Earlier this year I published a wonderful guest post on my blog from Claire Mac about why you should stop asking women when they’re going to have children. It’s an excellent read, I’d highly recommend popping over to that page and checking it out before or after you read this. I wanted to expand on that topic today – one that’s still very persistent in most women’s lives.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t ask women when they’re having children. Unless you’re my absolute best friends, then I find it so incredibly awkward when people ask me that, especially family members.
I have a partner who I’ve been with for over 7 years, so it’s not unfeasible to think that we might be having children or thinking about having children soon. But the fact is, it’s not anyone else’s business.
And it’s also incredibly awkward when it’s a topic of discussion that my partner and I aren’t 1000% set on ourselves. If I decide to give out information myself, like in the instance of this post I wrote about whether I can be bothered having children, then fine. I’m happy to discuss.
But being put on the spot by a random person and being asked to answer one of the most important decisions you’ll make there and then? No thank you.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the amount of women who get asked this ridiculous question who are going to be incredibly triggered by it, due to loss or fertility problems. You just don’t know.
So don’t ask.
It’s not a decision that you should take lightly, from child health insurance to finance issues to schools and more – it’s not just about having a cute little baby and that’s it.
When it comes down to it, children aren’t the ONLY interesting thing about a woman. We’re not here to just procreate and talk about children all day every day. There’s more to women than her decision to have children or not.
Which is why today I wanted to share some alternative things you could ask a woman instead of the the dread, “when are you having children?” fiasco.
You can re-word most of these ideas and questions to fit in appropriately to whoever you’re asking and remember that it’s always worth being sensitive and thinking about what you’re asking (to anyone!) before you do.
Nobody wants to feel awkward during a conversation, especially if it’s with someone you don’t know PARTICULARLY well. So consider these suggestions next time you’re having a conversation with a woman (or pass this post on to someone you know who needs a nudge!)
What projects are you working on right now?
This is a good one because it opens the answer to up to be about any aspect of life that the recipient feels like sharing. It could be a work project, a home renovation, a craft project or something else entirely!
Do you have any exciting plans for the coming month?
A nice easy one to ask instead of “when are you having children?” This shows that you’re interested and not only concerned about when they’ll be procreating.
Ask about a recent life event that they’ve shared
If you’re Facebook friends or follow each other on social media and see that they’ve shared something recently about a life event, then ask them about that! They obviously want people to know, otherwise they wouldn’t have shared it.
Ask their opinion on a topic you’re both interested in
Another good question, particularly if you’re social media pals and might be familiar with the sort of thing each other likes to post and write about. A likeminded topic could also help you start a blossoming friendship!
Ask their professional opinion on something
If they’re in a particular profession that you know something about, you could always talk to them about that. Perhaps a case study or industry news that has been broadcast recently.
Do you have any travel plans coming up?
Travel is always a great topic of conversation and much more interesting to talk about than whether someone is having children or not. I always find talking about travel can last for a while and open the conversation up into so many different avenues, from culture to food.
Do you have any goals for this year / month?
A wonderful question if it’s the start of a new month or the beginning of the year. New years resolutions aren’t a new concept to anyone, whether you believe in them or not.
Have you read any great books lately?
I absolutely love it when people ask me this. I’d struck up some incredibly long and interesting conversations with other women which have centered around books. If you know they love books, this is one to ask!
Are you prepared for *insert upcoming event here*?
Christmas, an upcoming birthday, Halloween – whichever the event is, you could ask about their plans and preparations. If you’re family, it’s likely you’ll be attending a lot of the same events too.
Ask what they think about current affairs
Current affairs like politics or climate change are always bound to strike up some interesting conversation. Just be careful with this one – you don’t want to get into an argument!
What hobbies do you love doing in your free time?
Hobbies are a great conversation starter because everyone has at least one hobby that they enjoy and those hobbies can often lead a conversation down a new path.
How is your career coming along?
If the person you’re talking to is particularly career driver or perhaps you know they’ve recently started a new career, ask them about it! I think it’s great to be interested in someone else’s work.
Of course it’s not only single people or those without children currently you should avoid asking. Couples with children already might be struggling to have a second. Their first baby may have been conceived through IVF of which isn’t working a second time. Or perhaps they’re adopting. But whatever the reason…
It’s none of your business.
And there’s many more exciting things you can be talking about instead, rather than making someone feel uncomfortable and awkward if they’re not ready to give an answer.