“How Many Kids Do You Have?” 8 Responses for the Childfree

“So how many kids do you have?”

“Um. One. His name is Edvard Munch.”

The one and only, Edvard Munch

The one and only, Edvard Munch

Thus began yet another awkward party conversation with a total stranger who assumed, either by virtue of my clearly remaining baby fat or perhaps by my advanced age, that I must have birthed someone or something at some point in the past.

We’re full into the swing of holiday party season which means it’s time to brush up on our bingo-playing skills. Childfree bingo, that is (a.k.a., “Breeder Bingo“).

What are our options when it comes to these kinds of oh-so-fun interactions? Seems to me there are two paths we could take.

If you like the person with whom you’re having this awkward conversation and/or you think you might have any interest at all in having any interaction with them at any point in the future, your options are somewhat limited. You could:

  1. Grin and bear it and ask them about their kids since that’s what they probably really want you to do anyway.
  2. Kindly say you don’t have human kids of your own but say something about the kids you do have in your life (e.g., nieces, nephews, god children, pets, your significant other).

If you’re already bored to tears by the person with whom you’re having this conversation and/or you hope to never have to see or speak to them again, you’ve got more response options at your disposal. You might:

  1. Walk away.
  2. Hug them. (Seems less hostile than walking away but also makes your conversation partner so uncomfortable, they might walk away.)
  3. Burst into sorrowful tears, telling them that you have no kids.
  4. Burst into gleeful cheers, telling them you have no kids. (I’ve found options 3 and 4 make people equally uncomfortable, which is kind of fun.)
  5. Ask them how much money they earn a year. (Almost as presumptuous as asking how many kids one has without knowing whether they have kids.)
  6. Walk away. (Did I mention this one already? It’s my favorite. Ain’t nobody got time for boring or awkward party convo.)

What are your favorite responses to such inquisitive party goers?

9 Responses to “How Many Kids Do You Have?” 8 Responses for the Childfree

  1. Fabiana December 10, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I usually reply I’m against human reproduction. It’s a great conversation killer.

  2. Tracey August 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    (mild surprise) Oh! (slight shake of head & small smile) No. I opted out.

    • marciadavis December 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      I say, “Never had them. Never wanted them. I have no regrets.”

  3. M Serenity January 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    I normally say I have four-legged children. Although I must say that I feel like they look down on me or pity me in some way. I think the one comment that really irritates me is “I think you’d make a good mom.” Thanks but that isn’t really the point. I’d also make a fabulous millionaire.

  4. lojekn66 January 6, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    People make comments not matter what you choose to do with your life and body. I was busy having fun in my 20’s and very busy in my 30’s trying to pay my outrageous Boston rent and feed myself. The thought of having children was there, but not right away. I didn’t marry until I was 34. About 95% of my friends from Boston do not have human children and are very happy and fulfilled with their lives. My husband and I had to overcome some medical limitations in order to try to conceive We felt that if it didn’t happen we were both fine and happy with what we did have to let it go.My husband and I found out we were pregnant with twins after being married for four years.

    We were a bit shocked and scared to find out we were going to have two babies. I was 38 when I had the twins. People in rural small areas view the child bearing issue very differently compared to a larger city like Boston. People have made comments and asked questions like, why did you wait so long to have children? It’s dangerous to have babies after your 30. My twins are diagnosed with autism and aspergers, and people have said to me it is because I was old when I had them. Not realizing that autism is a genetic and environmental disorder.

    In Maine a large population of young women have children in their early twenties . In Boston most of the women I know, including myself go to college then start a career . You are more career driven in a larger city. The focus wasn’t babies and marriage. It was taking care of me and having a good time. I loved my life with my husband before the twins came along, we were having fun and doing our thing. I love our life with the twins. The focus is not on me or our marriage it is always on them. Our marriage is tested on a daily basis because of our twins diagnosis. What perplexes me is, people having children just because they have the anatomy to do it. When I go back home to visit my friends in Boston I can enjoy their company, without being interrupted mid sentence to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for two 9 year old children.

  5. aTahmission December 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    This blog truly is a breath of fresh air; like water on the lips of a sun-ravaged man, the commiseration shared with a fellow human being is wholly refreshing. My girlfriend and I were just this last weekend at a meadery in Portland and found ourselves surrounded by no less than 8 children. Children at an establishment specifically tasked with entertaining adults. We could speak only between piercing screams with the knowledge that – in this society – we’d be the a-holes to voice a complaint. I don’t think kids themselves are a problem so much as mom and dads insistence that they be viewed as the center of the universe.

    • Angie January 11, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      I have just found this wonderful blog! I live in the UK and the other day had lunch out with my husband. The food was great, the pub is a really good local – BUT the whole meal was runined by two women having a great liquid lunch whilst their very badly behaved children stood on the furniture in outdoor shoes, tore round the place and screamed loudly for the entire hour we were there. We won’t be going back

  6. Miss Julie December 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    When I was interviewing for my current job, many people went on and on about how good the schools were. I appreciated this on some level because I work in a male-dominated field, and this was their way of saying they would support my having a family if that is what I chose. However, I finally came up with the best response, which was “my cats don’t go to school” and later proceeded to ask what the nightlife in town was like 🙂

  7. Nad December 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    If there’s a majority of people you don’t know, you can always give a different answer each time… That’s an occasion to be creative and you can add some spicy details!! Girls, boys, twins, siamese and how they had to separate them, a young child who had a sex change, etc… It’s when they start talking about you that the real fun begin…! Then you have to leave..

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