One and Done

Dear Sensible Midwesterner,

What to do when someone asks how many kids you have, you answer one, and then they berate you about not having more? Please advise. Fifteen years on and I still need a comeback that politely shuts down that line of questioning.

Sincerely,
One and Done

There are scads of reasons someone might have one child, from having had another child die to having always wanted a small family, with many, many possibilities in between. The thing is, hardly any of them are ones most people want to explain. And none of them deserve questioning, much less scolding.

The problem is once you’re dealing with someone who thinks it’s okay to question such personal decisions, it’s pretty tricky to get them to back off in a graceful way. Doing this when faced with someone who may have a cultural bias against small families adds to the frustration.

Midwesterners know that the best way to re-establish social boundaries is to refuse to cross them yourself. So when the questioning or berating begins, simply say “I can’t imagine discussing such a personal matter/private decision.” If someone tries to force you to discuss how being a single child is sad/damaging/detrimental/horrific for your child, simply say “Well, obviously, I don’t agree” or “Clearly, I don’t think so.”

Then change the topic. The weather is usually a good bet.

One thought on “One and Done

  1. My mother-in-law ran into this a lot. She has a very personal heath-related reason for not having more than one child so she just says, “I got it right the first time.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s