If someone asked me if I’d ever robbed a bank or if I’d ever done illegal drugs or if I’d ever stolen a car and gone on a drunken joyride, I would answer with a simple “No.”
Period. End of conversation.
But when a new acquaintance asks, “Do you have children?”, for some crazy reason, I feel compelled to elaborate.
“No, we have dogs.”
“No, I didn’t meet my husband until we were too old.”
“No, but I love my nieces and nephews. And we’re crazy about our godsons. And there are tons of other kids in our lives who we enjoy!”
In my opinion, I have no obligation to answer any of the above questions beyond the one-word reply. Frankly, if someone asked me one of those very rude and none-of-your-business questions, I wouldn’t feel they deserved any response. So why is it that I feel I owe people an explanation about my childfreeness? I really don’t know.
I’d love to hear what you think and how you reply, and maybe I’ll find the courage to just say “no” the next time someone asks.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with being childfree.