The problem: What is the kindest response to the question I’m getting a lot lately: “When are you having kids?”
Low road: Easy. Respond with, “After watching yours for the past 10 minutes, I’m never having any!”
High road: This is one of those questions that is really more about the person who is asking. It falls along the same lines as, “When are you going to get married?” “When are you going to finally leave that loser?” And, “When are you going to get your 30-year-old out of the basement?”
The person asking likely comes to you from one of two camps. The first is the misery-loves-company camp. This asker needs you to validate his or her decision to never sleep or have sex again (yes, I’m kidding) by having kidlets of your own. Camp Two members genuinely want you to experience the joy inherent in the life-changing role of parenting.
Still, anyone who asks such a personal question is likely unaware of the minefields it unearths. Perhaps you have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, and the question is, unwittingly, cruel. Perhaps you are a step-parent, or in a profession where you are surrounded by children all day, lovingly giving them all your energy; after hours, you prefer adult company — or Netflix. Or, perhaps, you just really dig your independence and aren’t keen on projectile vomiting.
Regardless, your reason is legit and you shouldn’t have to defend it. But here you are, trying to defend it.
If you want to take the high road, you might use humor. Hit your head playfully and say, “Oh, right! Kids! I knew I was forgetting something!” Then laugh and change the subject.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to email@example.com. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad