Sunday, April 3, 2016

Off Topic

"Do you regret having kids?"

That's a rude question to ask an acquaintance, right? So why do some people feel it's okay to ask me, "do you regret not having kids?" I'm not talking about close friends, with whom I discuss personal issues (although I'm not sure I would ask "do you regret having kids" even to close friends), but people I know casually.

Being of a certain age and never married, I understand that some people might think A) I'm gay (I'm not, and these days that's not a barrier to marriage); B) I have a deep-rooted bias against the institution or come from a broken home (I don't; my parents are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary); or, if neither A or B, then C) I'm currently desperate to find a husband (really not).

Some people (usually women), when they find out I've never been married and I don't have children, are surprised that I'm not - at that very moment - on the prowl for a husband (hopefully not theirs) or sitting at home crying because I don't have a husband.

I've discovered a pattern. People who seem the most comfortable and happiest with their life choices are less likely to try to make me feel bad about mine. When someone with a spouse and children says to me, "you'll regret it later," what I hear is, "the fact that your life is very different than mine yet you seem happy and not desperate to have what I have makes me uncomfortable."

In every person's lifetime, there are multiple paths to happiness. And they're not always identical to someone else's.

3 comments:

Mommy Attorney said...

People's rudeness long ago ceased to amaze me. I think you're right - people are looking for validation for their own life choices. Next time someone asks you that, ask your question right back. "No, not at all! Do you regret having children?"

Ayelet Prizant said...

Amen, Heather! I agree with you and with Mommy Attorney. Why is it OK to ask "Why don't you want children?" when the more important question is "Why DO you want children?" I'm sure many people can't really articulate the reasons they choose to become parents. Meanwhile, I decided long ago that motherhood was not the right choice for me and I can cite multiple reasons without hesitation.

Just as you said, not everyone's path to happiness or fulfillment is the same. I have never regretted being child-free. In fact, I celebrate it every day.

All the best to you, my friend. xo

Rob Joswiak said...

Bingo! :-)

Like a single person telling a married person 'Ya know, I know I great divorce lawyer you would really get along with!'