By Chanda Alicea
Here we are again, diving into this series on societal expectations and throwing them away. This week, I am covering another very pertinent topic.
Friends, neighbors, strangers and social media acquaintances, lend me your ears: PLEASE STOP GIVING UNSOLICITED ADVICE AND OPINIONS ON HOW MANY KIDS YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE!! Also, stop asking people who don’t have kids when they’re having kids (especially when you don’t know their situation). Yes, I am saying all these things and I am not the least bit sorry.
Let me break this down for you, the decision to have no kids, one kid, some kids or a brood of kids is a very personal decision, and quite frankly it’s no one’s business outside of the two people who are in the relationship. These conversations usually start after people get married, like almost immediately. People are so quick to let a couple enjoy the celebration of their choice to spend their lives together that it’s basically skipped altogether, because all the intrusive people just have to know your business. They really don’t, they just think they do. They think they have to know how you are going to plan your life the second you’ve said “I do”, or in the event that you aren’t married, but having a kid, the inevitable question that people ask is “so when are you going to get married?” I know this to be true because I had someone actually ask me that when I was pregnant.
The truth is that MARRIAGE DOES NOT EQUAL KIDS!! Crazy right? But for so many generations, that has been the norm so naturally it just seems odd that the younger generations are breaking that mold. Now I am going to say something so taboo, that I am sure people’s minds are going to explode. Not everyone wants kids and that is okay! I know plenty of people who don’t want kids, and let me tell you something…in my opinion, there is no greater or respectable adult decision two people in a relationship can make than deciding that they do not want kids and that kind of decision gets the highest amount of respect that I can give people.
Moving on…having just one kid. Sometimes it leads to more kids and hey, that’s cool. Sometimes it leads to no more kids, and that’s cool too. You know what’s not cool? ASKING PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO GIVE THEIR KID A BROTHER OR A SISTER!! Also, TELLING PEOPLE THAT THEIR KID NEEDS A SIBLING IS NOT COOL EITHER!! It’s true, your friends will probably never let on how annoyed they are when you tell them this but trust me they’re plenty bothered by it. I personally don’t get this one a lot. In my entire lifetime, I can remember like 2 people telling me that my daughter needs a sibling. In the most condescending tone ever, I once had a car salesman in the same breath ask how old my daughter was, then preceded to tell me that it was probably time for another because she needs a buddy to play with and then tell me well maybe later down the road when I said no for like the third time. I’ve never in my life wanted to punch a perfect stranger in the face than I did in that moment for having the audacity to tell me that I needed another kid. I now answer this question with confidence, an air of certainty and a hint of attitude to not mess with me when I say, “she’s my one and only.” I really do try to sell that don’t F*&# with me attitude on this topic because I can’t stand it when people think they need to weigh in on the important life decisions that I make in my relationship.
People of the world, I promise you that 1 kid is enough for some people and unless you’re fronting someone the expenses for another 18 years since you think they need another one or you think parents need to try for a sibling of the opposite sex, please stop telling people this!
The final stop on this bus…calling all you parents of multiple children! You all have it hard too. People are either judging you for the amount of kids you have so much so that they’re surprised to hear you’re having another. Or you have a small brood and you too are being asked when you are going to have more. I know people who have specifically told me that they often get asked when they’re going to try for a girl because all they have is boys and vice versa. There is no happy medium and no way to win. In my opinion, you people are my heroes. I am a one kid parent, and I know that about myself. I know that I don’t and can’t handle another one, I can’t imagine having more than one child. I tip my hat to anyone who has multiple children. I truly do not know how you manage to do it. Y’all are the real MVP’s!! But like the rest of us, you’re judged one way or the other. I can’t even imagine the kinds of questions you are asked, but in my mind, it comes out like “oh, you’re having another?” Or maybe “Oh I didn’t know you all were trying/planning for another.”
Regardless of what the statement or question is, we’re actually disrespecting and hurting people we know or don’t know by trying to weigh in and give our opinion on important life decisions that have ZERO to do with us and we NEED TO STOP IT!! Despite what we have been led to believe, our worth in a relationship is not tied to the little people we decide to have or not have and the sooner we break these habits, the better off we’ll all be!
THANK YOU!! I love this article! As someone that struggles with infertility, it is a question I get all the time and never know how to answer! I try to always be polite, but it sure is frustrating!