Writerly Rant #17
Commonsense or Common-ignorance?
by M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor. Freelance Writer. ~
As a mother of a young child, it’s amazing just how many people strike up a random conversation with you. Granted my son likes to smile and wave at people – I like that, I don’t want him to be afraid of the world, just cautious. It’s nice when the person he is waving to responds in kind or asks him a simple question like, “Are you going for a walk with your Mommy?” This is polite and encourages him to socialize.
What ticks me off to no end is when these people decide to turn to me and ask, “Is he your only child?” or “Do you have more kids?” Sure, these are simple enough questions that take on a feeling like those of, “I wonder when it will stop snowing?” or “Have you heard there’s rain in the forecast?” The problem is, they always expect you to say that you either have more kids or want more kids, and that’s somewhere I don’t want to go.
It’s bad enough that my extended family, Grandmother/aunts/uncles/cousins, harp on me about having a second child – I don’t need complete strangers bringing their two-cents worth into the conversation as well. When I politely smile and say, “No. He’s my one and only,” that should answer both the asked and soon-to-be-asked questions. The problem is, those people who ask in the first place tend to be kid-fanatics and they don’t listen past, “No.”
Just the other day, the woman bagging my groceries would not relent: Why not? He needs company. Children shouldn’t grow up alone. He’s such a well-behaved child.
Yes, I’ve heard it all before – my relatives say the same things; I expect it of them because they’re family and they have an unspoken right to throttle me with the idea over and over again. Strangers need to back off and mind their own business. My son is an angel in public – he’s a little social busybody with a cute dimple and bright eyes… he’s not like that at home, most of the time, and my negative experiences as a mother grossly outweigh the positive. But I’m not going to get into that kind of detail with a random busybody.
What kills me is when they look pained that I won’t talk to them about this – having more kids and loving it just as much as they do. They have not found a kindred spirit in me and they’re hurt by it. Grow up, people; I do not live in your imaginary dream world. I was raised an only child, though I have a half-brother I never lived with, and I turned out just fine. I’m not some kind of child-hater, I simply don’t want another and don’t want to talk about it. I’m looking forward to watching my son grow and having my negative experiences shrink over time. It’s commonsense. Something chatty baby-lovers don’t seem to have these days.
When in doubt, keep it simple and talk about the weather; I’ll choose when to make my personal life your business.