I spent the better half of today fending off the rhetorical “When is it your turn?” question from relatives at our niece’s one-month old party.
I say ‘rhetorical’ because I don’t think many of them expect any meaningful response from me.
I recognise that this is a standard ice-breaker question at family functions with relatives whom you rarely see. Still, it used to irritate the heck out of me that I started dreaming up inflammatory and politically incorrect replies (too bad, I didn’t have the guts to test out any of these).
But these days, I just shrug the question off.
After issuing the standard “When is it your turn” question, relatives inevitably follow up with “You should have one because it will make both sets of parents very happy.”
I get it – what you’re actually saying is that I am unfillial (for not making their life more complete by contributing grandchildren whom they can bounce on their laps). Why don’t you just spit that out in my face? I can handle it.
Last night, I was checking my Facebook account and an ex-colleague sent me a message via the online chat function on Facebook. She is someone whom I have not kept in touch with except through Facebook very occasionally. I heard from mutual friends that she had recently become a mother after being married for several years.
I was not very keen to make small talk but since she initiated the conversation, I felt the need to be polite and respond.
Her: How are you?
Me: I am well. How are you?
Her: Do you have kids now? Ok, at this question, I started to hear alarm bells ringing.
Me: No, I don’t.
Her: Would you be having any soon? Alarm bells were definitely ringing louder now and I really should have listened to my instincts to end the conversation.
Me: Erm, not in the forseeable future.
Her: Oh ok, then you can ENJOY THE LUXURIES OF LIFE. I don’t know if she had accidentally pressed the caps lock key on her keyboard …..
Me: Erm, I guess it is a lifestyle choice. Honestly, I have no idea if that is the right answer. I am not even sure if the reason why I don’t have kids is entirely about lifestyle. But I couldn’t think of anything else to say but this.
Her: YES. IT IS. At this point, I logged out of Facebook. I could literally hear her voice dripping with scorn “Bad girl, you.”
I really have no idea what I did or didn’t do to deserve this “….so you can enjoy the luxuries of life” dig from her. Ok, I know what I didn’t do.
Personally, I think asking people about whether they are having kids and why they are not having any are very intrusive questions which shows a lack of sensitivity towards people and their individual circumstances.
For example, this person automatically assumed that not having kids is my personal choice and tagged on the very insensitive “to enjoy the luxuries of life” comment. But what if the reason behind my answer is that I can’t have kids due to a medical condition? I can’t be expected to announce that to the entire world right? Then, it would have been absolutely evil to say what she said to me.
While you’re at it about why I don’t have kids, why don’t you also ask me how much I make a year? Or how much I have in my bank account?