attention fixed upon your answer. If you’re tired of bursting into awkward laughter and frantically scanning your surroundings for a potential subject change, you’re not alone.
Allow me to provide five cathartic responses (and one that actually works best in most situations):
1. “Oh, that would be an invite-only event.”
When people ask if you’re going to have another kid as informally as they would ask if you plan to see the next Star Wars movie, pull rank on them. Some only seem to realize they’re asking about an intensely private subject when it is pointed out they wouldn’t be around when it is taking place.
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2. “The Prophecy only called for one.”
An essential part of this response is the delivery: maintain eye contact, don’t blink, and make them blink first. Watch the person run a series of questions in their mind: What prophecy? Whose prophecy? One to do what, exactly? What’s going on? Why is she staring at me like that? Leave them unnerved. Leave them feeling as uncomfortable as they were going to leave you. It was foretold.
3. “Spoiler alert!”
Your reproductive choices are not fodder for fan theories. If they wish to speculate in such a manner, go full George R.R. Martin on them and reveal nothing. And, like George R.R. Martin, you can dangle this response for years without giving anything away.
4. “How many am I supposed to have?”
When people ask about your child-bearing plans the same way they’d ask if you want another helping of their potato salad, advance the question to the natural conclusion. If they want hard data, you want hard data, like how many times you can expect them to ask this of you. Oddly enough, I’ve found people seem reluctant to provide real numbers.
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5. “Are YOU going to have another kid?”
Verbal jiu-jitsu can be the most potent response to this question, particularly if the individual would never expect for it to be asked in return. Watch them stutter, blink, and try to vocalize why exactly what just came out of their mouth sounds absurd when it comes out of yours. Nod along sympathetically, and graciously let them change the subject. This is particularly effective against elderly male relatives.
Of course, you may not feel totally comfortable unleashing the above responses while in line for food at a birthday party, or on the sweet lady that coaches T-ball. The vast majority of people who ask such questions are just trying to be nice and show interest in your life, however awkwardly they may do so. They have no idea how many times you’ve been asked that before, nor are they really expecting an answer.
After years of stumbling through various responses, the one I found best is a calm, collected, and rather obvious answer, served with a warm smile: “We’ll see.” It allows them to recover from their faux pas and provides just the right amount of enough substance and dignity. If they continue to prod, however, you now have five other responses to let loose with. Good luck in the trenches, fellow parents of only children!
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