“So when are you guys popping out a kid?”
PSA: NEVER ask a couple when they plan to have children. You have no idea what they’re going through.
And you know what?
It’s none of your business.
The stereotypical perception of adulting tells us we must be professionals. Adults are organized. They’re ambitious. They’re mature, they’re financially independent, they’re homeowners.
If you’ve gained nothing else from my blog, I hope you take away the fact that there is no solid definition of adulting. No one is doing this perfectly. Adults are not always mature. They might try to be professional, but don’t always succeed. We make mistakes. Our ambitions are all different, money is complicated, and owning or renting your home has nothing to do with your ability to adult successfully. We don’t always know what we’re doing. We don’t all do it the same. And that’s okay! Good, even!
Just because you are an adult does NOT mean you are expected to become a parent.
Somehow, we’re halfway through 2020 and society still squints at a married woman in her late 20’s and wonders why she hasn’t popped out a kid yet. (Popped… Like it’s that simple.)
And there are still those who think it’s okay to come right out and ask you about your timeline for procreation.
“So when are you guys popping out a kid?” a friend asked us over dinner.
I could feel a poisonous concoction of anger and annoyance swirling in my abdomen and I clenched my fists.
You know what, bro, maybe we’re trying to pop out a kid, but haven’t had luck yet.
Or I could have decided that I now hate kids.
I could be heartbroken over a loss.
Maybe money isn’t in order yet, or we just really love saving it.
Perhaps I’m just hyper-focused on a career at this stage in my life.
It could be an overwhelming combination of all these things.
Or, imagine this, it could be NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Stop asking me.
“We’re enjoying our money right now,” I responded half-honestly, taking a sip of beer and averting my eyes.
“Kids aren’t that expensive,” he pressed, tickling his own baby’s chin. The child gurgled, and grinned, and I would have thought it was adorable if I wasn’t so pissed.
“I could afford an entire herd,” I countered, Italian temper flaring with my nostrils.
“She just means we’re enjoying the freedom,” my husband, Mike, hastily clarified as he kicked me under the table. “We leave for vacation in a few weeks.”
“Ah, yes, this is true,” our friend sighed. “You do lose that freedom to pick up and go whenever you’d like.”
I opened my mouth, a snarky retort sizzling on my tongue, but a glare from Mike sealed my lips. I sighed. “We’ll get there eventually,” I said dismissively, waving at the waitress for the check.
To be fair, Mike and I are the last of all our friends to have children. I get it. Everyone’s curious. I imagine them all whispering about us, asking what the other has heard about our plans for the future.
“So what’s up with Kaitlin and Mike? Are they planning on having children? Does Mike want children? Kaitlin has always wanted lots of babies. What are they waiting for? What have you heard? She’s running out of time. It must be hard seeing everyone else with children.”
That’s all in my head. Those conversations might be happening between friends and coworkers and family. They might not be. It doesn’t really matter either way, because our plans are just that: OUR plans. Not theirs, not society’s, OURS.
I understand curiosity. I understand we’ve been conditioned to expect the natural progression of relationships. We meet. We date. We fall in love. We get married. We procreate.
I’m not the first woman to point out that things don’t work that way anymore. The modern woman doesn’t have to be married to have a child. She doesn’t have to have a child when she’s married. She doesn’t have to get married at all, ever. She doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and society’s natural progression means nothing to her.
“When’s the wedding?”
“When are you having children?”
“When is baby #2?
“Are you going to try again?”
“How many kids do you guys what?”
“Are you trying for any babies yet?”
“When are you due?” (ALWAYS a bad idea if you don’t know her.)
Sometimes, these questions can be painful to hear, hard to answer, complicated to consider. There are so many factors that influence whether a couple has children or not. We should feel comfortable discussing them when we want, and I don’t want to stop the conversation around the hard stuff, but we should never feel obligated to participate in that conversation and we shouldn’t be pressured to fit into a standard.
The reason why Mike and I do not yet have any children is inconsequential. There may not even be a reason. Maybe I’m fine. Maybe I’m not. It doesn’t matter, really.
Don’t ask me.
And if someone asks you, you don’t have to answer. Talk about it if you want, if you’re comfortable, or shut it down if you don’t. That is yours to own.
We can be badass adults with or without children. And we don’t need pressure from anyone when considering that step.
We’re all paving our own way.
And we’re killing it.