Momsplaining, or How Not to be a Dick to People Without Kids


In my last post, I discussed my own feelings toward motherhood, and hopefully provided enough justification for why I don't plan on having children. I'm not anti-child, and as far as I'm aware, I am physically able to procreate, but I've never asked a doctor about it, because I'm not planning on having kids anyway. Just in case you needed further justification, because my ladybits and what I'm doing with them are everyone's business.

What's that? They're not?! That's news to me, considering the frequency at which I am asked about such things.

Here's the thing, "Do you have kids?" doesn't seem like a particularly intrusive or offensive question, especially if you don't follow it up with, "Oh, why not?" or "When are you going to have kids?". I get it. Your late 20s and early 30s is what society has deemed an "appropriate" time to have children, and a lot of people only think of a family as a family when it includes children.

I just re-read one of my favorite posts over on DadLunch called 10 Things Not to Say to the Parents of Only Children. Even over a year later, I am amazed and angered by the stupid shit people say, and even though I don't have any children, the invasive comments and questions absolutely resonate with me.

In the spirit of this DadLunch post, I thought I'd take a moment to offer my responses to some of the questions and comments I've heard over the last few years.

  • Yes, I am a little curious what a little version of me would look and act like. Who the hell wouldn't be?! But, that doesn't seem like grounds for cutting out caffeine and alcohol for the better part of a year to incubate a fetus, then take care of it until it hopefully becomes an adult.

  • Yes, I totally get that it's different when it's your own, but to me that means I can't give it back to someone when it starts crying or emitting bodily fluids, and I can't but totally will take it personally when it decides it hates me on and off from ages 11-25.

  • Yes, I am aware that at my age, the difficulty of getting pregnant increases, as do the risks associated with pregnancy. Thanks for the reminder, though!

  • No, I don't hate kids. Except for the screaming—seriously, what's with the screaming?

  • My original plan was to "Thelma and Louise" it when I turned 50, but realizing 50 isn't actually that old, and that driving a car off a cliff is probably something I won't do, I've decided that when I am old, and if it becomes necessary, I will pay a professional caregiver to take care of me. Even if I had kids, I would probably still do this.

  • I'm in an amazing relationship, I live in a great city, I have awesome friends and family, and I'm healthy. My life feels pretty complete the way it is, thanks.

  • My parents already have five grandchildren.

  • I see myself naked pretty much every day, and receive a monthly reminder that I have functional ladyparts. I'm almost positive I am a whole woman.

  • If and when I "change my mind", and it's "too late", I can and will adopt. And yes, adoptive parenting is real parenting.

  • While this isn't a response to a rude question, it is a response to something annoying procreators often say. To anyone whose child I've ever been holding while those around me said shit like, "awwww you're next!", you should thank your lucky stars I didn't throw your child on the ground like a hot potato and run screaming from the room.

Here's the thing. As a child, I instinctively knew never to ask a woman about her pregnancy unless I had 100% confirmation that the woman was actually pregnant, or I noticed a baby physically coming out of her. I think most people would agree with this rule of thumb, and would consider anyone who thought otherwise extremely fucking rude. It all points back to the idea that other people's bodies are none of our business. Why then, is it generally seen as okay to harass people about their reproductive circumstances? That was a trick question, it's not okay.

If you've asked questions like these, it's okay—you probably weren't trying to be a dick, but also maybe think about what you're actually saying the next time you talk to someone without kids. Or with one kid. Or with a million kids...even though a million kids would be a lot of kids, and you probably have a lot of questions. Just don't.